her family

My mother had a strong father who was really sexist, who beat her down. Her solution was to give me all the freedom she couldn’t have. She let me do whatever I wanted - probably more so because I was a girl. It’s a classic, isn’t it ?

Did she ever wish her mother was like other mothers ?

Not in the practical sense, because if I wanted that I could go to my grannies. One granny used to put me in a chair and comb my hair, because it was down to here - she gestures to her waist - and it used to get, like, dreadlocks. Another granny, my stepfather’s mother, used to take my socks off and darn the holes. I was not very tidy because I just took care of myself.

My mum was like a kid. When I was three my relatives saw me look left and right and take her across the street. Don’t get me wrong. She is a lovable person, a gorgeous creature, she said, though while saying it she looked, and sounded, sad.

I admire her a lot for her freedom. The practical things, like having a meal ready, I don’t mind. Her not ironing my clothes or changing my sheet ? I don’t mind. But emotionally not being there ? I would be lying if I said that. It does *** me off. This
remoteness on her mother’s part seems to have been pretty far-reaching. When I asked her if Hildur behaved differently with Sindri, Björk replied, without a trace of irony : Definitely. They talk together.

I think, without wanting it, I’ve got a lot of my mum in me - very restless and searching. And I’ve got a lot of my dad in me, which is probably what I’m more proud of - powerful, energetic, organised, a sort of fighter for righteousness.

I am a typical example of valuing what my mother did to me, and how she did it, more and more as I got older. You seem to paint it all black when you’re 14, and then it grows lighter the older you get.

My mum is about to becone one of the first homoeopathic doctors in Iceland. A few years ago, she fell in love with the chief of a tribe of American Indians and she was living in tepees in the mountains of California. I still feel maternal towards her. I’m the one to tell her off.

My mother and father divorced when I was 1 and my dad started a quite conservative family and a home that was full of people because he had another wife and, like, three kids. And my mom just invited all these friends to live with her so I kept being the hippie amongst the conservatives or the conservative amongst the hippies. And I quite liked that, I was kinda the outsider always going "Hmmm, but why can’t we have one meal a day please ?" and "Why does everything have to be purple ?"

Going to my conservative family and being the really freaky hippie, with the long hair and barefoot, and I go back to my hippie people and say, ’listen, actually you’re supposed to sleep once a day, you’re supposed to eat bread’, and being really down-to-earth practical, conservative, being the little kid to say, ’listen, I want food now, mum ! Dinner, no, stop it, comb your hair, now’, sort of thing.

It wasn’t as bohemian as it sounds. They all had proper jobs. There was never any unemployment in Iceland until about two years ago. My mother made furniture at one point but she also worked in an office doing Computers. My father was a full time
blues musician. Everybody worked. Everybody got up early. In Iceland, even the hippies are workaholics.

They all had normal jobs but they all wanted to change the world. It was great for a kid. I knew who to go to if I needed kindness, who to go to for a laugh, who to go to if I wanted to hear a particular kind of music. It was very free. And there was a very warm vibe which kids intuitively pick up on. If I fancied eating bananas for two days, that was cool. One day I didn’t want to get out of bed so I cut a hole in my bedsheet, put it over my head and went to school like that.

You Magazine, 12 november 1995