After hosting the Drag-Súgur drag show last weekend, Australian comedian Jonathan Duffy – Jono – is the talk of the town. He has only lived in Reykjavík for a few months, but has already made his presence felt. He does stand-ups every week and last Saturday a music video he made for pop idol Páll Óskar was launched. Jono is blatantly honest and prone to shaking things up, which is good news for fans of comedy who can start waiting for his next project to come into the daylight: An online series on what it is like to be gay in Iceland.

Talk of the town Australian comedian Jonathan Duffy made quite the impression when he hosted Drag-súgur last weekend.

Talk of the town Australian comedian Jonathan Duffy made quite the impression when he hosted Drag-Súgur last weekend. For the next two weeks he will be performing 13 times (!) at various venues in Reykjavík.

We meet on one of those days no-one wants to get out of bed. It is dark outside and as you run through the dirty streets your feet get wet and it rains in your face, no matter which way you turn. We’ve decided to do extra early morning coffee downtown Reykjavík and I curse the decision. When I show up, Jono is standing outside the empty café. Doors are shut and the lights are out. Oops! Is it closed? I ask him with an I’m sorry to my voice, as it was my pick of a place. He does not seem to care and a warm smile emerges from his bearded face. As we make our way to the next open café I glance at him and can’t help thinking to myself that he looks quite Icelandic. His freshness and liveliness gives him away, though. He probably still has some vitamin D on stock, leftovers from his native place Australia, which he left some months ago to seek adventures. That might also explain his productivity during our darkest months. But what on earth is he doing here? Well, it all started with him breaking up with his long-time partner.

“I bought a one way ticket to Amsterdam and then travelled around. I did Germany, Sweden, Denmark – which was boring, I call it Dead-mark – Norway, and then ended up here, as far away from Australia as possible.”

The camaraderie of the Icelandic stand-up scene

In Australia Jono had his own one man’s comedy shows. Doing comedy was his way of dealing with the fact that he’d never get the role of leading man in Australia, due to being gay. “Some people say that they believe that being gay is a choice. Well, I was a kid who clearly had no say in the decision-making process. I just got out of the closet and knew that I never needed to go back there again. See’ya! But casting agents in Australia are lazy. They don’t care if you can play a character. They just want you to be that person.”

“I came to Iceland to do what every gay man comes to Iceland to do. To fuck Páll Óskar.”

Once in Iceland it didn’t take Jono long to find a spot for his need for making people laugh. He has been taking part in the regular nights of stand-up comedy at different bars and goes on stage every week. “The scene in Iceland is young, it has only been going on for a few years and only recently have they started doing comedy in English. Now there is one every Monday and it fills up every time. It’s an exciting time to be part of it, as it is growing very fast. What I really like about it is that there is a real camaraderie here I never experienced before. It is beautiful. Wether it is at Bar Eleven, The Student’s bar, Húrra or Gaukurinn. Everyone is there to put on a show. It has never felt competitive and it has never felt like a pissing contest. Normally, comedy is a boy’s club. It’s a white straight male club. In many of the big cities, when you go see a comedy night, you’ll have eight straight white guys, one woman and a gay man. I remember when I was starting doing stand-ups in Melbourne I used to get answers like: Oh, we have a gay on that night. Can you come back next week?”

Ready to settle in the small dark city with lots of chlamydia

Jono was surprised to see that in Europe many people don’t realise how far behind Australia is in terms of queer rights. “It has surprised me how many people don’t realise that there is no marriage equality in Australia and that there is a lot of homophobia. Many people here are surprised when they hear what it actually is like, living in Australia. It’s not the utopia people think it is.”

However, the same could be said about his new life. “I guess it’s the same when you move here to Iceland. People have this romantic idea, that Icelanders believe in elves and trolls, and that living here will fix your life. Then, when you take away the volcanoes and the landscape, Reykjavík is a small, dark city with lots of chlamydia.”

Jono says that in reality Iceland isn't the gay utopia most people think it is.

Jono says that in reality Iceland isn’t the gay utopia most people think it is.

Despite having lost his image of a fairytale land, Jono is serious about settling in Iceland and already has a mouthful of Icelandic phrases he uses when he goes about doing his daily business, avoiding to get stuck with using English. “I’ve spent way too much time and money on learning Icelandic. It would be stupid to leave now. One of my jokes goes like that: My mom sometimes asks me what it is it like, studying Icelandic. I answer that its like the difference between knowing the pen, the pen that is blue, the pen that lies on the table and the pen that is being shuffled up your ass. All while trying to find the corner in a round room. We don’t have the four cases in English. It doesn’t make any sense, declining nouns.”

The same goes for Icelandic as for other difficult tasks he has had to face. He makes fun of them. For instance he regularly posts videos on YouTube where he presents the Icelandic word of the day. “I absolutely adore the Icelandic Language Protection Act. The fact that you won’t take on foreign words makes the language so literal and fascinating, it makes you sound like future robot people. I do enjoy making stand-ups using Icelandic. That also means that my comedy now is intelligent, which it never was before. I’m a good comedian but I tell my jokes to people who don’t like to read. Some have their smart things – I tell my dick jokes.”

It’s ok to talk about this stuff!

Although Jono doesn’t take himself seriously and describes his stand-ups as unintelligent, he actually sees his gigs as a form of education, not the least for clueless straight people, who know little about what being a gay man is really about.

On the cover of Q Magazine.

On the cover of Q Magazine.

“I like to see it as a fun way of educating. When I first started having opportunities to play in front of big audiences there weren’t usually any gay people. I had to find a way to make them connect to it. What I started doing was changing the way I tell jokes. They became less of a “You know what it’s like when this happens” and more like “Let me tell you something gay people have never told you before”. I think that’s been my ticket in. I somehow get away with making jokes that people would normally be offended or disgusted by. People, for example, would not expect to hear a joke about rim jobs when their at a comedy show.”

“What’s a rim job?” I innocently ask, making him laugh so hard he spills his coffee, then giving me an honest, straight forward answer which makes my cheeks turn red. I need a way out and dive into the next question: You do like to make people blush, don’t you?

“Well, I don’t intentionally try to make people blush. But I’ve noticed that it happens. A lot! I think this is also about being comfortable with who you are. When I’m on stage it’s my chance to tell people: It’s ok to talk about this stuff! It’s the only way to break down boundaries. So, you know, I get dirty. I sing songs about anal sex and talk about butt virginity or what it is like to go to a gay gym in the southern hemisphere, where nobody works out and everyone is just looking for dick.”

I get dirty. I sing songs about anal sex and talk about butt virginity…”

If I can make you laugh, then you’ll see me as a person rather than a concept

Jono says he learned the essence of how to be funny when he moved to a tiny town in the middle of Australia. “My ex partner had gotten a scholarship and in return he had to go live in a place where no-one wants to live. This is an area known for being homophobic and we were moving there as an openly gay couple. People were obviously uncomfortable meeting us, because they didn’t know what to make of us. I approached them with the attitude: If I can make you laugh, then you’ll see me as a person rather than a concept.”

He ended up enjoying living there. “I ended up learning a lot about communities which I think has helped me a lot here in Iceland. I think people are often too concerned with how they are experiencing things and how things might not work for them, when really it’s just about showing that you want to be a part of a community. When you move somewhere you can’t expect people to make it nice for you. You kind of have to do that yourself. That’s why I’m trying to learn Icelandic, learning about the culture, meeting as many people as possible and saying yes to opportunities.”

Miserable Icelandic gay men

While enjoying life in Iceland Jono says he was surprised to find out that many gay men here aren’t as happy as he believed they would be. “I had read so many stories about how Icelanders are the happiest people in the world. But I’ve met so many miserable gays here! From what I’ve seen, Icelandic gay men don’t tend to date Icelandic men, since they all know each other. So they tend to get stuck in a cycle of dating tourists or people who aren’t going to be here for long. When you do that you don’t develop any long-term relationships. Which is fine if you don’t want to, but if you do want to you get miserable.”

After Jono started dating again he says that he's discovered that most people are "sexual racists".

After Jono started dating again he says that he’s discovered that most people are “sexual racists”.

Jono is a good looking man and without doubt gets his share of attention. However, he claims that he hasn’t been dating a lot since he arrived here. He says that some men he’s dated fear that he’ll talk about them on stage. “To which normally I answer: Well I wasn’t before but I will now.”

He finds social apps, like Grindr and Tinder, tricky to use in Iceland. “It doesn’t take very long to run out of people. So you kind of have to pace yourself and only jump in like once a week. Here, you really have got to think about whether you’re going to swipe left or right, because you may never get another person again.”

Another thing he has realised, since he started dating again after many years, is that most people are sexual racists. “People have a very clear type and that’s all they’ll date. They’ll even write it. Not into Asians. No fats. No fems. Whereas I think: There are so many people out there! If you even have wassabi-flavoured ice cream, why would you only pick vanilla?”

He, himself, says that he’s not currently looking for a serious relationship. “No, I’m going through my strong independent black woman phase. I don’t need a man!”

Páll Óskar in the role of #futureexhusband

“I came to Iceland to do what every gay man comes to Iceland to do. To fuck Páll Óskar.”

That’s how one of Jono’s ongoing jokes goes. For some time he has been photoshopping himself on photographs with the singer, publishing them using the hashtag #futureexusband. Some weeks after Jono came to Iceland Páll Óskar himself came to his stand-ups at Húrra. Jono knew he was coming and was quite stressed to have his idol in the audience, especially since he planned on talking about him as usually. He was relieved to receive a message from the singer afterwards: “I loved every filthy second of it!”

Photoshopping himself on photographs with Páll Óskar.

Photoshopping himself on photographs with pop singer Páll Óskar.

They have since worked together, Jono being one of the makers of Páll Óskar’s latest video (see below), which he shot, edited and did the after effects in cooperation with his good friend, artist Ólöf Erla. “The man has an amazing sense of humour. He is honestly one of the nicest people I have ever met. What I love about him is that he’s at the top of the game and he doesn’t have to be nice. He could be an absolute dick if he wanted to be. It’s important to know that when someone is nice all the time it can be a conscious choice.” Ever since they started working together, people have been coming up to Jono, asking the same question: So?! Is it happening? “I can tell you this: We have a strictly professional relationship!”

The darkness and cold Reykjavík has to offer during winter does not seem to be driving Jono away. He plans on celebrating the holidays in Reykjavík with good friends. He also turns 30 right before christmas, which will be celebrated in a way not many would feel comfortable with. “Actually a few comedians (including Hugleikur Dagsson and Bylgja Babýlons) here have suggested that I allow myself to be roasted. So on December 6th I will sit on a stage and they make fun of me. At the end I get to make fun of them as well.”

Among the things Jono is currently working at is a one man’s comedy cabaret show and an on-line series on what it is like to be gay in Iceland. He plans of making the series available on-line and sees them as based on short episodes with interviews and glimpses of gay life in Iceland. Based on his stand-ups, where he for example compares Kiki bar to The Hunger Games, a place where people meet and fight to death and the last two standing get to have sex, it should be a safe bet to say that they’ll be funny and controversial at the same time. Fans of comedy have most definitely not seen or heard the last of Jono.

The Hamburger Factory
- gourmet burgers

Ok. You’re in Iceland. Most likely for the first time.

You will probably bathe in the Blue Lagoon and take a road trip to Gullfoss and
Geysir. That’s all well and good. But neither Geysir’s nor waterfalls are
something you eat. That’s why we have 15 brilliant and creative hamburgers at
The Hamburger Factory. And they are all perfectly square. Don’t miss out on
Iceland’s most beloved hamburgers.

The Hamburger Factory is Iceland’s most innovative gourmet burger chain.
Packed with burger-craving customers since it’s opening in 2010, among the
regulars is Iceland’s best known fisherman, Eric Clapton. In our restaurants we
welcome tourists with our newspaper like menu and smiley service. They are
packed with fun items and memorable connections to Icelandic pop culture.

Locations:

Omnom Chocolate
- award-winning chocolate maker

    Omnom Chocolate is an Icelandic craft chocolate company based in Reykjavík. We produce handcrafted chocolate from organic cacao beans sourced ethically and sustainably. We’ve developed direct relationships to create premium chocolate with fine flavor cacao beans.

    Our creative flavors are carefully crafted by meticulous chocolate makers. The cacao beans are roasted, winnowed, ground, and refined into melty-smooth chocolate.

    Omnom’s process is one of constant exploration, invention, and experimentation. If it doesn’t please us, if something isn’t absolutely delicious, there’s no reason to be doing it. So, we always start with our taste buds and follow our instincts. Our team searches for the finest ingredients in the world and new ways to improve chocolate. This obsession with knowing where our ingredients come from has led us around the corner to dairy farms in the Icelandic countryside and all the way to rainforest cacao farms of Nicaragua.

    In only a few short years, we’ve grown from our 50 sq. m. petrol station space and become an award-winning chocolate maker. Now, with our headquarters in 101 Reykjavík, our chocolate is sent out around Iceland and all over the world.

    At the end of the day, our goal is to make chocolate.

     

    Alfred’s Apartments
    - gay owned an operated

      Alfred’s Apartments and Alfred’s Studios is a gay operated and owned accommodation in the heart of Reykjavik.

      Alfred’s Apartments offers spacious apartments at a good price located just around the corner from Laugavegur shopping street. You can choose the apartment starting from a Small Studio for 2 persons to a large One-bedroom Apartment with balcony for 5 persons.

      Their staff will ensure your comfort during the stay and provide the most updated information about the city, gay and night life in Reykjavik.

      Each apartment has a private bathroom with a shower, fully equipped kitchen and free Wi-Fi. Guests can buy groceries at the local grocery store 50 meters from the apartments. Because of their very central location, numerous shops, restaurants and cafés are available in the surrounding area. The Church of Hallgrimur is located 350 m from the apartments, a tourist agency is just 50 m away and the nearest gay bar is less than 5 minutes walking distance.

      Laekur hostel
      In the hostel we have dorms for 4-8 persons with shared kitchen and bathroom facilities. The rooms are furnished with free internet, lockers, and a USB charger by each bed. The beds have linen provided and you can rent a towel in the cafe on the ground floor for 5 EUR.

      All the dorms are mixed with both genders. You can also book a whole room with 4-8 bunker beds.

      Blue Lagoon
      - a world of wonder

      Named by National Geographic as one of the 25 Wonders of the World, the Blue Lagoon is a shimmering expanse of warmth, relaxation, and rejuvenation. Its unique geothermal seawater comes from 2000 meters within the earth where sea and fresh water converge in a tectonic frontier of porous lava and searing heat. Propelled by extreme pressure, the water ascends to the earth’s surface, emerging enriched with silica, algae, and minerals: the elements that endow Blue Lagoon geothermal seawater with its radiant, healing properties.

      From its humble beginnings in the shadows of a geothermal power plant, Blue Lagoon has evolved into a world of wonder, now encompassing a hotel, a restaurant, a luxury lounge, a renowned line of skin care, a research center, in-water massage, and a wealth of spa and refreshment facilities.

      Achieving harmony with the volcanic landscape of Iceland’s Reykjanes lava plain, the lagoon and its surrounding architecture embody the unification of the man-made and the natural, and adhere to the highest principles of sustainability.

      Blue Lagoon. A wonder of the world. A world of wonder.

      Whales of Iceland
      - larger than life

      Whales of Iceland is the largest whale exhibition in Europe (and perhaps even the world), where guests can learn about the giants of the sea in a calm and modern environment. The permanent exhibition features whales like guests have never seen them before. It is truly a giant experience.

      Landsbankinn
      - leading financial institution

      Landsbankinn is a leading Icelandic financial institution. It offers a full range of financial services and is the market leader in the Icelandic financial service sector with the largest branch network.

      The present bank was established on 7 October 2008 but the history of its predecessor dates back to 1886. The bank is owned by the National Treasury of Iceland, which holds 98.2% of its share capital, and other shareholders who own 1.8%.

      Landsbankinn’s strategy is to provide comprehensive financial services that meet customer’s needs. It emphasizes providing exemplary service to customers, developing e-banking for their convenience, increasing the efficiency of support functions, modernizing its technology and ensuring effective utilization of its balance sheet.

      The bank’s vision is to be exemplary and its role is to be a trusted financial partner.

      Special emphasis is placed on promoting a performance-oriented culture in the bank. To follow up on the implementation of this strategy, the bank has defined key goals which are measured regularly to determine progress. These goals include, for example, customer satisfaction and loyalty, profitability, cost efficiency and the correlation between risk appetite and employee satisfaction.

      Landsbankinn wishes to lead the development of a sustainable society in Iceland by integrating economic, social and environmental concerns in its operations. The Bank aims to ensure that both its owners and society at large benefit from its activities.

      It intends to achieve this aim by building solid infrastructure and a strong team of 1.100 employees, by listening to its customers and by respecting and encouraging its employees to actively participate in their community. Landsbankinn was a founding member of Festa, a Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility, and is a member of the UN Global Compact.

      Landsbankinn has been a proud sponsor of the Reykjavik Pride since it was first celebrated in Iceland.

      Dohop
      - get inspired

      Dohop allows people to find the cheapest flights available with just one click. Founded in Reykjavik in 2004, it is the only Icelandic company of its kind and quickly became the go-to tool for finding cheap flights among the locals. Dohop finds the best deals among hundreds of different airlines and online travel agencies, to make sure that the user is getting the cheapest price. Dohop also offers hotel and car rental search engines, so users can make all of their travel bookings from a single website.

      Dohop‘s specialty is finding so-called “self-connect” flight options, which can save travelers money by booking a ticket through two or more different airlines. The ability to look for these self-connect option is what sets Dohop apart from its competition, as it can save people hundreds of dollars on certain routes.

      More recently, Dohop has developed a unique product called Dohop Go!, which allows users to check for the cheapest available flights from their home airport. This tool is perfect for those who are looking for travel inspiration but are not willing to overpay for their flight ticket. Dohop Go! is now available in the Dohop Flights App, both for Android and iOS, along with its traditional flight, hotel, and car search engines. “

      Macland
      - for all your Apple needs

      From starting out as a proper startup with only a good idea and the need to change things, to becoming an established company with 6 employees. Starting from scratch and expanding organically has allowed us to love our expansion and take our customers on the ride with us.

      Macland is located at Laugavegur 23 (101, Downtown Reykjavik)
      For all your Apple needs. We are here.

      Aurora Reykjavik
      - northern lights center

        Aurora Reykjavik is a Northern Lights Center situated in downtown Reykjavík at the Old Harbor next to Icelandair Hotel Marina and Vikin Maritime Museum.

        Aurora Reykjavík is Iceland’s first educational and recreational Northern Lights Center where multimedia is used to explain when, why and how the Northern Lights work, with the highlights being large HD projection of the Aurora’s. We also share myths and legends about what our ancestor thought about those mystical lights.

        The Northern Lights Center is for all ages. Children are our favorite guests and we created the exhibition in a way that children can have a look freely and parents don’t have to worry about things being broken.

        Aurora Reykjavik offers a great selection of souvenirs that are designed and made by Icelanders along with nice little coffee corner, where you can enjoy free coffee and tea while browsing through the souvenirs or just planning your next step.

        Contact Aurora

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        Ísey skyr
        - once tasted never forgotten

        Our Story
        Once upon a time, 1,100 years ago in fact, Nordic settlers began arriving in Iceland. They brought with them the skills and knowledge for producing skyr. As time passed, the know-how and recipe for this nutritious food slowly faded out elsewhere in the Nordic region. Luckily, the Icelandic skyr-making tradition continued.

        For centuries, Icelandic skyr formed a cornerstone of the national diet, helping to keep people strong in living conditions that were often harsh. On family farms countrywide, it was the women who nurtured this dairy and passing on both the recipe and the original Icelandic skyr cultures from mother to daughter.

        Ísey skyr builds on this remarkable legacy. It was some of those very same women, the recipients of their mothers’ expertise, who, around 90 years ago, taught Icelandic dairy scientists the art of skyr-making. The production process is more high-tech these days, and the quality standards more rigorous. However, the basic recipe and the use of original cultures to ferment the skimmed milk remain the same. Protein rich, fat-free, creamy and delicious – Ísey skyr is as relevant to consumers now as it was all those centuries ago.
        This is our secret and you are in on it

        You can read more about Ísey skyr on our website.

        Núðluskálin
        - noodle bar

        Núðluskálin is a small gay owned and operated fusion noodle bar.

        All of our courses are individually made from fresh ingredients and therefore highly customisable.
        We offer fully Vegan versions of all courses.
        Though originally a take-away we now seat over 30 people.

        Núðluskálin is located right in the heart of Reykjavík on Skólavörðustígur 8 (street leading up to the big Church) near the junction with Laugavegur (main street).

        Seatours
        - adventure cruise

        Ferry Baldur – the gate to the West fjords
        and VikingSushi Adventure – Bird & Nature watching Tour for everyone all year around

        The “VikingSushi Adventure” is the right boat tour for travelers who are adventurous and want to experience something new – close up to the nature seafood simply doesn’t come fresher than this! The archipelago area of the Breidafjordur Bay always surprises her visitors during winter or summer with spectacular sights. Where else you get to try delicious fresh scallops and sea urchin roe straight from the ocean served with soy sauce, wasabi and ginger.

        600x400-seatours-tasting

        This old volcanic area, characterized by the typical basalt formations of the islands, is the home of countless birds. Here you will also find the strongest currents in Iceland. The VikingSushi Tour takes roughly two hours and our captain is also the tour guide.

        600x400-seatours

        The VikingSushi Tour is a true adventure through incredible nature which should not be missed by any traveler to West Iceland.

        Birds, possible to spot:
        -puffins (from the middle of April until the middle of August)
        -eider ducks
        -shags
        -kittiwakes
        -fulmars
        -white-tailed eagle

        The car ferry Baldur is the bridge to the West fjords via the island Flatey
        Ferry Baldur crosses Breidafjordur Bay daily from Stykkisholmur on the Snæfellsnes peninsula to Brjanslaekur in the north. A ferry ride considerably shortens the route between the south and mid-west of the country and the West Fjords region. It also gives you the opportunity to experience a floating restaurant.

        Take a stopover at the charming island Flatey when you are crossing the bay or go to a day tour to Flatey and back to Stykkishólmur. At Flatey are no cars allowed and between the houses of the 18th century you get the feeling of a journey back in time.

        Contact Us


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