Keep it Underground: The Icelandic Punk Museum Opens

Keep it Underground: The Icelandic Punk Museum Opens

Parker Yamasaki
Photos by
Bryan Riebeek

Published November 11, 2016

Below Bankastræti, at the intersection where cars idle waiting to turn onto Lækjargata, is a public restroom known as “the zero.” At least, that’s what it was known as in its heyday, for reasons we’ll leave to the imagination. The restroom was opened on June 17, 1930, “a big year for Iceland,” Reykjavík’s go-to music scholar, Dr. Gunni, notes. “It was the 1,000 year anniversary of Alþingi—a big celebration. So they open public restrooms. Hótel Borg opened, and the national radio began…” On November 2, 2016, the restroom door opened again, onto a different side of Reykjavík history: Behold, the Icelandic Punk Museum.

As Reykjavík’s de facto music man, Dr. Gunni has written three books chronicling the history of Icelandic rock. Having collected and assembled the photos for these books himself, he’s got a sweeping knowledge of what’s available. So when Finni (of Dr. Spock) acquired the restrooms a year ago and came up with the idea of the Punk Museum, Gunni was an easy go-to.

Through a quilted outreach effort, Dr. Gunni has stitched together photos, posters, videos and, of course, lots of music. “I was in a secondhand shop and some guy was working there and he said, ‘I took some pictures back in the 70s and the 80s,’ and those turned out to be really good, unseen pictures from the Stranglers concert in ’78,” the good doctor tells us. “On the same trip I found a can of glue which was the drug of choice back in the day. So it was a good trip to that junk store.”

The content will focus on the period between 1978-1992—beginning with the first Icelandic punk group Fræbbblarnir (“The Staaamens”), which began as a joke at Kópavogur College, and ending with the disbanding of The Sugarcubes. On December 1 the Museum will stage a concert at the newly re-opened Hard Rock Café with Taugadeildin, Jonee Jonee, Fræbbblarnir and Q4U. Welcome to below the block, Pönksafnið Íslands.

hidrumsandstuffs


Culture
Music
Björk Collaborator Arca Unveils Solo Album

Björk Collaborator Arca Unveils Solo Album

by

Key Björk collaborator Arca has released the first single from his self-titled solo album, which will be released on April

Culture
Music
Sónar Day Three: Unicorn Sightings, Goosebumps, Maxed-Out Emo Meters

Sónar Day Three: Unicorn Sightings, Goosebumps, Maxed-Out Emo Meters

by

Last night was the finale of Sónar Reykjavík, with a stellar lineup of Icelandic up ‘n’ comers such as Wesen

Culture
Music
Sónar Day Two: Unexpected Feathers In The Upside Down

Sónar Day Two: Unexpected Feathers In The Upside Down

by

Day two of Sónar went off like a firework. Into the fray went one seasoned Grapevine veteran, Ragnar Egilsson, and

Culture
Music
Day One of Sónar Reykjavík – The Video!

Day One of Sónar Reykjavík – The Video!

by

The video from our first day at Sónar Reykjavík is here! View it in full-screen and turn the volume all

Culture
Music
Sónar Day One: Hatari Slayed, And The Klock Is Ticking

Sónar Day One: Hatari Slayed, And The Klock Is Ticking

by

Each night of Sónar, Grapevine has a troupe of writers-at-large taking in the scene and reporting on what’s going down

Culture
Music
Sónar Preview: Synth Auteurs And Feminist Rap

Sónar Preview: Synth Auteurs And Feminist Rap

by

This year’s edition of the Sónar Reykjavík festival features some high-profile international headliners, from Ben Klock and Fatboy Slim to

Show Me More!