According to the motto of our own harassed but still hanging-in-there BBC, “nation shall speak peace unto nation”, although at the moment, not so’s you’d notice.
As if all this Brexit nose-thumbing and Trumpeting of “America First” wasn’t enough, we now find ourselves on the brink of another international incident, involving Iceland the country and Iceland the store.
The former claims the latter’s iron-clad copyright on their common name is harming its small businesses and stopping it making its mark on world markets.
This in spite of the fact that there are, it would seem, three Iceland stores in Iceland. Go figure…
Now, call me a naive, sentimental fool but even given the fact, as movie mogul Samuel Goldwyn once opined, nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the general public, I doubt there are many of us who would confuse the two.
And I also reckon there are very few customers of the British-based food retailer who would describe the goods on offer within its walls as Icelandic.
Whereas much, if not all of what this feisty northern island nation produces, is definitely Icelandic and can, surely, be described as such without resort to the law courts.
Maybe I’m wrong there, though, as we have all heard of cases where copyright has been defended in the face of seemingly ludicrous claims to exclusivity eg. McDonalds, KFC and Titanic.
Not to mention the (unsuccessful, so far as I know) attempt of the Specsaver chain to claim ownership of the word “should’ve” – as in: “Should’ve Gone To Specsavers” – or Facebook’s bid to possess sole use of the words “face” and “book”. Good luck with policing that one, boys…
Back in 2004, one Donald Trump (who at that stage, had not given up the reality TV day job) tried (and failed) to trademark the phrase: “You’re fired!” which I’m sure came as a great relief to Sir Alan Sugar.
And showing there is no ill wind that cannot blow some sharp-eyed entrepreneur some good somewhere, the EU referendum result led an intrepid American booze manufacturer to lodge an application to call a proposed brand of “hard cider” (whatever that may be), Brexit. Obviously he is not expecting wild success in the European market.
Where the Iceland v Iceland conflict is concerned, however, I would be wary. These Icelanders (not the retail variety – or perhaps them, too, in a different fashion) are not to be trifled with.
This is the small but belligerent nation that bit Great Britain on the behind several times during the infamous Cod Wars of the 50s, 60s and 70s, sending the Royal Navy homewards, beyond a 370-mile fishing limit, to think again.
And they got themselves out of the 2008 financial crisis by rejecting austerity and banging up their bankers, which definitely shows more backbone and foresight than anyone currently in power around these parts.
Then they beat our southern neighbour to make it to the quarter finals of Euro 2016 (always bearing in mind that there were those of us much closer to home who didn’t get anywhere near the event in the first place).
No wonder the long-established (1970) firm of freezer specialists is sending a major delegation to Reykjavik to thrash out the terms of a compromise and restore what a senior executive described as a “warm relationship”, which sounds a bit like a contradiction in terms.
Although, apparently, the company did sponsor the national team at the aforementioned sporting tournament earlier this year, which sounds like grounds for a bit of a thaw in attitudes to me. If all else fails, of course, they can always resort to the advice given in the aptly named Frozen and Let It Go.
Either that, or sever their connections, rebrand themselves and look around for another suitable geographic landmass on which to construct a sound customer base in refrigerated goods.
I was very sorry to hear a few days ago of the death of well-known local singer and performer Annie Wallace, probably best known for her work with the ever-enterprising Downfield Musical Society over many years.
A larger-than-life figure in all respects, Annie had a terrific voice and stage presence and tackled everything from operetta to cabaret with equal verve and authority.
She was also one of the funniest people I ever met and though I didn’t know her well, I have very fond memories of an opera skit we did together once at the Gardyne Theatre, where she impersonated “Monster-rat Caballe” to my “Kiri Kannataka-canawa”, ably backed up by twa (alleged) tenors AKA Luciano Slaveralotti and Jose Couldnacareless.
Annie was one of those so-called amateurs who played to professional level and beyond and I am sure there will be many memorable on and off-stage moments being happily – and poignantly – replayed around the musical societies and audiences of Dundee and much further afield this week.