his name is Jon Gnarr and he is the Mayor of Reykjavik. and I can only smile thinking how completely ORÐLAUS the rest of his opponents were when it was made official that he had won the election. why, you say? let me try and show you why.
well, maybe the loudly coloured suit alone would not stand as a sufficient reason. thus, allow me introduce mr. Gnarr, or Jón Gunnar Kristinsson as his passport used to say until 2005 when he officially changed his family name, to you a little bit better. before running for Mayor in 2010, he used to be a rather well-known actor and stand up comedian in Iceland. that after having worked as a taxi driver and having been part of a punk band entitled Runny Nose.
and now one may come forward and ask: why would a person like that go for such a position? apparently he was approached by other parties which wanted him as a member, but he refused and decided to start his own one, as a joke, and may I say a very vey good one, and entitle it Besti Flokkurin – The Best Party. that after having ditched The Cool Party name. members? a group of artists, comedians and punk rockers, none of whom have had any prior experience in city-planning or politics, but who helped him record the party’s campaign song, an Icelandic version of Tina Turner’s famous hit simply the best. simple, yet brilliant and very catchy. therefore effective.
as you can see in their promotional video, the party was making promises like free entrance (and towels) for everyone into the capital’s swimming-pools, sustainable transparency, a Disneyworld outside Reykjavik, a polar bear in the city’s zoo or a drug-free Parliament by 2020. and, of course, breaking all those promises.
nonetheless, with 37,4% of the votes, Jon Gnarr became Mayor and has been in place for the last 4 years. he is an avid supporter of equality for all and of all kinds, famously dressing up in drag and taking part in Gay Pride parades, although he is happily married to a woman and has a daughter. he is also being called a ‘hands-on’ politician while making changes to the city. ‘I have become this weird guy picking up rubbish on daily walks,’ as he writes in one of his statuses on Facebook. and in another quite recent one (4th february this year) he says:’ Today we talked about peace in city council. I want to make Reykjavik a military free zone. Some say it is irresponsible talk. I don’t agree. And I’m also childish and naive. Some are afraid this might offend some bigger nations. I don’t want military or military related aircrafts in the Reykjavik airport. I don’t want military ships in the harbour. Why can’t we try and make one city in the world a military free zone? What harm could it possible do? Would some NATO general break down crying because of it? Just imagine the symbolic meaning of it? What would be the social and economical effects? Imagine! Studies. Research. Conferences. Would other cities follow? I think it is a great idea, not naive but brave because we all know peace can be a risky business and not stupid but creative and clever. We have beautiful songs about peace and love but love is not a feeling. It is action. It’s worth the try. I think. What do you think?’
I do not know what others may think, but my thoughts are that you, mr. Gnarr, are one very cool man and I wish there were a lot of places in this world that had more leaders like you in decision-making and taking positions. my country to start off with.