The Icelandic Punk Museum – going underground in Reykjavik
Whether you like punk or not, this little museum is great fun, having lovingly been created in one of Reykjavik’s former public lavatories…very apt…and utterly hilarious! Johnny Rotten (lead singer of the Sex Pistols) actually opened it in 2016, and so the love affair between Icelandic punk and Brit punk continues.
Although Icelandic punk is somewhat different to the mother of all punk movements, rooted in the early 80s and brought to international attention by the UK’s Minor’s Strike in 1985. One global superstar rose from its ashes, and that is no other than Björk, who played a great part in the Icelandic version with the Sugarcubes, probably the most famous band fronting what became post-punk, then went to alternative rock, followed up by indie rock and even progressed into electronica. And we all know where that went, with the German band Kraftwerk taking it worldwide, being the forefathers of EDM (Electronic Dance Music).
Back to Reykjavik and the countries own rebellion, when you’re done with hot-spring bathing like in the Blue Lagoon, or have visited all the major Geysirs, as well as the famous place wreck and have been Husky Sledding too (check our adventure of a husky ride on snow in the TRAVEL section), then you simply have to go off the beaten track downtown Reykjavik, have a reality check, and pay this cute museum a visit…because it’s worth it!
The Icelandic Punk Museum
There are museums all over the world dedicated to various genres of music, but one of the most unusual is perhaps the Icelandic Punk Museum. The museum, which opened in 2016, is somewhere we at at TA-DAH.TV think should be on every music aficionado’s must-visit-list. It was the original idea of John Lydon, better known as Johnny Rotten, frontman for The Sex Pistols. It is located in downtown Reykjavik. In keeping with the Punk vibe of giving the middle finger to the establishment, this tiny museum is in a former underground public toilet and offers visitors a look at the rise of the Icelandic punk music scene during the 1980s with video clips, listening stations and photographs covering every possibly square inch available.
The History of Punk
Punk Rock, or Punk, is a music genre that began to emerge in the mid-1970s. With its roots in the garage rock of the 1960s, the songs were often fast paced and short with melodies that were hard edged, and lyrics that were often political and railed against the establishment. Many of the bands under the punk rock genre were self-produced and under independent labels. Accompanying the music was a very distinctive style of dress with offensive slogans, studded and spiked leather jackets, safety pins and S&M clothes. By the 1980s, more aggressive subcultures of punk emerged such as hardcore punk. This in turn led to spin-offs, with bands heading in other directions. In the 1990s, punk rock and pop punk re-emerged in the mainstream.
Björk is perhaps the most famous emerging artist on the scene and has been heavily involved over the years with several bands, like the Sugarcubes, and various genres, of which the most famous one on the punk scene, was Tappi Tikarrass, owing its rather unique sound to the addition of jazz, disco and funk to their punk vibe.
Iceland’s Other Attractions
So, if you’re hot about making a trip to the beautiful country of Iceland, we think you couldn’t go wrong with a city break in stunning Reykjavik. Located on the south west coast of Iceland, the capital, and largest city of Iceland, is a hub of activity with plenty of unusual museums and buildings to visit, including a number dedicated to the Viking history of the area.
And why not give the Perlan building a try, offering a stunning 360º view of the city, or visit the Culture House, or indeed the most hilarious (and maybe eye-opening) museum straight after the Icelandic Punk Museum, which is the infamous Phallological Museum, yes you read correctly, a museum dedicated to the penis – another ‘small’ gem in Reykjavik, literally!
There are plenty of hotels, from budget to boutique level as well. What perhaps attracts most people to this city destination however is its vibrant nightlife, which is as eclectic as its music, with something for absolutely everyone. There are many really cool restaurants and bars, as well as organic joints, serving excellent food. It’s not cheap, but well worth it.
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