Mag
Articles
Collect ‘Em All: When Reykjavík’s Bums Appeared On Postcards

Collect ‘Em All: When Reykjavík’s Bums Appeared On Postcards

Published April 30, 2015

Being able to live anonymously is one of the great perks of modern civilisation. In a big city today, it’s possible to go about your life outside of the scrutiny and control of others. Although it can sometimes seem like your life is constantly on display in Reykjavík, a relatively small city, just imagine what it would have been like in the early 20th century, when far fewer people inhabited the city. At that time, even the homeless and drunks appear to have been celebrities whose photos graced collectible postcards in the 1930s.

It’s as if the “strange” were celebrated in the same way that sports heroes are celebrated on trading cards today. Many of the men depicted on these postcards suffered from mental illnesses at a time when there was next to no help available, but instead of slipping through the cracks, unnoticed, as they might today, it seems that they were well-known characters about town.

We thank Þórunn Jónsdóttir, who inherited these postcards from her father and allowed us to use her scanned copies of them.

CnFaPqi

  • Jón söðli (“Jón, the saddler”): Believed in the existence of dangerous outlaws in the Central Highlands of Iceland, whom he wanted to eradicate with the help of the government.

HGKPhgc

  • Dabbi í Nesi: A milkman who made famous drinking stops on his way.

uvbykzL

  • Gísli, þingmaður Bolvíkinga (“Gísli, MP of Bolungarvík”): A mentally challenged man who thought he was a Member of Parliament for the non-existent constituency of Bolungarvík.

HxGjNb4

  • Símon Dalaskáld: A peculiar poet with an extraordinary memory for old verses.

qbqYRzq

  • Stutti Bjarni (“Bjarni, the shorty”): A drifter.

vUSraIz

  • Brynki Hólm: A famous drunk in Reykjavík.

Oli Prammi

  • Óli prammi: A “naive and strange man” who was “constantly searching for luck, love and the keys to heaven.”

S83IoVx

  • Eyjólfur ljóstollur (“Eyjólfur sunshine taxer”): A drifter and poet.

j3QgnyI

  • Óli gossari: A “crippled” drifter with a drinking problem.

l5Jt9cI

  • Sæfinnur með sextán skó (“Sæfinnur with sixteen shoes”): The most famous water carrier of the late 19th century. An eccentric man whose wizard-like looks made him a local celebrity.

Lemúrinn is an Icelandic web magazine (it’s also the Icelandic word for the native primate of Madagascar). A winner of the 2012 Web Awards, Lemúrinn.is covers all things strangeand interesting. Go check it out at www.lemurinn.is


Mag
Articles
What Are Icelanders Talking About?: Football, Football, Football And Backlash

What Are Icelanders Talking About?: Football, Football, Football And Backlash

by

It used to be that Eurovision was Iceland’s one and only chance to shine on the international stage. But now,

Mag
Articles
Into The Void: A Trip To Hydra Flotation Spa

Into The Void: A Trip To Hydra Flotation Spa

by

I am floating in total darkness; naked, in a formless void where I can’t see, hear, or feel anything. The

Mag
Articles
To Be Oneself Again: All Icelanders Are Now Organ Donors By Default

To Be Oneself Again: All Icelanders Are Now Organ Donors By Default

by

Earlier this month, Iceland made headlines when Parliament passed into law a measure that officially recognises all Icelanders as organ

Mag
Articles
Cashing In And Selling Out: Shady Business In The Tourism Industry

Cashing In And Selling Out: Shady Business In The Tourism Industry

by

It’s no secret that tourism has, in just the span of a few years, become one of Iceland’s largest industries.

Mag
Articles
At The Edge Of The Vanguard: Sanna Magdalena Mörtudóttir of the Socialist Party

At The Edge Of The Vanguard: Sanna Magdalena Mörtudóttir of the Socialist Party

by

Sanna Magdalena Mörtudóttir did not envision herself as a politician. In many ways she still doesn’t; not an establishment politician,

Mag
Articles
Árneshreppur Proves Capitalism And Democracy Don’t Mix

Árneshreppur Proves Capitalism And Democracy Don’t Mix

by

As the whole country watched the election results last week, safely half the country was only concerned about the results

Show Me More!