• Sweden's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Melodifestivalen review: Time to hit the bar

The Local · 24 Feb 2014, 08:03

Published: 24 Feb 2014 08:03 GMT+01:00

“ETT! ETT!” screams someone in the crowd, with a distinctly un-Swedish voice. Before the pub erupts into massive cheers as Alcazar goes ‘direkt till finalen’.

At a loss as how to make this year’s Melodifestivalen in any way less of an ordeal, I’ve come to the Harcourt Arms pub in London’s Marylebone district. Long known as ‘the Swedish pub’, it’s located across the road from the Swedish Church and around the corner from the Swedish embassy. And for six weeks every winter, the Harcourt Arms turns a little pinker from 7-8.30pm when the TV screens are tuned to SVT1. It’s a bit like going to a sports bar to watch ice hockey. Except the hairstyles are a lot better, if the aggression is about the same.

The Melodifestivalen crowd in the pub these days is predominantly British - for some reason, the exuberant, Eurovision-loving gays of London reacting boisterously to glitter och glamor appears to have driven away most of the Swedish clientele for these Saturday nights. This does have one particular benefit this year, though. When the majority of your fellow viewers don’t speak Swedish, they tend not to listen to anything the presenters have to say, preferring to talk loudly to their friends. So I have no idea what happened in any of the ‘comedy’ sketches! Bonus.

The Harcourt punters tuned in to the action in Örnsköldsvik want schlager, and they certainly do not want rock. And they get it, for once, as the music continues to compensate for everything else in this year’s poor show (in my opinion, of course). Veterans Alcazar and Linda Bengtzing unsurprisingly receive the loudest cheers, followed by relative newcomers Anton Ewald and Janet Leon. Her latter’s eight-place showing does not go down well in the bar - with reactions of dismay when Ammotrack goes through to andra chansen. But this is a crowd that is more than prepared for a schlagerfiasko, so when Linda Bengtzing exits the competition, it’s with a half-expected sigh. What would have happened if Alcazar had been fifth is another matter entirely, though.

As soon as the credits roll, the sound is immediately cut off and Melodifestivalen hits of years gone by play out until closing time. It makes it all a lot better, too.

David Jørgensen is a writer and editor who loves schlager and lives in London. Follow him on Twitter here

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Ikea threatens to shelve Russia growth plans
Everything Moscow. Photo: Maxim Murmur/AP

Will the Swedish furniture goliath retract its rubles?

Swedish police brace for 'unpredictable' pope
Sweden's Queen Silvia and Princess Madeleine meeting Pope Francis in the Vatican last year. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Nobody knows quite what to expect when Pope Francis visits secular Sweden this autumn.

Could this Swedish finding help cure alcoholism?
What causes alcohol dependency? Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Scientists hope their findings will end the stigmatization of alcoholism.

Man jailed for six years for asylum home arson
The district court in Västmanland. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT

A court in western Sweden has sentenced a 28-year-old asylum seeker to six years in jail for starting a fire at the asylum centre where he lived.

Volvo on hunt for 400 new engineers in Sweden
Want to help build one of these? Photo: Björn Larsson Rosvall/TT

Want to work in Sweden?

Swedish hearts fail on Mondays and at Christmas
Tell me why I don't like Mondays. Photo: Marcus Lindblad/SvD/TT

July is Sweden's most heart-warming month.

Woman told she's not Swedish enough for a job
A sun bather wears a Swedish flag hat to celebrate National Day. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Sweden's discrimination watchdog is on the case.

Really hungry elk wreak havoc in Swedish forests
Om-nom-nom. Photo: AP Photo/Becky Bohrer

"It's an emergency situation."

Swedish hotels cash in on business travellers
Visitors are flocking to Malmö. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Business travellers have been flocking to city hotels in Malmö, Gothenburg and Stockholm this summer.

Opinion
'More men must stand up against abuse in Sweden'
Equality Minister Åsa Regnér. Photo: Bertil Ericson/TT

Sweden's equality minister Åsa Regnér on why the government is introducing a new strategy on male violence against women.

Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
National
How good is Sweden for expat life?
Sponsored Article
Why you should learn to trade (and just how easy it is)
Gallery
Property of the week: Landskrona, Skåne
Gallery
People-watching: August 26th-28th
Blog updates

23 August

A Summer in Sweden (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"For our first year here in Sweden we decided to have all our holidays in Sweden.…" READ »

 

22 July

After the horror, carry on regardless (Globally Local) »

"This time last week, we were just digesting the horror of the Nice killings, in which…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
Travel
What are Sherpas doing on Sweden's highest mountain?
Sponsored Article
Malmö to host global skateboard championship
Gallery
People-watching: August 24th
The Local Voices
'I want to be a businesswoman but I don’t care about money'
National
Experts: Gothenburg grenade blast is 'part of a cycle of violence'
Sponsored Article
6 simple travel hacks that will make your life easier
Gallery
Property of the week: Karlsborg
Sponsored Article
Five easy ways to travel more often
National
Why Sweden could change its criticised detention laws
National
Watch this dog's reaction when she tries Swedish fermented herring
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Gallery
People-watching: August 19th-21st
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
National
How to find student housing in Sweden
National
VIDEO: Swede films first Northern Lights of the season
Sponsored Article
The mystique of Asia - in the middle of Stockholm
Gallery
People-watching: August 17th
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Society
Swedish population nears ten million
Sponsored Article
Jordan Pass: your ticket to the experience of a lifetime
The Local Voices
This Syrian artist found love in a Swedish library
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
National
Sex pigs halt traffic after laser attack on Pokémon teens. Only in Sweden.
Sponsored Article
6 simple travel hacks that will make your life easier
Gallery
Property of the week: Hammarby Sjöstad, Stockholm
Society
Drunk knight detained in Stockholm
National
Can you solve this Swede's strange Star Wars mystery?
Gallery
People-watching: August 12th-14th
National
Swedes cheer first snow of the season
Gallery
People-watching: August 10th
The Local Voices
Gabriel mastered Swedish and got accepted onto a medicine degree in just 7 months
3,396
jobs available