Special Sub-Topic: Björk: The Art of a Sugarcube
|The Art of Leadership in Music:
Björk's life lies in music, and so we can't talk about her without her music too. You'll find little about her solo career in here, though, and so we'll start at the beginning, with "The Sugarcubes".
It's not an easy life being a "Sugarcube". You dissolve easily, horses love you, and you end up in a bowl on the sideboard. In her early years, however, Björk encountered reasonable success with her Sugarcubes, as the group made a significant impact in the UK and in America. She was, however, a member of many bands before she was a Sugarcube. Which of these was not one of them?|
Björk formed a part of all of these bands in her early teens. (Kukl ("witch-craft"), who performed Goth music and developed Björk's now famous "howl and shriek" singing style., Exodus, a fusion Jazz band in which Björk composed and sang., Tappi Tíkarass, whose name translates to something rather rude in English. She was 16 at the time.). Throughout her short life, Björk has been a part of no fewer than six bands, and has had two separate solo careers, one before her time in bands, and one afterwards. At eleven, Björk began studying classical music at school and recorded a Tina Charles track, "I Love to Love". The recording was aired nationally on Icelandic Radio One, and Björk was soon approached with a contract offer from the record label, Fálkinn.
At 14, Björk formed the all girl punk band Spit and Snot, and this was shortly followed by the jazz band Exodus. She and a fellow member of Exodus then branched off to form Tappi Tíkarrass, and this was then followed by Kukl. All in all, Björk had been in four bands by the time she was 18. Kukl became Pukl when Björk was 21, and from here, The Sugarcubes were born.
|The Art of Language:
A lot of people in the past have been at a loss as to how to pronounce Ms. Guðmundsdóttir's name. Is it "Byork"? Well, it has an umlaut, so it must be "Byerk". Her name famously means "birch tree", and she relies on her first name due to the Icelandic surname system. But which of these has Björk actually said with regards to her Nordic moniker? |
"It rhymes with jerk.". The Icelandic word "Björk", meaning "birch tree", seems to come from the old English word "byerc", which also meant "birch". Over a period of time, "byerc" became "birce", and so the English word for the birch tree was formed. And here is some background information on the birch tree.
Birch produces a hard, close-grained wood, and is a tree of the genus Betula. Famous for its thin, peeling bark and small winter catkins, it is native the Northern Europe and grows in abundance on the island of Iceland.
|The Art of Good Parenting:
All in all, Björk began a rather blessed life with both parents experiencing a degree of fame, thereby building her esteem. Sadly, this expert parenting came only from her mother and stepfather. Her father, Guðmundur Gunnarsson, had an extremely important role for a long time, and was often on the lips of every household this side of Reykjavik. What role did he play in the running of Iceland?|
He was a well known and internationally famous Labour leader.. Inspired and encouraged by both her mother and stepfather, Björk spent her younger years in a music school, from which she graduated by the time she was fifteen. Her father was internationally recognised as a great politician even before his daughter and grandson fell into the limelight, though, and so had little time for his daughter's burgeoning music career. Björk's stepfather proved more use in this department, as he helped Björk record her eponymous 1977 album when she was only twelve years old. Indeed, her mother and stepfather were better versed in the art of parenting.
|The Art of Sculpture:
Not content with being a singer, a mother, and the daughter of another famous Icelander, Björk has turned her hand to art and film on several occasions. As an artist, Björk's paintings and live action work can best be described as "a terrifying venture into art". Her most famous pieces of work are those on the covers of both her "Greatest Hits" and "Family Tree" albums. In fact, Björk has even been the subject of her own art. In which piece did Björk half wrap herself in grey plaster and act as a corpse? |
Operazione Morizia. Other frightening pieces of art include the rather sex-oriented "Portrait of Denial" and "The Bottom Seeker", which both feature in the complimentary book of art from "Björk's Greatest Hits". The outright confusing "The Core", which appears to be nothing more than an apple with a nose, and "A Fortiori" which is some kind of distorted frog, are also there for the enjoyment of the fans.
|The Art of Film:
Björk appears in many films, such as the 1999 smash hit "Dancer in the Dark", and was even offered a chance to produce a song for the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy. Björk in fact won an award for her role in "Dancing in the Dark" (the best actress award at the 53rd Cannes film festival), and most recently, she has appeared in a film directed by her long-term boyfriend and father of her daughter, Matthew Barney. Which of the following films did Björk not make an appearance in? |
"Dogma", her role as God really got the Church's dander up.. Of course it was Alanis Morissette who played God in the film "Dogma". Björk continues to take part in films. Playing Selma, a blind immigrant in her most famous role (in "Dancer in the Dark"), Björk later released an album named "Selmasongs" featuring her character painted in oils on the front cover.
|The Art of Preservation:
She's a film star, she's a composer, and she's even an artist. What else does Björk do? Good question. Along with her mother, Björk is an environmental mind with a great love of her native Iceland. Her mother, Hildur Hauksdottir went on hunger strike over this "atrocity" and Björk herself described the event as "A crazy thing, an old story, something you might have done 50 years ago."
What event, that may have threatened her homeland, was Björk referring to? |
An industrial plant and aluminium smelter being built. Björk's mother reportedly became very weak during her hunger strike against the creation of an aluminium smelting plant being built on the unspoilt eastern side of Iceland. The company behind this endeavour also wanted to build eleven dams to make a large reservoir and a hydroelectric plant for the American company, Alcoa. This was all to take place at Reydarfjordur, close to the Vatnajokull icecap, and Ms Hauksdottir had this to say about the developments.
"It's really terrorism that's going on there... because it will destroy the land from the glacier all down to the sea little by little. Björk thinks this is just an old-fashioned crazy thing, an old story, something you might have done 50 years ago."
|The Art of Self-Defence:
Not without her fair share of skirmishes, there was a famous incident in Thailand. While getting off a plane after a long, exhausting flight to Bangkok, a reporter got up in an already irritated Björk's face. As Björk ignored the reporter, the rather unintelligent Thai decided she would grab Björk's son Sindri and jam a microphone in his face, so that his mother would have to stop and talk. Björk went red. She veritably lost it. Then what happened?|
She pounced on the reporter and limbs flew towards the hapless Thai girl's face.. Sindri, Björk's only son, was walking through the mass of paparazzi holding onto his mother at Don Muang airport. The confusing mêlée was quickly broken up, but it is still not entirely clear if it was to do with the jet lag or with Björk's now renowned frustration with the media. She has also spoken about being hounded relentlessly by the media in the UK, the home of her greatest fan-base outside of her native Iceland.
|The Art of Inspiration:
While Björk's works may have inspired many to follow an artistic path of their own, she also (inadvertently) inspired one listener to try and kill his idol. In 1996, a man - who was later described as a "crazed fan" - filmed himself making a bomb with which he clearly intended to kill Björk, in a horrible and disfiguring way. Although it was intercepted before it had a chance to cause any harm to Björk, someone died anyway. Who and how? |
The obsessed fan. He clearly thought he was going to kill Björk and turned a gun on himself (on film) after he had posted the device.. This was one kind of inspiration Björk wasn't trying to give. A 20-hour long tape showed Mr. Lopez putting together the bomb and posting it to the star, in between general ramblings, and then in the end, turning a gun on himself and committing suicide. He clearly thought that the bomb was sure to kill Björk, but fortunately, the tape got out before the postal service could get the bomb to Björk's home in London. It was intercepted by the police and the fine folks of Royal Mail.
|The Art of Motherhood:
Björk has a son named Sindri. While he plays in a band of his own (which has met reasonable success), he also remains one of Björk's few tenuous links to her old band, The Sugarcubes, but in what way?|
He is the son of former band-mate Þór Eldon.. Björk gave birth to her first child Sindri in 1986, as a 21 year old girl in the post-punk band The Sugarcubes. The father, Þór Eldon, still remains a close friend of Björk's, but as she is now married to Matthew Barney and has a daughter by the American director (Isadora, who was born in 2002.
Sindri has also followed in his mother's musical footsteps and plays the bass in a band of his own band, Desida, who have collected numerous positive reviews in his native Iceland.
|The Art of Entertainment:
Perhaps Björk's finest hour was when she sang in the opening ceremony of the 2004 Olympics. Performing "Oceania" from her "Medúlla" album, Björk was seen wearing a massive, blue-and-white flowing robe as the world's athletes ran to surround her podium. As a sheet of shimmering fabric unfurled from Björk's gown and covered the athletes, what symbolic gesture appeared around the songstress in the stadium?|
A map of the Earth was revealed, projected onto the sheet.. Instead of letting viewers enjoy the ceremony, the US commentators talked through it and made inappropriate jokes and comments. While many people around the world enjoyed this symbolic gesture, two American viewers had this to say with regards how the American commentators handled the situation.
"Björk's superior mind created something meaningful for us all to enjoy and meditate on during this special event (which we missed because of two small minded, self-important TV puppets) only to have that precious piece of art defaced by some inane comments", said Maryann and Exef, two fans of the Olympic Games.
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