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In 1925 Halldór Laxness, the only Icelandic writer to receive the Nobel prize for literature, wrote a teasing article with the headline: On the cultural situation.The author was then 23 years old, a young and rebellious man of the world, comparing the Icelandic culture with other countries: “And as a culture-with the exception of our countrymen in Copenhagen-we had no representatives in Iceland throughout the last century but a few vagabonds in the countryside and that miserable Latin school without a decent house.The same goes for the Community Centre of Samtökin 78, so MSC Iceland, the leather club, is in fact the only place strictly reserved for males.
Icelanders travel a lot and we like to think of us as open minded and modern in our way of thinking.Iceland is in the high North but the Gulf stream from the Caribbean makes the winters warmer than in New York, and the summers are rather warm and wet.The length of the day in Iceland varies very much: December and January are the darkest months with only 4-5 hours of daylight but in June and July there is bright daylight all around the clock thanks to the midnight sun. Icelanders are rather trendy and fashionable and on weekends it seems that everybody is out on the town.The suburbs are big, but the city centre is small and shows a rather mixed blend of architecture.The ruling style, however, is the old Icelandic balloon frame timber house, covered with corrugated iron and painted in all the colours of the rainbow. Icelanders use geothermal water to heat their houses and we get electricity from hydroelectric power plants at big waterfalls in the highlands.
When Samtökin 78 were founded in 1978 they were at last recognized as “the Icelandic sexually-political refugees.” The homosexual exile was not without pain, people had to say goodbye to their language and culture.