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Sweden Calling

SVENSKA! Melodifestivalen 2007, SVT1, 20.00

Making Your Mind Up? Huh. How are you supposed to make your mind up with an hour-long show, never mind the fact that the Great British Viewing Public (ahem), long-renowned for its ability to choose the right winner with the assistance of The Sun, will choose Justin and Beverlei (sic, hopefully) so we may as well not bother with the show at all (not least because the BBC has downgraded the Kaplinsky to the Cotton this year). Poor Scooch.

The Swedes, however, with their collective respect for a half-century institution, have reached the climactic final of Melodifestivalen, their 4-week search for the song that will represent Sverige in the Contest. The Melodifestival is the biggest TV show in Sweden all year, and about half the country will be watching this evening. And it is an indisputable fact that Sweden produces the best pop music in the whole wide world.

TEN contestants have been through the rigourous filtering process over the past few weeks, and, bar a couple of shocking defeats (Nanne Grönvall on what was supposed to be her triumphant comeback and Magnus Carlsson of Alcazar), this contest is in a different league altogether compared to what the BBC can muster. And because it is so amazing, the event has its own mini-musical, happening in each episode, with actors telling a story through Melodifestival songs from the past. It is not apparent what the story is about, however.

lowculture has had its own observer in attendance in Stockholm this week (as if you couldn't guess who), who contacted me during the week to recommend Melodi 2, Sonja Aldén's För att du finns, Melodi 8 Sanna Nielsen's Vågar du, vågar jag, and Melodi 10 The Ark's glam-rock spectacular The Worrying Kind. Personnally, I recommend Melodi 6, Måns Zelmerlöw's Cara mia, not least because he is officially Sweden's Sexiest Man as voted for by people, and is indeed stunningly beautiful. Not that that has anything to do with his abilities to sing a Eurovision song. Or anything. Links to the above are below.

For those of you unable to receive Swedish Television, try turning your aerial eastwards. If you are in London, you could have gone to The Harcourt Arms in Marylebone. However, the pub will be at capacity, and they won't let you in without a ticket: “As we did last year we will sell tickets for each event and that is only for us to control the amount of people in the pub due to safety.” Happily, SVT, the Swedish BBC, or maybe ITV, recognises how internationally-amazing this event is, and will be streaming the event live: www.svt.se.

Sonja Aldén För att du finns
Sanna Nielsen Vågar du, vågar jag
The Ark The Worrying Kind
Måns Zelmerlöw Cara mia

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According to Marxist theory, cultural forms such as opera, classical music and the literary works of Shakespeare all fall under the heading of high culture. Low culture refers to a wide variety of cultural themes that are characterised by their consumption by the masses. We might not be Marxists, but we do know we loved Footballers Wives. If you do too, you'll know what this is all about.

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