Skansen singalong slated

Aftonbladet this week reported rapidly escalating plans for next year's Eurovision song contest and Melodifestivalen, the Swedish lead-up to the main event.

Summer 2005 will mark the 50th anniversary of the Eurovision song contest and the arrangements around the festival will be bigger than ever. Swedish Television is already planning extra programming, including a look back at highlights of Melodifestivalen, and EMA Telstar can be expected to continue their “Melodifestivalen on tour” series next summer throughout Sweden with some surprises. Fans are advised to book their trips to Kiev soon.

Also in music news, the excitement around “Allsång på Skansen” doesn’t seem to end, and Dagens Nyheter explored the tensions surrounding the singalong show.

Swedish Television has been charged with attempting to “sex up” the show with pop stars, to the chagrin of the show’s original leader Bosse “the pop hysteria must stop” Larsson. And “Fame Factory” king Bert Karlsson says that “the program is on its way to complete catastrophe”.

The problem, as DN’s commentator sees it, is that “The Swedish community singing culture is fighting bravely with global karaoke culture. ‘Allsång på Skansen’ in its old form is really a remnant of a monoculture which no longer exists. Today everyone sings in surround sound, at the same time.”

We can assume that he means that, what with immigrants and the internet and all that, Swedes can now manage more than just folk and pop classics.

Meanwhile, star director Jonas Åkerlund managed to insult the entire Swedish film industry in one fell swoop. In an interview with P1 Swedish Radio, he pointed out that “Swedish film is shit”.

The director apparently would like to make a film in his home country, but feels as though he is “entirely outside of the Swedish film industry” and will find next to no backing. Åkerlund said that he’ll jump on the Swedish bandwagon as soon as the Swedes stop “trying to make shit American films or trying to find a new Bergman…so we don’t need to say that that film was good because it was Swedish, though it wouldn’t even qualify as bad TV abroad”.

And he wonders why he has trouble getting his films financed in Sweden?

Finally, in religious news, a new calendar book of the saints is out – but the nation’s worshippers may be in for a surprise when they flip it open in January.

Photographer Elisabeth Ohlson Wallin and priest Lars Gårdfeldt have collaborated on the book of images and texts. The life of Christ is delineated in all the detail that we’ve become accustomed to in religious art, but with homosexuals and transsexuals in the roles.

The review in Sydsvenskan found one major problem with the book – it was influenced too much by religion and religious traditions, and wasn’t “new” enough. You know: same old stories, told in the same old way.

“H.O.M.O.- en helgonkalender” by Elisabeth Ohlson Wallin and Lars Gårdfeldt is published by Ordfront.

Along with music videos for Madonna, Moby and U2, Jonas Åkerlund made the film “Spun.”