Shirley Clamp in full vocal flight

Melodifestivalen 2013

Child behind thinking hurry up fat bald man, I want a photograph with Nanne also.

Child behind thinking hurry up fat bald man, I want a photograph with Nanne also.

I really, really love this photograph taken almost three years ago at a shopping centre in Stockholm with Swedish pop singer (and daughter in law of ABBA-Benny), Nanne Grönvall.

In particular, I love the look on the face of the child behind us. I had been waiting in a queue with a friend who is a long-term fan of Nanne, and who had brought along quite a few things for her to sign. Quite a few, actually. And of course, I had come all the way from Australia so I was also very keen to have a brief moment and photograph with Nanne, for which she graciously obliged. As you’ll see from the face of the child behind us, she was not impressed a middle-aged bald man from Australia was between her and a moment or two with a Swedish pop star.

It was 2010 and I’d made the decision I wanted to experience Sweden in the colder months. I’d spent six weeks there during the summer of 2008. But as someone who had grown up in a warm part of a warm country, and had only been to the snow a couple of times, I was really curious about what it would be like to a visit a country where snow dominated the landscape.

I was also very keen to go to the Swedish finals leading up to the Eurovision Song Contest which, in my humble view, is usually more interesting and exciting than Eurovision itself. Eurovision has greater musical diversity and sheer scale, but Melodifestivalen seems to have greater warmth and humanity.

It’s like the difference between an A-League match in Australia and the World Cup, if you like. Except Sweden usually does quite well at Eurovision, and last year won Eurovision with Loreen’s Euphoria. That means this year’s Eurovision will be held in Malmö, Sweden (just over the border from Copenhagen). Although I’d toyed with the idea fairly seriously of going to Malmö, in the end I decided I was more interested in heading to Europe earlier which meant I could go back to go to a radio conference in Berlin, attend the Annual ABBF (ABBA) Day, attend the opening of the ABBA Museum and experience snow, once again. And, importantly head back to Melodifestivalen.

This year, they’ve chosen a Youtube clip of a two year old called Vincent, performing Loreen’s “Euphoria” as the official promo trailer for Melodifestivalen 2013, as my friend The Best Judge notes in a blog post this week. It’s cute because it’s a child, it’s doubly-cute because it’s very accurate to Loreen’s original performance.

On top of that, another Youtuber, Martin aka The Swedish Lad has also video-blogged this week from Stockholm (lots of great imagery) and mentioned he was heading off to the first Melodifestivalen heat next weekend. Yes, next weekend already.

I really like his video-blog. He has a slightly crazy sense of humour,

And then today, Sandra Carpenter, an American-expat married to an Australian who lives in Stockholm blogged about the Swedish winter with some beautiful photographs and some great, well-considered text.

So yeah, it’s all starting to add up as I approach five weeks before I set off on another big adventure. Oh, and this year I have tickets (good seats) to the Melodifestivalen final, so I’m doubly excited. I wonder if Nanne will be back at that shopping centre again?

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