• Sweden edition
 
Witnessing Eurovision nightmares in a Gothenburg downpour

Witnessing Eurovision nightmares in a Gothenburg downpour

Published: 28 Apr 2008 10:38 GMT+02:00
Updated: 28 Apr 2008 10:38 GMT+02:00

We walked deeper into town, past basement Goth rock stores, tattoo parlours and skateboard shops, even popping in to Gothenburg’s porn megastore. But a selection of luminous pink dildos, butt plugs shaped like dummies, nurse uniforms, black whips and the curiously named DVD ‘Weird Gay Cocks’, failed to put a smile back on his face. Edging closer to the trendy Kungsportsavenyen, a clustered strip of bright lights, pubs and clubs, known among the city’s night crawlers as ‘The Avenue’, we tried to drown Rhys’ sorrows. Drawn into a darkened bar by the excited screams of young blonde fillies and tanned well chiselled guys watching a giant TV screen, we wondered what was causing all the commotion.

Never in my wildest nightmares could I have guessed the Eurovision Song Contest, but the packed drink clutching congregation were loving every minute of it. Back at home, nobody would be watching this in a pub. It was a competition we didn’t take seriously. Partly because we were hated by the rest of Europe and the other nations relished the annual opportunity to gang together and spank our latest entry from a musical factory conveyor belt of mediocre cringeworthy losers. I think it used to be called Stock, Aitken and Waterman. Anyone who watches the Eurovision Song Contest in England does so behind locked doors and for two reasons only; to hear Terry Wogan take the piss out of the countries who hate us and witness which stone deaf realm gives us more than Nil Pwa on the final leader board. There was fervent solidarity from the drinking Swedes, as neighbouring Finland were the hosts, following the terrifying victory of their head banging heavy metal trolls in the previous competition. This contest offered the usual selection of Ricky Martin wannabes, Goths dressed like undertakers, pink wearing Frenchmen, Romanian gypsies and a blue-eyed German Frank Sinatra. And let’s not forget the hysterical interludes giving an insight into the host nation, which this time peaked with a load of muddy old men playing football in a bog and having their nude behinds whacked by a thorny branch, before diving through an ice hole.

A huge shout and raised glasses greeted Sweden’s entry, a poor Marc Bolan rip-off, including the panda eye make-up. After watching our lukewarm welcomed flag bearers, Scooch, a rabble of cheesy orangefaced dance retards dressed up as air cabin crew struggling to reach half mast, we retreated to the toilets in embarrassment. Serbia’s female Joe Pasquale look-a-like Marija Serifovic took first place, narrowly edging past a Ukrainian transvestite wearing an umbrella on his head. We came second from bottom, thanks to a vote of full marks from Malta, where Scooch can now be found on tour.

Eurovision had done little to lift Rhys’ sullen, drunken mood, and he sloped back off to the hostel, leaving me to investigate ‘The Avenue’ on my own. I had to get used to it I suppose. Loud music pumped out of bars and queues of short skirted sexy young things, covered in war paint, queued for numerous clubs. A girl I chatted to in the Eurovision bar (who went to great pains to make me aware Gothenburgers couldn’t stand the snobs of Stockholm) had vouched for The Lounge. The bouncer didn’t want to let me in at first, telling me my trainers, light weight trousers and fleece weren’t casual enough to gain entry. After threatening to return in pants, socks and a vest he changed his mind.

The Lounge was nothing like a traditional English disco, full of drunken idiots jumping up and down to ‘Baggy Trousers’ by Madness and couples necking over their glasses. It was all far more civilised. Soft trance music floated through the dimly lit air, allowing Swedish clubbers to squat on black square poofs around low tables chatting away over

drinks. A giant plasma screen filled one white wall, projecting close-ups of beautiful women mouthing muted words. A steep staircase climbed up to a brightly lit smokers’ penthouse, with wall grills filtering the cigarette fumes outside, beating the ban on lighting up in public places across Sweden. The heavens had broken with a vengeance outside, transforming the streets of Gothenburg into a running river, drench fed by gutters filled to bursting point and overflowing drains. I staggered into bed quietly at

1.30am, trying not to disturb Rhys or the geriatric road champs, soaked to the skin by rain and beer.

'Cycling Back to Happiness' (ISBN 9781906206710) is published by Pen Press on April 28th, 2008, and is available to buy and order in all book stores across Europe. For the rest of the world visit amazon.co.uk or contact info@penpress.co.uk.

Bernie Friend (news@thelocal.se)

Don't miss...X
Left Right
Today's headlines
Swedish expert slams Norway terror alert
Terrorism expert Ranstorp and a policeman in Norway. Photos: TT

Swedish expert slams Norway terror alert

A Swedish terrorism expert has come forward criticizing the way Norway has handled its recent terror threat, saying the day the threat began was a "total problem in intelligence". READ  

Swedish nurse reported for patient 'death wave'

Swedish nurse reported for patient 'death wave'

A nurse in southern Sweden has been reported for abuse at a senior care centre after she allegedly waved to a colleague with the hand of a recently-dead resident. READ  

Pandas Plopp and Polly born in Swedish zoo
Plopp and Polly, the offspring of Pandora the panda. Photo: Kolmården

Pandas Plopp and Polly born in Swedish zoo

A pair of red panda cubs have been born in central Sweden, a wildlife park announced on Monday. READ  

Green Party ranked 'most gay friendly' in Sweden

Green Party ranked 'most gay friendly' in Sweden

The Green Party's views are 88.6 percent "LGBT-friendly", a Swedish LGBT rights group claimed on Monday, making the Greens the most gay-friendly of all Sweden's parliamentary parties. READ  

Man held on suspicion of murdering wife
Police on the scene. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Man held on suspicion of murdering wife

Updated: Police arrested a man in Copenhagen on the suspicion of killing his wife, whose body was found at the couple's home in southern Sweden during the weekend. READ  

Arlanda, Stockholm
Lightning bolt grounds flight to New York

Lightning bolt grounds flight to New York

Swedes bound for New York learned on Monday morning that their plane had been cancelled after it was hit by lightning during Sunday's thunderstorm. READ  

Elderly Swedish man stripped of his 35 cats

Elderly Swedish man stripped of his 35 cats

The County Administrative Board of Skåne has decided to confiscate the 35 cats of an 81-year-old man who was forbidden from having more than nine of the furry felines. READ  

Wild weather set to strike Sweden anew
Photo: TT

Wild weather set to strike Sweden anew

With Sunday's thunderstorm reported as the worst of the year so far, Sweden is bracing for round two on Monday as meteorologists predict more of the same. READ  

Swedish youth suicides hit 25-year high

Swedish youth suicides hit 25-year high

Last year 1,600 people in Sweden took their own lives - and for Swedes aged 15 to 24, the numbers haven't been so high since 1989. READ  

Floods replace Swedish heatwave
The Viking Lines ferry pictured was ripped away from the dock as a result of the storm. Per Gustavsson / TT

Floods replace Swedish heatwave

The Swedish summer was washed away on Sunday as thunderstorms caused chaos in Stockholm, including torrents of water flooding down stairways at metro stations. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
People-watching, June 26th - 28th. Get inside Stockholm's hottest nightclubs
Gallery
Top ten Swedish taboos
Society
Seven-year-old Swede cycles to Berlin
Politics
'Gaza conflict needs help, not empty rhetoric'
Society
Swedes voted 'most beautiful' in the Nordics
Blog updates

27 July

Approaching Stockholm (Around Sweden in a kayak) »

"I woke up in the comfort of my own little cabin on Eva and Rolf’s boat, it was 7:30am and I was feeling a bit groggy after a couple of beers with all the lovely locals the night before. The previous day had really taken its toll on my body and I was very stiff and..." READ »

 

24 July

Sharing our Pride: Celebrating Love & the LGBT Community! (Stockholm in my American Heart) »

"It’s mid- July in Stockholm, and with much of the city on vacation, things can seem a little quiet – the streets, the bus, and the grocery store. One thing that has not paused for a summer break, though, is preparation for Stockholm’s Pride Festival, which will take place from July 28 to August 2...." READ »

 
 
 
Business & Money
Sweden demands EU clarity on Bitcoin tax
National
Swedish organic sales enjoy 'amazing' growth
Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT
Society
What's On in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching July 23
National
Swedish cops elect not to shoot 'angry elks'
Business & Money
New alcohol retail rules threaten micro-breweries
Gallery
People-watching Båstad
Business & Money
Sweden falls to third in global innovation index
Society
Swedish ornithologists keep webcam watch
Photo: Andreas Nordström/Image Bank Sweden
Gallery
Top ten Swedish beach hot spots
Tech
Swedish Wiki vet sets new content record
Photo: Fastighetsbyrån
Lifestyle
In Pictures: The Local's Property of the Week
Photo: Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching July 15-16
Photo: Ola Ericson/Image Bank Sweden
Society
What's On in Sweden
Photo: Lisa Mikulski
National
Hope springs eternal for expat pet shop owner
Gallery
Princess Estelle steals limelight at mum's birthday
National
Swedes risk infants' lives by covering up prams
National
Swede runs for office just using Bitcoin funds
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Your finances in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Housing in Stockholm
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

730
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se