We’re surprised that Kiruna is a common stop on the modern equivalent of the 19th century ‘Grand European Tour’. This tour is now a loop around Athens, Rome, Prague, Munich, Geneva, Paris, Kiruna, London, and Reykjavik. It’s a circuit featuring famous and fashionable cities, with historic buildings, art galleries, and shopping – and Kiruna and Reykjavik.
It may look a bit odd to traditionalists, but to the modern day traveller, usually coming from the Far East, a shooting geyser, a polar bear, and the northern lights are just as important for the Instagram account as all the other famous stuff.
It’s opened up Kiruna to another kind of tourism, one connected with high fashion, glamour photography, and gourmet food. Kiruna can provide the gourmet food, but the rest – I’m not sure we’re really ready for it yet.
I see, though, that Icelanders have their finger on the pulse as usual. ‘Keeping up with Kattarshiuns’, the latest Icelandic reality TV show, features a number of charming cats and kittens, left to roam, play and sleep in a specially-made cat studio. They purr, they settle, they lick themselves, just like ‘Keeping up with the Kardashians’, only feline – really.
And what does Kiruna have to do to keep up? It’s obvious isn’t it? The beaches of California are replaced with the low snow-covered hills of Kiruna, jungle-print bikinis swopped for full-body insulating overalls (in sexy pink, of course), the L.A. poolside penthouse estate swopped for luxury wooden kennels down by the Torne River. But the core ingredient is the same – daily gossip still centres around who is ‘Leader of the Pack’.
We’ve already begun filming, so here’s a quick preview. The show features dogs bred for action and fun, with pedigree backgrounds, an extravagant lifestyle, and a strong desire to be on TV. They are Spicy, Pitzy, Ratz, Mickey, Suzie, Petra, Aurora and Ice.
Spicy is a leader, and part of the team that competed and won the Yukon race last year. He gets to hang out a lot with the snow scooters, barking orders at the other dogs. They don’t mind though because he’s the King around here.
The first few episodes give you an insight into the dogs’ everyday lives. Ratz is off his food at the moment – the others are worried about him. In this week’s episode they come round for a supportive lick, and try and tempt him with some reindeer morsels.
Spicy’s eldest son, Pitzy, is a dog with attitude – we love it. In the current episode he’s mooning over Susie, bought in from a nearby kennel, a pure pedigree husky with long lanky legs and the perfect body. Suzie and Pitzy are planning a litter of puppies together this year. They get to hang out a lot in the doghouse, sniffing something. It’s cool (well, minus 18 at least). Later in the series we see their ‘Puppy Shower’, when the other guys come round with presents.
In a recent episode, Aurora and Ice are hosting an ‘At Home’ in their newly furbished kennels, when, after the guests have all arrived, they get into a terrible fight. Ice ends up bloodied. Later, the rest of the family are worried about him and try and get him to come out, but he just wants to stay in the kennels eating elk burgers and watching old DVDs of ‘The Dog Whisperer’.
You should see Ratz’s fur coat – it’s sleek and gorgeous. He has to have it dressed and conditioned twice a week – that’s when it’s time to catch up on the gossip in the local furdressers. While we listen in we get to find out what Petra thinks of Pitzy’s latest enterprise, a showcase for edgy new fashion in the sled dog world. They’ll all be wearing purple bootees this season, apparently.
Coming soon, on the Arctic Channel, ‘Keeping up with the Kirundashians’ – don’t miss it.