Melodifestivalen 2006

It’s Monday night and I’m at home watching my favourite “geeky” television show, Call For Help which screens on the “How To Channel”. Fifteen minutes into the program and they’ve yet to tell me anything interesting, but it’s generally speaking a very interesting program. Aside from watching television, the last week or so has been a combination of good fun (lots of socalising) with lots of work though not much in the way of “culture” as is my usual want.

Damo and I went to dinner on Thursday at Pello, a terrific restaurant on Stanley Street, East Sydney. I’ve been there twice, and Damien has been there once before, and we’re both agreed it’s a great place for dinner. Although the entrees are, perhaps, a little overpriced, the mains are well-priced, though at a premium restaurant level. For the entree, I had a delicious blue cheese dish, which unlike most of the blue cheese I’ve had before, was smooth and sublime. It was accompanied by figs, pork belly and white asparagus. On their own each had strong flavours; combined they were a delight. For entree, Damien had the chicken, squab & foie gras galantine, peach & salty pistachio praline, which was excellent. For the main course, I had the Kingfish, which cooked perfectly, maintained its flavour, but wasn’t overpowering. For mains, Damien had the the crisp tallabung (it’s near Gunnedah) pork belly, prawn colcannon, apple puree & cumin essence, which was also excellent. The service is also excellent and I’d highly recommend it for a special night out, without being over the top.

On Friday, we had “farewell drinks” for Kirsty from work who is going off to a new job, though hopefully not forever. Afterwards, I caught up with Paul and Graeme for a drink or twelve. Paul left for the UK on Saturday, so it was a fitting farewell that we should have damaged our livers in such a manner. Now that he’s gone, I’m going on a detox diet! No seriously, it was great having him here, as discussed previously on this blog, and I look forward to his return.

Actually, speaking of Paul, I blame him and Patrick for my current interest/obsession in Melodifestivalen. What? Melodifestivalen is the series of country-wide heats held to determine who should represent Sweden at the Eurovision Song Contest. Last year when Patrick came to visit he brought his Melodifestivalen DVD with him containing ALL of the heats from last year’s contest and I became instantly hooked. So far there’s nothing quite as camp as last year’s “Drag Showdown” which included the oddest looking “Agnetha” I’ve ever seen in an ABBA tribute group. Go on, take a closeup look, you know you want to.

Anna Sahlene
Anna Sahlene

Unfortunately my favourite song so far, “This Woman” by Anna Sahlene has failed to make the Swedish final. The song starts off sounding like Donna Summer’s “On The Radio” before making its way into Cher “Strong Enough” territory. Although there’s a couple of good tunes, some of the other songs are just too appalling for words. If you’re a fan of bad pop, I’d draw your attention to “Oh Yeah” by Elephantz or “Kameleont” by the Electric Banana Band. And then there’s “Mi Amore” by Velvet which is a total Britney Spears ripoff (although contextually this is probably fine, since all of Britney’s songs were recorded in Stockholm with a Swedish writer and producer). If you want to listen to some of these songs or view the videos, there’s a terrific little website which I’d recommend.

One of the interesting aspects about Eurovision this year will be whether or not Magnus Carlsson makes it through with “Lev Livet”. Although I can well imagine enjoying this song on the dance floor, in my view it’s too cheesy for even Eurovision. But what would be interesting is that Magnus’ former bandmate in Alcazar, Andreas Lundstedt is in a band called Six4One, representing Switzerland. Alcazar broke up in a nasty fashion a few months ago with an acrimonious fallout. Magnus is a Linda Eastman, Yoko Ono kind of character, brought in to join the already successful Alcazar when he and Andreas began a relationship. But according to a report in Swedish newspaper, Expressen Magnus was interviewed by Expressen few days back, where he claimed that he had a field day playing around with the press in order to gain publicity. He said that he faked his relationship with Andreas Lundstedt just to gain publicity. Andreas Lundstedt, who was also a member of Alcazar, has told Expressen that he’s shocked by the comments made by Magnus. Andreas has told the tabloid newspaper that he used to love Magnus at one time, and he doesn’t understand why he’s made these comments. You can read more about this juicy tabloid story in English.

All of this, of course, and more, will be discussed at length at my annual Eurovision Party. The 2006 contest will take place in Athens on 18th and 20th May, with the usual Sunday night screening on SBS. Last year’s party was a hoot and I’m sure this year’s will be just as much fun. If you haven’t already, please mark it in your diary, and if you’d like an invitation to this exclusive event, drop me an email.

Anyway, nothing else to report. Working from home tomorrow, yes really I will be working, as I have a couple of major things to write and I need a quiet space away from the dailies and then catching up with fellow bloggers, Glen & Mark tomorrow night. Anyone else feel like a bevvy?