IN NOVEMBER 2016, THIS FORMER public toilet, once known as “ground zero” to locals, was reopened in downtown Reykjavik to do what it was maybe always meant to do: tell the story of Icelandic punk.
Down below Bankastræti, not far from the harbor docks, this tiny museum is dedicated to the Nordic nation’s punk scene, from its beginnings in the late 1970s all the way to the break-up of the Sugar Cubes in the early ’90s. The exhibits are in the former toilets and washbasins, with a jammed-in collections of photos, posters, hand-bills, instruments, stage equipment, and streaming videos of classic club shows.
The collection covers performances from visiting bands as well as homegrown talent like Sigur Ros. You can listen to Icelandic punk records through the museum’s pull-down headphones, or get really campy and try on some jackets and strike a pose with the guitars and drum set. When the museum first opened its doors (stalls?), on hand to kick it off was Sex Pistols frontman Johnny Rotten himself. On display are the photos to prove it.