christmas in Iceland

We’ve got 13 Santa Clauses ! They start coming to town, one by one, 13 days before Christmas. One slams doors, one is a peek-a-boo — a bit of a pervert, really. One of the Santas steals your food. They basically all do different things, and they’re all naughty. We just laugh at the idea that Santa is this big cuddly, friendly chap. It’s like, uh-uh, don’t trust him. They’re all pretty mean, but they’ve got a sense of humour. They’re not vicious.

And Santa’s mum, she’s called Gryla and she’s basically a witch. She really wants you to misbehave, and she does a lot of things to tempt you. And there’s a big black cat, the same size as human beings, and he eats you if you don’t get anything new for Christmas. You have to have at least one pair of mittens or new shoes...

Isn’t that a bit scary if you’re a poor kid ?

I think it’s kind of good, ’cos in the old days when everyone was really poor, it meant that at least you knew you were going to get one new thing for Christmas, even if it was woollen socks or whatever.

And obviously, it’s 24 hour darkness for Christmas in Iceland and you’ve got northern lights and snow. It’s very Christmassy — you can’t really get any more Christmassy.

NME, 25 december 1993