Icelandic People #6 – The Only Off-Grid Farmer & Loner


We travel from modern times on the airstrip in Selárdalur valley in the West Fjords of Iceland And into the past to the farmhouse Uppsalir that’s only 1km away There lives 74 year old man in isolation, Gísli Gíslason For 5 years he lived alone in the whole valley when everyone else had moved away And many folk tales where born about this remarkable man Like his radio had broke 40 years ago and since he don’t want a radio due to how dull the program became It’s also tales about it when his 3 brothers moved away from the farm. That since then he only uses his old room of the house, his own sheep sheds far away from the farm…. And cuts only grass from his old part of the field it’s also hard to understand him but he really don’t need to talk all that much We have to get this on film but there aren’t that many who do it like this anymore No ? Did you never have a horse? Ha? Didn’t you never have a horse around here? Yes I had a horse But not using it anymore? No, no it’s gone We work for the television, but you don’t have a TV, and radio either? No He is doing this so slowly that trough TV it’s impossible to show it without shortcuts trough editing Do you think you got enough for the sheep Yes I would hope so You have only cut the grass for a part of the field, is it more to cut? Yes I often cut more He has 11 ewes and one lamb-ram It’s enough to get 25 horse-loads worth of hay But he need to drag this to the sheep shed that’s on the outskirt of his land So you have plenty of firewood always? Yes I have So you dig up the peat you self? Yes I do in the spring But you must have some money as well? Money? Noooo Do you never have to use money? No definitely not definitely not Have you ever wanted to go to theatre, or have you been in the theatre? No I have not tried that yet But have you ever got to Bíldudalur. (the next village around) Yes have been there When where you last in Bíldudalur’ I was picking up an organ I own But I have not been there since then but that was 26 years ago So you have not been out from here for 26 years No There’s a airstrip close by but have you never wanted to go into a plane To see you countryside from air No If you want, I can take you up for a tour over here Over you valley I have no longing for that No He found his hat sea-drifted And lives solely from own meat, potatoes and some butter But what do you prefer to drink? It’s the coffee With some milk But you have to buy it, right? But you don’t drink anything like soda and such, have you ever tried it? There came a man from up north from Bolungarvík and gave me 2 bottles of some stuff I’m not sure what’s it called It was well drinkable, after I blended it with 50% water Yes…. Then it was very good But have you ever tried like Coca Cola, and PepsiCola and such That was what I tried Yes but I needed to blend it with water Yes so it getter better like that? So have hardly seen any movies recently No…I have never seen movies Have you never seen movies? No And you have never been outside of the fjord, Arnarfjörður? No So you have still to see movies I can sort of show you a movie in this equipment later on It’s a kind of movie or what we are recording here You should not bother for that You might like it if you just took a quick look at it I don’t think so On the way back to Uppsalir we offered Gísli a banana to eat He wondered and asked….how is it eaten because he’d never eaten a banana before And didn’t know how to I would have like to get it on film….but how could I see it coming? He lives in this small room under the roof And he doesn’t use this sheep shed here by the house The sheep are born and raised in the sheep shed by the outskirts of the land Cream and coffee it the only luxury he grants him self And treats it very sparingly And carefully Each drop is precuess Isn’t there a spring here or something to give them a flush No it’s just a wipe-off This is just fine I use this a sugar-cup Yes yes, this is fine Here you are Thank you ? It’s way better with creme Yes Yes we are pretty fine here The sun comes into the window now so it’s bright enough to read He might wanna play the organ for us But he has plenty of old music notes Do you use this gun? Yes yes In the autumn For the lambs So you slaughter you lambs by your self? Yes yes And with this gun then? Yes The wool from the sheeps is then useful in his bed He smoke’s his own meat In the hallway in his house during autumn This it the only decoration around Everything looks ancient The water pipe broke down years ago so he fetches the water with a bucket in the creek He never sees money and knows therefore nothing about Iceland’s new króna (1981) Gísli became a hippie long before the word was invented And the only hippie who got the goal to have no dependency on society His calmness is admirable I have never met a person so calm with a TV crew going around them This phone isn’t used as it looks And nobody seems to be knocking in this barometer Aha There are these fine suits he didn’t mention Obviously in little use Or not used at all as can be seen at closer look Ólafur Gíslason Póstman is the one who has the most contact with Gísli What does he and his wife Ásta think about the life of this loner Yes he seems to live happy with what he has How does Gísli look to you? I mean as person? This looks rather mysterious for those who don’t know him I see nothing mysterious about him So it’s totally normal? I feel so This is his way of life…. It’s so flexible concept what’s normal or not In many way enviable style of living as I see it We say goodbye to Gísli for a while but the summer is soon over but how is his life during winter? How is Christmas Day in Uppsalir? We decide to visit him again during the darkest season When Gísli wakes up from the first glimpse of light it’s often freezing I his room Then he smelts snow for his coffee He walks a long way to feed the sheep The he goes home again for some coffee Then back to the sheep to let them out of the shed Then more coffee and brings the meat to boil Then out again, herds the sheep into the shed and feeds tham again And that it what he’s doing now It’s cold wind and snow-tornado by the beach Gísli has been without a cow for 10 years He told us the she died of boredom Gísli has never missed out a day’s work all his life, no matter how the weather was He was very surprised when we told him that the oil that keeps everything runnin is from the Arab countries He had never heard that before And that’s actually not his business to know Because he is the only Icelander… …wich is immune for technical problems, food shortage and major warfare on world scale And the only Icelander… …who has no dependency on Iceland’s food sales… …to the world’s richest nations, the food that the poorer nations lack He’s just not a part of this

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *