Út að djamma

Að djamma, an Icelandic verb taken from the English to jam, means to go out, in the sense that we use in England to talk about going to a pub, bar, or club in the evening, drinking some drinks, enjoying some music, etc. It is a great verb. I'm a fan. Incidentally, it can also mean to jam in the musical sense, as in English. I think originally that was its only meaning in Icelandic.

Anyway, I have been út að djamma (out 'jamming') a couple of times now on the weekends, and now seems as good a time as any to tell the people who read my blog (hi, Mum) about them. The first time I went out was with Sindri and various of his friends and family. It was a peculiar night. Sindri came to pick me up and we went over to his house in Grafarvogur, a suburb of Reykjavík, where his mum, his mum's friend, his sister, his sister's friend and his mum's boyfriend were all getting drunk and singing along to every single song that Sweden has ever entered into the Eurovision song contest. It was the night of the final vote to decide Iceland's entry for 2011, so they were having a sort of pre-Eurovision Eurovision party. They were all very friendly and exuberantly drunk, and flatteringly excited about my Icelandic skills - it was a lot of fun. I tried Icelandic beer for the first time. It's nothing special, really, just the same as every other pale European lager to be honest. But one of them was called 'Polar Beer', which I appreciated.

I was asked, "How do you like Iceland?" for the first time! I had been lead to believe before I came to Iceland that in my position as a foreigner, I would be asked this question by every Icelander I met. Apparently an over-excited Icelandic journalist once asked one of the Beatles this about five seconds after they'd got off the plane, and ever since it's been sort of a national joke. But after one month, it's only happened once. Maybe it's considered a bit old hat now. I enjoyed it nonetheless.

Then we all got in a taxi and went to Breiðholt, another Reykjavík suburb, where there was apparently a party. But when we got there it was not really a party. It was just someone's house, and one person had a guitar. I didn't really know what was going on. Sindri's mum's friend was very drunk and spent most of this section of the night hugging the toilet. Anyway, we were there for maybe half an hour, and then Sindri and I went back to his house and listened to music on YouTube until about 1.30, when we got a lift with someone that he knew into actual central Reykjavík. In Iceland, people do not go out to a bar until stupidly late. It seems quite inefficient to me. We went to a bar on Laugavegur called 'Kofi Tómasar frænda' ('Uncle Tom's Cabin'), which is a café in the daytime where you can get a massive thermos of coffee for not very much. There we met up again with his sister, and some other people from earlier, and some others of his friends. There was music and beer and I don't really remember. A good, if somewhat complicated, night out. I'll report on other experiences with Reykjavík nightlife at a later date.


  1. Wow I thought Europeans were bad at going out late, around midnight. 1:30 is like, wow.
    What time did you get in? / What time do the nights end in Reykjavik?

  2. I got in that night at about quarter to 4, but another time I went out we got into town at 2 and I wasn't home until 6. They don't stay out longer, they just start later... kind of silly really.