I think it’s true to say that, at work, I have a bit of a split personality. One minute I’m the serious manager, the next minute I’m the go-to-guy for all things Swedish and pop culture, generally.
I guess that’s why I got an email from Libbi Gorr the other day. Libbi, you would know from her previous life as Elle McFeast, though these days she’s the weekends presenter on 774 ABC Melbourne. She has a regular spot, “Sunday Song” where someone comes on, does a bit of a monologue, and chooses a song. This week, with Eurovision happening tonight, she asked me, so this is what I wrote and chose, and which went to air this morning on Melbourne radio.
Hello my name is James O’Brien, in my day job is work for ABC Local Radio as a manager, specifically in the areas of digital radio and talent development. And this morning, it’s my pleasure to choose for you “Your Sunday Song”. You see, outside of work, I’m a Swedophile. I love Swedish culture, and especially Swedish pop music. Of course it all began with ABBA, but years later I’ve discovered a whole world of other great music from Sweden, all of which helps explain why Sweden’s now the number three pop nation in the world after England and America.
Earlier this morning, the Eurovision song contest was held in Europe, and Sweden was going into the contest as favourite. Right now I’m in a media blackout. I won’t turn on the radio or the tv, or go online, until tonight’s delayed broadcast. I’m hoping they’ve won, as it means Stockholm will host next year’s contest.
This week, I’ve also been working on a radio special which goes to air this afternoon from 3 o’clock on 774 abc Melbourne on digital radio and streaming online. The show’s host is Sue Clark who’s even more of a Eurovision tragic than I am, though her favourite country is Malta. I hope you’ll tune in to hear interviews from Rolf Harris, Bucks Fizz, Eve from the New Seekers, and Johnny Logan, the most successful Eurovision performer who comes originally from Frankston.
But behind the glitz and glamour, there’s a much bigger story of the oil-rich country of Azerbaijan, which is hosting this year’s contest. Azerbaijan is a former Soviet Republic which is now only just starting to “open up”. Nonetheless, there are many human rights issues, and it seems a lot of people may have stayed away from attending because of that.
In some ways, the story of eurovision is the story of modern day Europe, and that’s why the former eastern block countries do so well these days. Before the wall came down they had their own contest, separate from Eurovision. And instead of tele-voting, they used to flick the light switches on and off to monitor power use, and to find out who the winner was. It’s a great story.
But getting back to favourite songs from Eurovision, of course, I’ve had to choose Sweden and the singer Loreen. If she’s won it’ll be history making, as she’ll be the first woman of colour to win the contest in its 56-year history. Gosh I hope she’s won, but please don’t tell me until tonight.
My Sunday song though is sweden’s entry from two years ago. That year i travelled to Sweden for the finals and a great song was chosen. Unfortunately it sunk with out a trace at Euroision. But it’s still a great song, and I hope you like it…