A Grapevine service announcement Be patient: That eruption is expected to last until 2015

LOBSTER OF LOVE

Published June 27, 2003

“World domination or death” was the Bad Taste motto. Björk opted for the former; for the others, the result was somewhere in between. Still, it must be said that Bad Taste and the people associated with it managed to put not only Icelandic music but also Iceland itself on the map. Before them, the only bands who had come anywhere close to international success were Thor´s Hammer, who released an English language album that was widely ignored at the time but has since become something of a collector’s item, and the jazz-pop instrumental group Mezzoforte, who had a Top 20 UK hit with the song Garden Party. As one frustrated pretender, Herbert Guðmundsson, put it so heartbreakingly, “When you say you´re from Iceland, people just laugh.” After Björk however, anything is possible.

The exhibition, currently in Hafnarhúsið, documents this revolution. Naturally the main focus is on Björk and the Sugarcubes, whose members were formerly in various notable underground bands such as Tappi Tíkarass, Purkur Pillnikk, Þeyr and Kukl. They would play at various events around the city, usually for no money, and try to sell their self produced albums on street corners while being ignored by passers by. Then in 1987 Birthday became single of the week in NME, and nothing would ever be the same. World domination seemed possible, even probable. Björk might have been the only one of the first wave who actually went on to achieve this, but at the exhibition we get to meet various other bands who could have, should have, might have, and even some who might still. And then of course, there´s Sigur Rós, the first band since the Cubes themselves to have managed a bone fide breakout.

The exhibition consists mostly of old pictures and posters, along with some odd items on display. One of these is the Regina doll seen in the video, another is the mock national costume designed by Bad Taste for the 50th Independence Anniversary in 1994. We also get to see a dress worn by Björk in concert, and the suits of the surf band Brim. Some of the events on the posters make you regret you weren’t there, such as a collaboration between Iceland’s greatest lyricist, Megas, and Kukl, featuring a young Björk. Another interesting event advertised is a blasphemy exhibition, featuring a poster of a priest sodomizing a cat. Perhaps this is something the Reykjavik Art Museum should look into reviving. The most surprising piece is a framed front page of Morgunblaðið showing the war criminals Ariel Sharon and Halldór Ásgrímsson shaking hands.
The exhibition as such is not very extensive but for those with plenty of time there is a constant loop of great Bad Taste related material on television, all subtitled and nicely placed in front of a couch.

The exhibition shows you what can be achieved by young people with big dreams in obscure places, even when demanding to do things on their own terms. But perhaps it is time for a new revolution to displace the old.
The second floor of the Museum holds an exhibition of the works of Erró, a painter from Ólafsvík who has lived most of his working life in France. This shows some of his war themed works, and is very timely. Most of the paintings are from 73-74, and show a brave and talented artist. There is a painting illustrating the coup in Chile which portrays a general riding a swastika bedecked axe, and millstones being placed around people’s necks so they can no longer walk upright. Another one shows an Israeli junta planning further wars of conquest, while a soldier greedily suckles a breast marked with a dollar sign. But Erró´s criticism works both ways, from a painting called CIA-KGB illustrating the similarities between the methods of the superpowers, to some newer work from the 1991 Persian Gulf War showing Iraqis being bombarded with consumerism, while Saddam Hussein wipes his ass on a UN resolution. Sadly, some of the conflicts Erró deals with are still ongoing, so the exhibition plays an important role in demonstrating to us how art can put things into perspective, sometimes more than we may feel entirely comfortable with.

The third exhibition is a collection of modern art, which is not something Grapevine pretends to understand.

Vladur



Culture
Music
<?php the_title(); ?>

The Mengi Set

by

Amongst the fast-changing merry-go-round of music venues in Reykjavík’s city centre, something unusual sprang up around last Christmas: a small, homely, unassuming performance space on Oðinsgata, called Mengi. It appeared quite suddenly, passed around initially only by word of mouth, but quickly become a well-liked venue hosting three shows a week for an intimate, fifty-strong audience. One of the people behind Mengi is bassist, guitarist and composer Skúli Sverrisson. Having lived in New York for over two decades, Skúli had recently moved back to Reykjavík when the project began. “I had been living in a very big city for 25

Culture
Music
<?php the_title(); ?>

Akranes: Where Busted Amps Go!

by

After carefully lugging my vintage guitar amplifier all the way from New York to Iceland, I foolishly plugged it in without a power transformer. There was an unusually loud humming noise and then it started smoking. The smell of burned plastic gently wafted around my flat. My panicky brain immediately cycled through these thoughts: Smart move, Matt, not only will your wife kill you for nearly burning the place down, but also you’ve fried your amp. There was no avoiding the first problem. The second might just require a good repair guy. I started asking around and all of my

Culture
Music
<?php the_title(); ?>

Quarashi’s Music Video Odyssey

by

Quarashi is an Icelandic rap group founded in the mid-90s by Sölvi Blöndal, Steinar “Steini” Fjeldsted and Höskuldur “Hössi” Ólafsson (Hössi left the group in early 2003, and was succeeded by Egill “Tiny” Thorarensen). The band recently resurfaced with “Rock On,” their first single after a nine-year hiatus. We spoke with founding members Sölvi and Steini about their history as a band and what thoughts went into making their latest music video. “Switchstance,” 1997 Director: Arnar Jónasson (director of the documentary ‘Rafmögnuð Reykjavík’ (‘Electronica Reykjavík’) Steini: That was the first thing we did, in the way of a song and

Culture
Music
<?php the_title(); ?>

We Want The Airwaves

by and

We are thrilled to announce that Straumur will host its own Iceland Airwaves off-venue programme at Bíó Paradís, November 5-9. We will have many of our favourite artists perform, including lo-fi indie duo Nolo, who are currently working on their third LP; the ever-so-talented M-band, who released his first album this year; and the hazy newcomer Pretty Please. We are currently in negotiations with other mind-bending acts and we’ll let you know when the results are in. In other news, standard bearers of the domestic disco scene Boogie Trouble just released a new single from their forthcoming and as-yet unnamed

Culture
Music
<?php the_title(); ?>

Time To Get Planny! The Airwaves Schedule Is Up

by

In case anyone missed it, Iceland Airwaves have released the official festival schedule in the shape of this handy PDF. Once you’ve scanned the lineup (and, if your taste lies on the art-pop side, realised with mounting horror that Future Islands (pictured) and The Knife are a direct Saturday night clash), you can head over to the Airwaves website and start constructing your personalised schedule here. The festival’s official lineup kicks off on the evening of Wednesday 5th November, but for early arrivals or particularly eager festival-goers, there’ll be music throughout Wednesday daytime too. The “off-venue” schedule will be dropping

Culture
Music
<?php the_title(); ?>

Autumnal Blues

by and

The pouring rain in the past couple of weeks has made it painfully obvious: autumn is upon us. It’s the time of the year when it’s best to stay inside, curl up in a foetal position under a blanket and drink some hot cocoa. For that kind of non-activity you need a soundtrack. Here is ours. Megas: “Tvær Stjörnur”  Autumn is a time for heartbreak if there ever was one, and “Tvær stjörnur,” a song about lost love and the inevitable passing of time, is Megas at his most romantic and bittersweet. Megas, whose vocals are usually raspy and indistinct,

Show Me More!