Who needs an Australian entry in Eurovision, when we might already have one?

Who needs an Australian entry in Eurovision, when we might already have one?

There’s a lot of excitement today in Australia about our confirmed “wild card” entry in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest.

I actually seriously think much of Europe would vote for Australia out of “sympathy”/”admiration”/”a sense of fun”, and with the large number of expats in Europe (about 1-million), I genuinely think next year’s contest could be held at the Sydney Opera House.

But of course Australia already has an entry (of sorts), participating in Eurovision in the forthcoming fourth heat of Melodifestivalen with the band JTR. They’re up against a lot of competition, but you never know. And if they miss out, they could be the Australian entry. :) Well, the flights would be cheaper from Stockholm than Sydney.

The article below explains they lived in Australia from 2006, because that’s where their step-father comes from. Brissie, to be precise. But they moved back recently.

This item shows at least one of them has picked up an Australian accent, at least

http://blogs.abc.net.au/queensland/2015/01/logan-x-factor-band-jtr-now-wants-to-represent-sweden-at-eurovision.html?site=brisbaneprogram=612_breakfast

TR är gruppen som slagit igenom stort i Australien. Nu är de redo att ta över Sverige – och Melodifestivalscenen.
JTR består av tre bröder från Alingsås som slog igenom i X-Factor Australien 2013. De slutade på en sjundeplats i tävlingen och slog igenom stort i Australien där tävlingen följdes upp av radioturnéer, albumlansering, miniturné och showcases.
På hemmaplan såg man bland annat killarna i Lotta på Liseberg i somras då de framförde singeln ”Ride”. De var även förband åt The Fooo Conspiracy vid deras show Vertigo i Stockholm och Göteborg. JTR’s första album hette ”Touchdown”.
Trots framgångarna utomlands, ser killarna Sverige och Alingsås som sitt hem. Sedan 2006 har de bott periodvis i Australien eftersom deras styvpappa kommer därifrån.

Melodifestivalen 2015 #1

The “car crash” that was last year’s Melodifestivalen (the Swedish competition which chooses an entrant for Eurovision) hasn’t, so far, been repeated this year. Although the songs last year were reasonably okay, the hosts were terrible. The biggest problem with last year is the hosts seemed to have been under the impression (or were told) they were more important or interesting than the songs. Their seriously un-funny humour (especially the guy) meant I stopped watching the entire broadcast.

This year they’ve tagged a comedian, Robin Paulsson with a singer, last year’s winner, Sanna Nielsen, and it seems to work. The “comedy” mostly has a musical element. Sadly though they’ve brought in another lame comedian in what I think is probably an attempt to broaden the show’s appeal. It’s kinda like the lame “family humour” previously found on “Hey Hey It’s Saturday” I guess. The Swedes seem to have a “thing” for “wise cracking nerd comedians”. While previously they’ve had some wonderful moments from the likes of Björn Gustafsson and Sarah Dawn Finer (as Lynda Woodruffe), there’s something awfully unfunny about this year’s comedian whose name I can’t tell you, as I can’t be bothered to look her up.

My other big complaint last year was the dominance of song-writer Fredrik Kempe. He’s back again this year, having co-composed the winner of the first heat. He has some additional songwriters this year, and it shows, as the song is less predictable than the usual Kempe number. Hey, the lyrics even make sense. I suspect, they probably wrote most of the song, but have used Kempe’s name to attract Eric Saade as the performer, and to gain a place in the contest. The song’s not bad, and will probably end up as Sweden’s entry for Eurovision due to Eric’s popularity with Melodifestivalen voters, but I don’t think it’s as strong as his previous entries.

There were a couple of surprise numbers for me in the first heat. I quite liked the rap song co-written by Måns Zelmerlöw (“Det rår vi inte för” by Behrang Miri feat. Victor Crone ) and the song by Daniel Gildenlöw “Pappa” (quite touching). But there were some duds as well, such as “I’ll Be Fine” by Molly Pettersson (she was almost off-key), as well as “Hello Hi” by Dolly Style and “Can’t Hurt Me Now” by Jessica Andersson which I thought were far too formulaic.

It will be interesting to see how Melodifestivalen pans out this year. Given the criticism of last year’s contest, I hope they’ve re-invented the competition somewhat, as I think they really need to. As wonderful as Christer Björkman has been running the competition for the last decade or so (he’s done some great stuff), I wonder if it’s time to find someone new to re-invent things?

Friday night at Franco Franco

How good does this look? We had just been to see a play at nearby Belvoir Street Theatre, and decided we “couldn’t go home” without a bit of desert. We explained this to the waiter, and somehow, in their really busy restaurant, still managed to get a really good table. As we talked over the play, we also listened in to the conversation of a nearby couple who were clearly on a first or second date. It was painful to listen to the small-talk as they posed trivial questions to each other. “Though later in life I might regret being single now, I just don’t think I could go through that again”, I told Sue. “I’m sure it’s much easier to go out to a bar get drunk, bring someone home and find out the next morning they’ve pretty much moved in. Well, it worked last time”, I added. Meanwhile, Sue had the gelato and I had a donut-like desert served with what appeared to be warm nutella. Yummo. Highly recommended.

Radiance

Belvoir Street Theatre has a warning in their publicity for “Radiance” that it may raise issues for people who have experienced sexual assault. “OK, a bit grim”, I thought, but I was still really keen to see the play, as I’d heard so many good things about it over so many years. I also knew there was a movie based on the play, which I’d read was Rachael Perkin’s feature film. But I’d never seen it, so I didn’t know too much about the play. But I really liked the sound of the play, and I was really keen to see the cast: the amazing Leah Purcell, and two actors I’d come to know through the wonderful film, The Sapphires: Shari Sebbens and Miranda Tapsell.

Without giving away too much of the plot, the play concerns three women (half sisters) who come together for their mother’s funeral. One of the daughters had been living and caring for their mother through dementia, having previously worked as a nurse. There’s a couple of really upsetting descriptions of the mother’s experience with dementia, by the way. Another had been living a wonderfully casual life, with no real career, and was pretty fond of spending time with a lot of men. You soon discover, she’s probably the most similar to her mother. The oldest was a world-famous opera singer who had been living overseas for a number of years, and although she had “sent money home” to her family, hadn’t had all that much contact with her sisters.

At the heart of the play is how they confront some of their family secrets and myths with tears and laughter. There were moments in the play when we laughed out loud, side-splitting humour. There’s a scene with a vacuum cleaner which is both hilarious and wonderfully dark. There’s also a moment in the play which had me in tears, almost on the verge of sobbing. There were a couple of occasions when I almost had to get up and leave. How embarrassing would that be? And what a terrible diversion it would have been to the experience of others enjoying the play. That said, a bloke sitting in front of us looked around as if to say “are you okay?”. I pulled it together, though I left the theatre with red eyes.

It’s a wonderful play. I’d highly recommend it, and this production was excellent.

Millers Point

“We’re just trying to brighten up the area”, the woman who was painting a “mural” on the windows of a house in Sydney’s Millers Point told me, as I asked her if she minded if I took a photograph. Although I’d read and heard about the plan to relocate some Housing Commission residents from Millers Point, it wasn’t issue I was fully across. I visit the area probably only once or twice a year. Nor was I aware of the local campaign currently underway to stop this. It was an interesting diversion along the way, as we took part in a Craft Beer Tour. I wished her good luck, as we continued to The Lord Nelson for a late afternoon bevvy.

Craft Beer Tour

“This tour combines two of my passions: history and beer”, our tour guide told us, as we began the Craft Beer Tour yesterday. I don’t recall exactly how I discovered the tour through Foodi, though it was possibly doing a search for “history and beer”, as they’re also passions of mine.

The tour covered Sydney pubs such as The Hero Of Waterloo, The Lord Nelson and others, and the beers we consumed ranged from light to dark in style, and from well-established brands like Reschs and James Squires, to those made only on site. The tour also covered some really interesting insights into Sydney history, including a visit to the basement of the historic pub, The Hero Of Waterloo (which was really terrific). The tour was well-paced, with enough room to sit down down and enjoy the experience, without the feeling you were constantly on the move.

By the time the tour ended at the Lowenbrau, we were a little tired of beer, having spent close to four hours wandering around, and so headed to a nearby bar for some wine instead. It was a really enjoyable tour, and good value at $35 (plus beer).

Australian Of The Year

It’s been a few years since I’ve travelled to Canberra for the Australian Of The Year Awards. The last time was, I think, 2010 (or thereabouts). Through my work, I have a close relationship with the team organising the awards, and was involved in setting up ABC Radio’s live coverage of the announcements. Having helped set things up, I travelled down for the first year, and left it at that, knowing the team at ABC Canberra do an excellent job with it all. The weather was great this year, and I was really pleased to have travelled down, as I got to meet some terrific folk, hear about some of the amazing stories from the finalists and winners, and also enjoy the sounds of Jessica Mauboy, Paul Kelly (and others), and even got to catch up with an old school friend and her sister. A terrific Sunday night…