Death by music – Swedish style


This Saturday it starts – death by music.

Every Saturday for the next 6 weeks Swedish television is broadcasting the Swedish ‘Melodifestival’ – in which citizens choose the winning song to represent the country at the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC). Every Saturday for 90 minutes we listen to 8 songs, eventually narrowed down to a winner in the grande finale. Already, newspapers are abuzz with this event. And this year, even more so, since Sweden won the competition last year and is also hosting the ESC this year. The Melodifestival and the ESC are big news in Sweden. Probably due to the legacy of ABBA, the ESC is seen as a springboard to a fruitful and prosperous artistic career. The gateway to fame and fortune. This is quite unlike many other countries in Europe, not least the UK, where participation in the ESC is seen as a the final nail in the coffin of a dying career.

A couple of days ago, the celebrity host of ESC was announced – a controversial stand-up comedienne called Petra Mede. The nation was divided (at least those who cared). Newspapers wondered why a couple wasn’t chosen – why a woman was chosen to lead the event on her own! How would she manage without a man! What’s more, she’s pregnant! How is she going to be able to focus on the job when she has a new born baby at home?! Organisors of ESC responded to these comments quickly and categorically. Petra Mede is a very competent host, her baby will be looked after by its father and the reason we are not having a couple is to keep costs down. This is also the reason that the event will be held in a smaller concert venue than could have been possible. The organisors referred to the extreme cost of the latest final in Baku, and the fact that Portugal and Greece will not be participating this year due to financial constraints. Sweden should lead they way, they said, and take the whole competition down to a more affordable level so as not to exclude less wealthy countries.

Now, excuse me, but how is 4 televised Melodifestival competition heats in different Swedish towns, a fifth televised opportunity to qualify, a final televised Melodifestival competition in Stockholm, two televised ESC semi finals and one huge broadcasted ESC final in Malmö keeping the costs down???

Like I said, death by music.

Strange Swedish words

Swedish words

It has been said that the Swedish language is a poor language, especially when compared to English. However, in an informal survey on Facebook, I asked people for their favourite word that existed in Swedish but not in English, and I got very many fun suggestions. Here come a few of the highlights:

Sladdbarn – a child to the same parents many years after the birth of their brothers and sisters – usually as a surprise – but proof that the sexual activity of Swedes does not stop at 40
Fredagsmys – a cosy time on Fridays when Swedish families get together and eat pizza or tacos and watch the TV – and usually fall asleep
Lagom – a concept that filters through Swedish socíety and behaviour – roughly translated as ‘average, moderate, just enough, not too much’. Others translate it as ‘mediocre’
Lurifax – a sly trickster that you can’t trust (yes, they do exist even in Sweden)
Sol och vårare – a person who pretends the future is bright but actually is a confidence trixter who will then trick a person out of, for example, their kronor
Fika – the cultural process of having a coffee and cake with friends at work, at home or out on the town. One of many Swede’s favourite pass times
Möbeltass – a cotton padding that you put under the legs of furniture to stop them from damaging the floor. Directly translated as ‘furniture paw’. A necessity in the country of wooden floors and IKEA.
Julgransplundring – the event at which you dance around a whithered Christmas tree, undecorate it and then throw it out. Often aimlessly onto the street where it stays until mid March.
Jajamensan – a very jolly way of agreeing emphatically
Orka – a word commonly used by Swedish teenagers to mean that they do not have the energy to do anything, such as getout of bed, or clean up after themselves
Curlingföräldrar – a name to describe parents of the above teenagers who put no demands on them and do everything to make their lives easy

Any other words that you can suggest?