Rokk í Reykjavík is an Icelandic film made for local television in 1982 that seems like a cross between Penelope Spheeris’ The Decline of Western Civilization and Urgh! A Music War. Like Urgh! it’s a steady stream of band after band, nineteen total, some very good, some awful running the gamut from confrontational SoCal-style hardcore to Joy Division and Wire imitators to one group who look just like Loverboy! Like the Decline trilogy there are lots of interviews with incredibly nihilistic youngsters. (One pint-sized Darby Crash wannabe discuses how a meddling social worker made glue sniffing difficult in Reykjavik, but this led them to discover that gas huffing provided an even better high!)
Seen in Rokk í Reykjavík is Tappi Tíkarrass an incredibly tight punk/pop band led by a young (and super cute) Björk Guðmundsdóttir who have a Talking Heads meet B-52s meets ska meets Gang of Four vibe. Their name, should you be wondering, translates as “Cork the Bitch’s Ass!”
Also of note here is Purrkur Pillnikk, the punk band of Björk’s future Sugarcube bandmate Einar Örn Benediktsson. The old man chanting a poem at the start is Sveinbjörn Beinteinsson who was instrumental in forcing the Icelandic government to recognize the country’s pre-Christian Norse religion. Sveinbjörn can be heard performing Ásatrú marriage rites for Genesis and Paula P-Orridge on Psychic TV’s Live in Reykjavik double album.
For me, though, other than seeing the young (and super cute, did I mention that?) Björk in action, it’s the WTF avant garde antics of Bruni BB that steal the entire show. Directed by Friðrik Þór Friðriksson.