Granted, these may be increasingly fewer in numbers everywhere around the world, but jukeboxes are conspicuously absent in Iceland. Which is a real shame: one of the best parts of going out to dinner or visiting your neighbourhood bar is being able to put money in a machine that will make everyone listen to one of your favourite songs.
Instead, your dining and drinking experience in Iceland will either be devoid of background music, or else you’ll wish it to be, when you consider how many places are going to be pumping out one of three catergories of background music: touristcore (e.g. Of Monsters and Men or Kaleo), “classic” rock, or corporate ambient techno ad infinitum, whether you like it or not.
A jukebox, by contrast, will broadcast a music selection as diverse as an establishment’s clientele. It can also provide a chance to make friends—you put on one of your favorite songs and hear a cheer of recognition from across the crowded bar, your eyes meet, you smile and nod knowingly at one another, and a new connection is born. And if you’re in the mood for a fight, walk up to any given jukebox, dump a bunch of money in it, program it to play “No Limit” by 2 Unlimited fifteen times, face the crowd, and await challengers.
Jukeboxes are, in other words, a form of democratic control of the environment of any given restaurant or pub. As fond as Icelanders are of democracy, you’d think jukeboxes would be a mainstay around here. Unfortunately, jukeboxes are, and will likely remain, yet another thing missing in Iceland.