Date: 8th November 2014
Subject: Daniel Sloss
As we were waiting outside of the Stockholm Hilton for our taxi to arrive and speed us to the Airport for the next leg of the journey, a cab rolled into the forecourt with a registration plate that read: BSL055. My subject witnessed the license plate that closely, if not completely, resembled his own name, then proceeded to gather his worldly belongings to haul into the trunk of said vehicle. I noticed immediately that the cab was not from the same organisation of which we had scheduled a transaction nor was it quite yet the time that we had requested the service. As I deduced that our own chartered cab was yet to arrive, Daniel concluded that this taxi must be ours on the account of his name being in bold black font across the yellow metal plaque sitting proudly on the car's bumper, dismissing any possibility that this might be a coincidence. It made me stop to wonder what kind of ego would find it plausible that a small business should invest the financial and administrative effort involved in reregistering one of their fleet to correspond with the family name of a very specific one-time client such as himself.
As we boarded the flight to Reykjavik and arrived at our seats 13A and 13C, the gentleman sitting in the middle of the two, occupying seat 13B, observed that we were travel companions and kindly offered to sacrifice his seat, substituting it for one of our own in order for us to travel adjacent to one another. Daniel shunned the strangers initiative then proceeded to implement the initial seating plan. To the discontent of the rueful gentleman fastened between us Daniel held dialogue with me for a considerable portion of the journey, perplexing the man and noticeably distracting him from his book. Eventually to the delight of our eavesdropper Daniel rocked himself to sleep and I picked up my dictionary.
We were greeted in Reykjavik arrivals by two wonderful gentlemen by the names of Berang and Ari, who transferred us from the airport to our hotel, I listened in awe as Ari, an Icelandic comedian, waxed lyrically about politics, industry, history and culture with an astounding command of the English language most commendable for someone adopting English as their secondary language. As I absorbed and encouraged the enthusiastic and effusive knowledge that was being imparted on us, my subject confidently but unconvincingly attempted to mirror the intelligence of our host with some passionate opinions that failed to appear fully formulated.
After swiftly dealing with our ablutions, we joined our hosts for some fine dining of which Berang kindly picked up the bill, a man we discovered has worked on the promotion side of the entertainment industry alongside some of the legendary elite, placing us one degree of separation from the likes of Al Pacino.
Upon enquiring with the waiter I was recommended the Horse steak as a highly coveted choice of cuisine from the menu, not one to question a professional more equipped than I with culinary endorsements, I went ahead and ate a horse, calling my own bluff on how hungry I am known to exclaim I can actually be. At first, due to social conditioning, I didn't feel entirely comfortable with my order choice but consoled myself with the conclusion that I am ill positioned to place the lives of animals in a hierarchy of worth, if I am to eliminate one meat option I should eliminate them all rather than engaging in some back patting moral hypocrisy. Seeing as I'm not inclined to either become a vegan or develop a god complex, I dined on horse meat and it didn't feel scandalous at all.
Ari shared my role as support act for Daniel conducting fifteen minutes of rapid Icelandic comedy that was so well received it almost physically removed the roof from the building, he was one punch-line away from me checking the venue's insurance schedule and ordering a quantity of asphalt for repairs. I'd love to have understood Icelandic to witness what was causing the damage, but to my ears he may as well have been talking in wingdings. There was one part of his repertoire when he snapped out if Icelandic without warning to land a Punchline in English/Ghetto-American that went: ".... Yo mother-f***er, I'm a flower!" which sent the audience into rapture. But let me tell you, it was every bit as funny out of context.
Ari returned home to his family while Daniel, Berang and I lubricated some deep conversation about spirituality and hallucinogenics with strong alcohol before returning to the hotel resort to watch amusing videos on the YouTube web page. We discovered this evening on returning from the tavern that arctic winds can be quite insufferable, I almost felt inclined to renounce my Newcastle heritage and purchase a fleece.