After battling first against Kringlan and then Smáralind shopping malls, Laugavegur seemed to be on a downward trend, but there now appears to be a mini renaissance occurring. There is the wide array of cafés and bars offering free wireless Internet connection emerging. A few months ago the only place in town with this service was Kaffibarinn, and of course it’s not possible to mention this place without reminding people yet again that Blur’s Damon Albarn owns a share of it. This is also the only remaining outpost of Western Europe that still thinks he’s cool. If all the seats are taken by Reykjavík’s filmmaker glitterati busily editing their latest magnum opus ready for it’s premiere in, err, Kaffibarinn, then my personal favourite is Hressingarskálinn. Here you can while away hours listening to Air’s La Femme d’Argent played over and over and over again. But be warned, sitting on the sofa with the mirror behind your head does ensure that everyone can see you’re looking at porn.
Another welcome addition to the area is two new shops peddling tourist trinkets and curios. One splendid souvenir appears to be three chunks of lava stuck on a wooden plinth with a candle placed in the centre. This exquisite piece retails for 1495kr. If this seems a trifle expensive, remember that you only need to buy three to qualify for a tax refund.
Alternatively, you could do as I did and make my own from three chunks of lava I picked up from the ground and stuck them together with chewing gum. It now takes pride of place upon my refrigerator and complements my Limited Edition Berlin Wall fridge magnet wonderfully.
An additional development is the emergence of t-shirt shops. Two of these are to be found within a beer bottle’s throwing distance of each other. Both these fine shops sell t-shirts printed with pictures and slogans designed by some of Reykjavík’s leading contemporary designers working at the very vanguard of cutting edge avant-garde design. But along the road, Bónus, Laugavegur’s ‘pile it high, sell it cheap(ish)’ supermarket, is trying to muscle in on this now lucrative market by selling Ché Guevara t-shirts at the rock bottom price of just 990kr.
¡Viva la revolutión!
How enlightening to read that Krummi, lead singer of Mínus, Iceland’s bad boys of rock, is an avid reader and an intellectual. Surely then, when he describes himself as once being “young, dumb and full of cum”, he realises that this expression is used in the porn industry to describe young actors and actresses in hardcore porn movies that are the centre of attention in a gangbang and subsequently end up “full of cum”.
Hassan’s views do not necessarily reflect those of the editor.