7 Reasons to be…an Icetalian!
I’ve often been told that I’m more Italian than English. I like coffee, tiramisu and risotto more than I like tea, trifle and Yorkshire puddings; I like Fiat 500s more than I like Minis; I like sun more than rain; I like waving my arms around more than I like…er…not waving my arms around. All the signs are there. But last week I had a bit of a revelation. As I was celebrating March 1st (and the end of my traditional February abstinence) a friend tweeted me. March 1st is Beer Day in Iceland, he informed me. That’s funny. March 1st – the first day of the month that has my name at the start of it (this is Marc, by the way, not Jon. The month with his name in it is Jonuary) – is my Beer Day too. Perhaps I’m not just Italian, I thought, perhaps I’m part-Icelandic too. Maybe I’m…um… an…Icetalian! From Icetalia! Even if I’m not, here are seven reasons that I should be.
1. What’s in a Name? Is there a cooler word than Icetalian? Well, perhaps mantacular or shabazzle, but they’re only really words in my head. If you stack Icetalian up against actual words that other people would recognise it comes out rather well. It contains ice, which is an actual cool thing, and talian, which isn’t a thing at all, though it still manages to be evocative of Vespas and sunglasses. If you’re an Icetalian you’re instantly cool. It’s like being named Jet or Raffaela.
2. Cuisine. Icetalian food would be the best fusion-cuisine in the world. Italian cooking is already renowned the world over, featuring tiramisu, pasta, tiramisu, risotto, tiramisu, ice cream, tiramisu, bean stews, tiramisu and tiramisu. In short, it’s awesome. How, you’re probably wondering, can that be improved? Well, Icelandic food consists of salted fish, salted lamb, more salted fish and some other salted stuff. So essentially Icetalian cuisine would be Italian food but with more salt. And salt, as we know, improves all food. Has anyone with a tall white hat ever stuck a spoon in a pan and, on tasting the contents, said “Hmm. I think it needs less salt”? No, of course they haven’t. Everything always requires more salt. Even salt, probably.
3. Sightseeing. What’s the most famous tourist attraction in Iceland? No, it’s not Kerry Katona’s prawn ring, it’s the Icelandic Phallological Museum; that’s right, a whole museum devoted to the penis. But Iceland’s a cold place, whereas Icetalia (which would have a more temperate climate halfway between that of Iceland and Italy) would be much warmer. This would make the Icetalian Phallological Museum twice as impressive as the Icelandic one, even though it would have the same number of exhibits.
4. Expression. Italians are a voluble and wildly expressive people who, in conversation, communicate as much with their gestures as they do with their words. The people of Iceland, being rather more reticent Scandinavian types do not. They prefer to emote by not expressing anything at all. Ever. Icetalians would be a happy and healthy blend of these two styles of expression. If it goes right, they’ll be similar to the English and will express themselves in a physically moderate and understated way, and if it goes wrong then during conversation half of the average Icetalian’s body will remain absolutely, rigidly still while the other half will be an exuberant, wildly-flailing blur of expression that could resemble Riverdance: Officially The Stupidest Thing In The History Of The World.* I’m hoping that it will be the former, obviously. A land where people communicate with each other via the medium of Riverdance: Officially The Stupidest Thing In The History Of The World would be dreadful. And deafening.
5. Venice. I love Venice. It’s bloody marvellous. If they (whoever they are) were taking nominations for an eighth wonder of the world, I would nominate Venice. But the Icetalian Venice would be even better, because it would be almost exactly the same as the Italian version, but with ice skating during the winter months and sleighs instead of gondolas. And there’d be fewer American tourists because they’d fall through the ice. It would be a true winter wonderland as well as being a summer one.
6. The Flag. The Icetalian flag would contain the colours red, blue, green and white. That’s all of the primary colours on one piece of cloth plus white, which is the colour of nothing when the lights are on. It doesn’t contain black, which is nothing in the dark, but you can’t have everything. Though with all of the primary colours, perhaps you can. In any event, the Icetalian flag will clash with just about every imaginable outfit so nationalism will be kept to a minimum. It’ll be a nicer place to live.
7. Names. Icetalians would have better names than just about everyone else. In Iceland, the tradition is that the first name of the father becomes the surname of his sons and daughters. Thus the daughters of Gudmund Magnusson get the surname Gudmunsdottir, and the sons of Gudmund Magnusson get the surname Gudmundson. Why this doesn’t lead to irresponsible people giving their children the first names Son and Alison, I don’t know. Then, if their children did the same thing (any why wouldn’t they?), they’d end up with grandchildren called Son Sonson and Alison Sondottir. Within several generations, the Icelandic telephone directory would contain names likes Alison Sonsonsonsonsonsonsonsonsonsonsdottir and Son Sonsonsonsonsonsonsonsonsonson and would be visible from space. It would be brilliant. Why no one from Iceland had ever invited me to name anything I don’t know. Icetalian names would also be amazing (and only slightly shorter). Icetalian people would be called things like Ambrosiano Giordanoson and Ausilatrice Zoccolittosdottir. This would make introducing people to each other much more fun and ink manufacturers would be the richest people in the land. Oh, and this would also mean that school would finish at about the same time that the calling of the register ended, so teachers wouldn’t have to prepare lessons and children wouldn’t have to sit through them. The people of Icetalia would be thick, but happy. And work in my ink factory. I’m moving to Icetalia, it’s going to be brilliant!
*And now that I’ve mentioned it, how did Riverdance: Officially The Stupidest Thing In The History Of The World even come about? Someone must have done it first. Why didn’t other people just point and laugh at them? And who the hell was the second person to do it? Who, on witnessing someone clippity-clopping about like a deranged horse with a broomstick up their bottom and total paralysis of the arms and head, would think I want to dance like that person? There is nothing about Riverdance: Officially The Stupidest Thing In The History Of The World that makes any sense. At all.