• Sweden edition
 
Schlager brings a smile to Stockholm's Europride

Schlager brings a smile to Stockholm's Europride

Published: 01 Aug 2008 19:05 GMT+02:00
Updated: 01 Aug 2008 19:05 GMT+02:00

You would need a heart of stone not to smile at the sight of tens of thousands of gay men screaming at middle-aged ladies singing Eurovision ditties, says James Savage.

Anyone who has spent the last week in Stockholm would have a tough time escaping Europride. The two-week gay party has led to a whole television channel turning itself over to repeats of Queer as Folk, to public buses flying rainbow flags and to endless articles in the media on gay rights. For the moment, you can be gay and almost feel like you're in the majority.

One other thing that's inescapable during Pride week is schlager.These days, it might be hard to discern a single Eurovision genre, but in Pride Park on Thursday they were keeping the myth alive. If it had been in the Eurovision Song Contest (or a Swedish heat), it was in.

What makes this such a winning concept at Pride is that a large core of Swedish gay men have a knowledge of Eurovision history that can best be compared with many straight men's knowledge of football. When the delightful Mark Levengood announced that the next act had come second in the 1991 Eurovision Song Contest, the whole audience seemed to shreik in recognition (for anyone not up to speed on Eurovision history, it was French singer Amina).

One consequence of this crazy level of adoration was that the singers repaid it, without exception, with gutsy performances. A sixty-something duo singing a catchy (if dated) ditty called 'C'est la Vie' proved that gay men and middle aged women often have peculiarly similar taste in music.

Charlotte Perrelli, the singer who took Sweden to an ignominious eighteenth place in Eurovision, found an audience quite ready to let bygones be bygones. They lapped up her 'Hero', but reserved their strongest applause for 'Take me to your Heaven,' which won her Eurovision in 1999.

When Perrelli repeatedly told them 'Ni är helt fantastiska' ('You're completely wonderful'), she must have known she was addressing an audience who will still be cheering her on thirty years from now. Likewise, a succession of one-hit wonders and middle-aged schlager singers can still come to Stockholm Pride to don their spandex and feel the love.

The Big Foreign Act of the night was the exception that proved the rule. Dana International, the Israeli transsexual singer who won the contest in 1998, sent the audience delirious with her hit Diva. But even Dana couldn't steal the show from Sweden's own Lena Philipsson, who reminded everyone why she's a first-class entertainer. The combination of a solid voice, great legs and a willingness to act smutty for her audience meant that there was only one name the audience was chanting when it was time for an encore.

Gay Pride may ostensibly be about politics - and if you happen to be gay or transsexual and living in Uganda, for instance, the struggle is far from won. But don't for a minute be fooled that half a million people took part in last year's Stockholm Pride to be lectured to about human rights or to express a sense of victimhood. They were there to party, and in the case of Thursday night's festivities, to indulge their love of schlager. And it would be hard to find a more good-natured, exuberant, carefree and downright fun night out anywhere in Sweden.

Happy Pride!

James Savage (james.savage@thelocal.se)

Don't miss...X
Left Right
Today's headlines
Sweden scraps 'new start zones' after EU input
Integration Minister Erik Ullenhag visits a school in Tensta, one of the neighbourhoods mentioned when he and his colleagues first floated the new start zone proposal. File: TT

Sweden scraps 'new start zones' after EU input

Sweden has abandoned a plan to ease taxes for small companies in blighted areas after the European Commission challenged its legality. READ () »

'Easter eggs an invitation to spread germs'
A typical Swedish Easter egg. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

'Easter eggs an invitation to spread germs'

A Swedish microbiologist has warned that traditional Swedish Easter eggs laden with candy are an open invitation to the spread of bacteria and viruses. "Is this really a good idea?" he asked. READ () »

Jammed truck snarls Stockholm rush hour
Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

Jammed truck snarls Stockholm rush hour

PICTURES: A truck got wedged inside a tunnel in central Stockholm on Thursday, with authorities concerned the accident may have damaged cables in the tunnel's ceiling. READ () »

Kids in Victorian garb mark Swedish Easter
A Swedish Easter witch holding daffodils. File photo: TT

Kids in Victorian garb mark Swedish Easter

In India, I'd notice Easter only from the traffic jam outside the churches, but here witches, egg hunts, and feathers mark the Christian holiday. The Local's Deepti Vashisht brings you the various shades of Swedish Easter. READ () »

Swedish MP ordered chemtrail probe
Chemtrails?: Shutterstock.

Swedish MP ordered chemtrail probe

A Swedish MP who launched an official government investigation into the existence of chemtrails tells The Local why he thinks Swedes deserve the truth, even if it may leave some conspiracy theorists unsatisfied. READ () »

PM pleads ignorance of Vattenfall's Nuon bid
Fredrik Reinfeldt answers the constitutional affairs committee's questions. Photo: TT

PM pleads ignorance of Vattenfall's Nuon bid

Sweden's prime minister on Thursday said Vattenfall itself, not its owners the Swedish state, had responsibility for the loss-making Nuon deal. READ () »

'Kockums submarine raid may be illegal': lawyer
Photo: TT

'Kockums submarine raid may be illegal': lawyer

A Swedish lawyer says the Swedish military may have broken the law when it raided the Malmö premises of German defence giant Thyssen Krupp. READ () »

Good weather could blight Easter traffic
Easter traffic two years ago on the E4 motorway. File: Jessica Gow/TT

Good weather could blight Easter traffic

Traffic experts have cautioned Swedes heading to the countryside for what should be a sunny Easter, warning that the most serious accidents often take place when the weather is clement. READ () »

Saab offers Gripen lease to Malaysia
Jas Gripen jets in flight. File photo: TT

Saab offers Gripen lease to Malaysia

Swedish defence giant Saab has offered to rent out fighter jets to Malaysia. READ () »

What's On in Sweden

What's On in Sweden

Check out what's happening with The Local's guide to the main attractions and events in Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö - in association with DoToday. READ () »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Society
Swedish supermarket Ica pulls contested Easter commercial off air
Kungahuset
Society
Swedish royals set baptism date for princess
finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 16
Politics
Who's the prime minister's heir?
Alfie Atkins
Society
Are children's books the key to families integrating in Sweden?
National
'Sweden Dem protests cater to party's martyr image'
National
'Swedish research grants were fantastic, but now it's like Australia'
Society
Only in Sweden: The ten problems you'd never encounter elsewhere
National
Swedes stopped to take my picture, but didn't look me in the eyes
Business & Money
A swipe of the hand replaced cash and cards in Lund
YouTube
Features
Video: Oliver Gee finds out how to embrace The Swedish Hug
TT
National
Abba duo hints at reunion
Advertisement:
Private
National
Flash mobs hug it out across Sweden
Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 11-13
TT
Politics
Swedes to give six-hour workday a go
TT
Society
Aussie choir member wows Abba in Sweden
YouTube
Society
Stockholm magic a surprise YouTube hit
Fastighetsbyrån
Society
Gallery: The Local's Property of the Week
Private
Society
Swedes find 200-year-old gravestone in living room
Stockholm School of Economics
Sponsored Article
Why a bachelor's degree is no longer enough
Deepti Vashisht
Features
Deepti Vashisht dissects the magic of Sweden's personal ID number
Shutterstock
Society
Ten signs you've been in Sweden too long
Society
Jimi Fritze heard every word when doctors discussed taking his organs
Society
A Swedish farmer explains why the new bestiality ban is 'pointless'
ESL
Sponsored Article
Learning Swedish the easy way
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 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

Blog Update: The Diplomatic Dispatch

28 October 15:16

The Green Growth Group Summit »

"Today on the 28 October in Brussels, a large group of key EU Ministers and business people, including UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Edward Davey, and Swedish Environment Minister Lena Ek, will meet to discuss green growth. They all have a stake in resolving a challenge which, although it is crucial..." READ »

760
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