What's cooler than an Icelandic glacier? Reykjavik hipsters!
I always knew that Iceland was beloved by hipsters. After all, the beautiful video for Bon Iver's "Holocene" was shot throughout the breathtaking vistas of the country. But as much as the bearded hipster yearns for the living his Thoreau-with-microbrew aesthetic in a remote cabin built off a volcano, that hipster is nowhere to be found in Iceland itself. Rather, the only thing American and Icelandic hipsters have in common is the flannel shirt.
With a population of roughly 320,000, you wouldn't expect so many hipsters, but Iceland is literally (bar) crawling with them. After all, the sun barely sets in the summer so the "night" life is ideal. The midnight sun helps to shine a light on what makes Reyk hipsters different.
Firstly, street art. Depicting everything from trolls picking their noses to geek glasses sporting chickens, the graffiti is more interesting than what you'll find in the museums. The weirdest graffiti often covers a whole building, denoting a hipster haven.
However, sometimes it's covertly hidden down an alleyway or painted on a cheeky fire hydrant because the real hipster doesn't want to be found.
|Do you think the wink is meant to be ironic?|
Secondly, the record store.
As if the country's landscapes weren't starkly beautiful enough, they inspire some hauntingly gorgeous music too, such as Bjork and Sigur Ros. Consequently, Reykjavik has been selling vinyl before it became fashionable to do so again and no bar is complete without a hipster DJ set or live band.
Second, there was the so-hip-it-hurts men's choir outside the bar. Pints still in hand, they precariously set up some bar stools to stand on and then started serenading the crowd of bemused locals and pleasantly surprised tourists with traditional Icelandic music for 20 minutes. They certainly had the talent of a professional choir, but never set their beer down. Perhaps this was their post-rehearsal vocal relaxation exercise?
By the way, I don't think they were dressed specially for the event. That's how Icelandic men dress normally- slicked back duckbill hair style, tailored oxfords, and dark wash denim. You'll never look so dapper, so don't even try.
Sometimes hipsterdom can be depressing because you know you'll never fit in and you aren't supposed to, but even tourists have a chance at being part of the scene. Our hostel, Kex, was the epitome of trendy.
|There's nothing a Kex receptionist can't do.|
|No, this is not a photo from The Selby, it's just the lounge on my floor.|
|Lexie, the Michelle Williams look alike.|
|Kathryn, master of wearing solid colors.|
Reykjavik is a hipster paradise, except it defies one part of the hipster credo- exclusivity. Rather, everyone can get involved- see a flashmob, hear some Jonsi, touch a gorgeous wool sweater, taste the latest it-food, and feel like they're part of something special. After all, it's a small country, so the more the merrier.