Thomas Bartlett critiques my use of the phrase "Nordic idea" in the non-online Björk profile. Point well taken, though it was actually Björk who introduced the phrase. (A last-minute cut hid this fact.) I kept trying to work out what she meant by it, and I may have assigned it too much importance because it happened to be the first thing she said when we met. "Icelandic music" would have served better than "Nordic idea" in the case of the song "Vökuró." Some of the repetitions were meant to be tentative/ironic. Still, there is some kind of there there, even if I never effectively mapped it out. As a way of making peace with Glenn Gould, whom I just semi-dissed, I'll quote from his radio essay "The Idea of North": "Something really does happen to most people who go into the north — they become at least aware of the creative opportunity which the physical fact of the country represents and — quite often, I think — come to measure their own work and life against that rather staggering creative possibility: they become, in effect, philosophers." Philosophers of what, Gould wisely does not say.
ADDENDUM: Bartlett responds, gently circumambulating my soporific discussion of the "Nordic idea" on his way to a nice discussion of modern Bach playing. With you on Schiff, got me on Evelyn Crochet and Robert Siemers. I'd love it if some of the rock / pop critics out there dabbled in classical writing, just as I've dabbled in pop, and did it without any change of style. Basically, in the end, when the long black cloud comes down, no one really knows how to talk about this stuff.
ADDENDUM 2: This link from Jason Kottke is much appreciated.