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Johnny Rotten opens the Icelandic Punk Museum at Iceland Airwaves

02 November 2016, 19:16 | Written by Gabríel Benjamin

On his first visit to Iceland, John Lydon, better known as Johnny Rotten from the Sex Pistols, opened the Icelandic Punk Museum in front of a crowd of a few dozens.

Said museum is dedicated to the Icelandic punk scene that started in 1978, and is located in what used to be a public bathroom for women on Bankastræti street, Reykjavík.

Lydon said a few words before opening the floor to questions by saying: "I don't know what the format is here, and I don't work with format anyway, so I suppose if everyone has a question, then pile in."

Asked about what people can expect from the museum, he said, "I can't say I've looked at the museum... But I saw a toilet down there and left my mark on it."

Asked about the purpose of the museum, he said: "I don't know what we're doing here, I know we're opening a museum, which is not a bad idea. I mean, at least it's not in Britain run by the Conservative government." Lydon further added that there really should be a punk museum #2, and #3, and so on until the present day because: "proper punk is constantly reinventing itself."

He then reminisced about how he got into punk because he saw the world as a shit place "run by shit cunts." Asked about what punk was like today, he said it always had to keep finding new tools and sounds because it couldn't remain stuck in the past. He then lambasted hip hop artists for selling out and promoting $2,000 Nike sneakers, commenting: "fuck them!"

After taking a few questions, Lydon commented that his fingers were freezing, his penis had shrunk and his toes blackened, before entering the museum with select members of the press for further interviews. While he answered questions from RÚV, Iceland's state broadcaster, the museum's green-haired curator, Frikki Pönk, paced back and forth and mumbled to himself: "punk is dead."

The museum opens formally to the general public today at 8pm.

The Icelandic Punk Museum is the second museum to be located in the former public bathroom. The Living Art Museum ("NÝLÓ") used it as an exhibition space called "Núllið" ("The Zero") from 2015. The location also inspired author Einar Már Guðmundsson for his 2009 book Bankastræti Núll.

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