Iceland has it’s share of quirky museums but one of my favourites is the tiny but jam-packed Pönksafn Íslands or Icelandic Punk Museum in downtown Reykjavík, perfectly located in a disused public toilet at the bottom of Laugavegur.
The museum was founded by Gunni and he along with a few guys put it all together with their collection of memorabilia from the late 70’s through to the 80’s, and was opened by Johnny Rotten no less, as I was told by Svarti Alfur (“Black Elf”) Mánason, a really cool and lovely guy who is originally from Belgium but moved to Iceland when he was quite young. The old toilets had been abandoned as the only woman who ran them got sick of dealing with drunks at the weekends and so a perfect venue was available.
The Icelandic Punk Museum starts with the backstory of punk in Iceland and brings you through the old cubicles, and you are encouraged to stick your head in the old urinals to hear the sound of the ocean. I honestly didn’t know very much about this scene so it was quite an education, and obviously Björk and the Sugarcubes feature. Next you can try out some instruments (like I said, Svarti Alfur is a really nice guy and I didn’t want to subject him to this) and try on the clothes. Barbie also hangs out here.
The final part consists of the music itself, with quite a few records to choose from, and drums are available for the short-arses amongst us – for which I was very grateful.
The Icelandic Punk Museum is open quite late every day and is quite reasonable (I honestly can’t remember if it was 1000 or 1500 ISK) and is a really original place to nip into between puffin shops.