From Iceland — The List

The List

Published September 29, 2008

The List
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Númi (top left)fiorkell Thomasson is a 29-year old half-Icelandic, half- German cook. The cool kids also know him as the drummer of the late legendary indie-rock group Andhéri. After a few years living in Berlin, where he studied to become a chef at the Kempinski Bristol Berlin Restaurant, Númi is back and is about to open a new restaurant, Segurmo, at the Boston bar on Laugavegur. “The menu will be basic but delicious. You will be able to choose from a dish of meat, fish and vegetables, but the courses will change every week”, says Númi who, in addition to cooking the meals, also plans to stand in the doorway like a crazy Italian chef and wave to hungry bystanders and encourage them to step in. Númi has charm so it will probably pay off.

1. Kolaportið
This is the flea market where you can find anything from salted cod to the LP you’ve always been looking for. It’s even fun to be there if you don’t have any money.

2. A make-over and funky dance
Have some artificial nails installed and do a silhouette dance in front of cameras. At least that’s what I did last Sunday for my friends who are going to use this in some kind of dance-project.

3. Hang out with parents
On Sundays it’s great to meet friends who have children. Just to hang out and chat and watch the children play.

4. Esjan
To take a hike up Mt. Esja is a good activity when you’ve been staying in Reykjavík for too long. Up there you can see the town in perspective. How small and insignificant it all is.

5. To pick lovage
Sometimes I spend my Sunday afternoons sneaking into gardens to pick lovage, which I use as a spice for the authentic Icelandic meat soup. I only pick it where it is obviously not being used by anyone so I don’t consider it stealing.


Tinna Gunnlaugsdóttir (centre) is the artistic director of the National Theatre of Iceland. Before taking on that job she worked as an actor on stage and in movies for 25 years. Tinna is now promoting the winter schedule of the theatre where she says  the emphasis will be put on Icelandic pieces. “On the big stage we’ll have two big plays: Summerlight, and then Comes the Night which is based on the novel with the same name by Jón Kalman Stefánsson and Frida…viva la vida by Brynhildur Gu›jónsdóttir” She also points out that this winter also holds a new piece by Sigur›ur Pálsson, one of Iceland’s most respected authors and a new production of an Icelandic classic, Hart í bak, from 1962. She also encourages people to check out an experimental production of Macbeth that will start this month.

1. Halldór Laxness
He is more Icelandic than anything else, but his works deal with feelings relative to all people and therefore he is without borders.

2. Jón Kalman Stefánsson
In a way Jón Kalman is a logical and a modern continuation of Laxness, but he also has elements of Scandinavian magic realism.

3. Vigdís Grímsdóttir
She has insight that makes her creation palpable and true.

4.Einar Már Gu›mundsson
Einar Már is a sincere man of storytelling.

5. Kristín Marja Baldursdóttir
I just feel that what she writes is interesting and exciting.


Elís Pétursson (right) is a 28-year old musician from Reykjavík who, among other things, plays bass with the pop-group Jeff Who. The band is now on the verge of releasing its second album, which will follow up their popular debut from 2006. “It will hopefully be ready before the Iceland Airwaves Festival. We had finished recording and then we decided to do some finesse changes,” says Elís. He also implies that the overall sound of the new album will be a little bit more sophisticated and a little less happy-go-lucky but without jeopardizing the main task of being excellent pop. We look forward to hearing the album and can agree that its first single, the excellent She’s Got the Touch, sounds promising.

1. The Music Hall
When I walk down Bankastræti I sometimes imagine how cool this house will be when it’s finished. It will sprinkle the downtown of Reykjavik with a metropolitan touch. At least it will be cooler than the Esso gas station and the tire-shop that used to be there. I guess I will miss the Go-kart lap though.

2. Hallgrímskirkja
I grew up near this church and even though it’s going through some makeover today I’m always fond of it. I can’t imagine a Sunday without the chime of the out-of-tune bells.

3. Kópavogskirkja
I hope it’s OK to reach a little bit out of Reykjavík to the nearby Kópavogur. I basically like the architecture of this structure. It’s neat because it is not trying too hard.

4. The Næpa

I like the Icelandic name of this house “næpa” which means turnip. Instead of giving it a more grand name like “Kremlin” or “The Red Tower” we basically thought it reminded us so much of a turnip we couldn’t resist.

5.The Old City Library at þingholtsstræti

It’s a genuinely elegant house. It’s kind of hard to imagine that this used to be a library. It should host a specialised bar serving only whiskey and cognac.

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