Smekkleysa (Bad Taste) was originally an art collective that came together to produce the works of a group of local artists. They are responsible for helping spread the word on such Icelandic greats as the poet Sjón, the metal band Mínus, Sígur Rós, and, of course, Sugarcubes and Björk.
Their new record store would probably get a good write up, then, no matter what they did… Out of sheer respect for past deeds. But, truthfully, what Einar Örn and his colleagues have done with this shop in the basement of the Bónus building on Laugavegur is remarkable.
For starters, the store is a venue for free live shows by the best of local and independent foreign bands. As a cd store, the shop has an excellent selection of indies, all priced as good as it gets in Iceland. The staff consists of the best and most humble of the local music scene (including our own correspondent Benni).
In addition, this is the single cheapest place we know of to purchase music due to a commendable act by artist and musician Birgir Örn Thorvaldsson: his personal cd collection is on sale at the store at 300 ISK a cd, with all proceeds going to the local women’s shelter.
If you came to Iceland for the music, you have to stop here.
Smekkleysa. Laugavegur 59. 101 Reykajvík. Ph# 534-3730.
UN Iceland Shoes
Four Times the Suffering
Usually, when you buy your pair of Nikes or Adidas, you know you’re investing in suffering. Some poor kid in a sweat shop cried his way through the stitching of your swoosh.
Well, the Icelandic shoes UN Iceland up the ante on suffering. Not only were they made in sweat shops – they’re also a company who folded in legendary Icelandic fashion, ruining all employees by not paying the required employer taxes, only to go bankrupt and escape damages lawsuits. Want more suffering? Look at the shoes. Ugly to the nth degree, they also fall apart in rain or heavy wind.
But that much suffering makes for character. We have come to admire these shoes, priced at 900 ISK, for somehow sticking around.
Available at a temporary shop on Laugavegur. No phone available as of press time.