Welcome to the seventh episode of Writing Perspectives. I talk to writer and journalist Arnar Eggert Thoroddsen.
Arnar can be considered to be the ‘go to guy’ for everything to do with popular music in Iceland.
He worked for over ten years for the Morgunblaðið daily newspaper in Reykjavik – where he reviewed countless gigs and interviewed local and international musical stars. In 2012 an anthology of his columns was published as Tonlist er…..Tonlist (Music is…..Music).
He’s also the co-author of other books on popular music including Iceland’s Manager: All the Tricks in the Book, about Iceland’s equivalent of Simon Cowell, and of The 100 Greatest Icelandic Albums of All Time.
Arnar is currently working on his latest commission, entitled Icelandic Pop; the definitive account of the history of popular music in Iceland.
This is alongside finishing his PhD at the Reid School of Music at Edinburgh University – on the social dynamics of Icelandic musicians. He is also the programme director of Media and Communication at the University of Iceland.
Talking to Arnar about his approach to reviewing and criticism was really interesting: both as an insight into that process as a writer but also from the perspective of someone producing work to be reviewed. Discussing the responsibility of the critic to the artist was illuminating – as was hearing about Arnar’s experience working to a commission, working with editors and working with publishers.
Arnar shares his approach to planning and structure, and we also talk about his PhD. The notion of the boundary between amateur and professional is something that applies to aspiring writers as much as to musicians.
Spending half an hour with such a deep-thinking enthusiast – with such specialist knowledge in his field – was fun and inspiring. There’s plenty here for all aspiring writers to get their teeth into.
I’m sure you will enjoy this episode – please leave me a comment, either here or as a review on iTunes.