Life, the universe and ... oh, whatever ...

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Writing competition

As some of you might remember, I sent a novel called ”The Battle” to a competition with the Norwegian Publisher Schibsted in April. I have now received a letter from them that says the following:

The final round of our competition is coming up!
We are very pleased with the response to our novel series competition, and the jury has read many manuscripts since the 12th of April. We are now close to making the decision, and we are happy to inform you that your novel is in the final round.
The winner will be announced during the month of July.
When the jury has made its’ decision the winner, and other participants in the competition that we want to keep working with, will immediately be contacted.

So, this is great news – and I’m eagerly waiting for July!

Monday, May 14, 2007

The results from the Eurovision Semi Final

For those of you (us) who are interested in these things, the results of the vote from the Eurovision semi final have been released here.

Total score for the different countries was:
  1. Serbia - 298
  2. Hungary - 224
  3. Turkey - 197
  4. Belarus - 176
  5. Latvia - 168
  6. Bulgaria - 146
  7. Slovenia - 140
  8. Georgia - 123
  9. FYR Macedonia - 97
  10. Moldova - 91
  11. Portugal - 88
  12. Andorra - 80
  13. Iceland - 77
  14. Poland - 75
  15. Cyprus - 65
  16. Croatia - 54
  17. Albania - 49
  18. Norway - 48
  19. Denmark - 45
  20. Switzerland - 40
  21. The Netherlands - 38
  22. Estonia - 33
  23. Montenegro - 33
  24. Israel - 17
  25. Malta - 15
  26. Belgium - 14
  27. Austria - 4
  28. Czech Republic - 1

Norway got points from the following countries:

  • Andorra - 3
  • Armenia - 3
  • Denmark - 7
  • Estonia - 4
  • Finland - 1
  • Hungary - 1
  • Iceland - 7
  • Malta - 2
  • Moldova - 1
  • Montenegro - 2
  • Poland - 2
  • Portugal - 2
  • Spain - 4
  • Sweden - 6
  • The Netherlands - 3

And Norway gave the following points in the Semi Final:

  • The Netherlands - 1
  • Andorra - 2
  • Belarus - 3
  • Denmark - 4
  • Slovenia - 5
  • Turkey - 6
  • Latvia - 7
  • Serbia - 8
  • Hungary - 10
  • Iceland - 12
And let's all hope that this is the final posting I'll be making on this blog about the Eurovison, this year...

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Eurovision Song Contest

The Eurovision Song Contest Final is over and done with, and there’s a year till the next time. Serbia won with a ballade that I’m sure is very nice, but when I woke up this morning I could not for the life of me remember how it goes. I am afraid that this one will end up like many of those other nice but a bit strange ballades; it’ll be forgotten in a couple of days. I don’t like it when kind of insignificant songs wins Eurovision. I really enjoyed it when Lordi won last year because there’s no chance that we’ll forget that song anytime soon.

I think it will be interesting to see what they will do to the Eurovision Song Contest concept in the year to come, if they choose to do anything at all, but I think they will have to. Now that neither Sweden nor Denmark made it into the top ten countries, they will have to qualify together will the other Nordic countries next year, and I predict that none of them then will make it to the final, this means that in a couple of year Eurovision Song Contest will have lost interest in the Nordic countries and they will stop watching it. It may seem like many of the other Western European Countries are facing that same fate, because there are so many Easter European Countries that can vote for each other.

I am not saying that the Eastern European songs are any worse than the Western European once, and even though there probably is some politics in the fact that countries tend to vote for their neighbours, I think that it’s more like that you’ll vote for music that comes from the same cultural background as yourself. I can see that many of the Eastern European songs this year were very good, but even though I quite enjoyed them, I still am more likely to really love one of the Western European once: they are more like the kind of music I usually listen too.

And that’s the problem: if only the Eastern European countries (and the four Western European that are buying their way to the final) are going to be in the final this won’t be a very interesting competition for most people in Western Europe; they will feel alienated from it all. It’s hard to grow any kind of enthusiasm for the Eurovision Song Contest year after year when you know you’ll never make it further than to the semi final anyway because there is an Eastern block that prefers their kind of music to ours, which is very natural.

How this can be solved? I have no idea. Someone has spoken about dividing it into two competitions, one for Eastern Europe and one for Western Europe. Others have spoken about dividing Europe into ten regions for the semi finals and then allow two countries from each region to the final. Others again have demanded the professional juries back. I am just happy that I don’t have to make any decisions about this; I just get to bitch about the things I don’t like about the concept!

But I must admit that one suggestion I heard kind of appeals to me as well: the Nordic countries should withdraw completely from Eurovision Song Contest and have their own Nordic Song Contest with two or three participants from each country. The reason why this idea appeals to me is because I know that this will be a competition with lots of the kind of music that I enjoy, and that is, at least partly what we want from Eurovision, isn’t it, music we feel familiar with and can enjoy? If it’s a good thing to withdraw from the bigger “unit” and form a smaller closed “unit” of our own, that is a completely different discussion that I’m not getting into now.

And oh, by the way, I didn’t use my phone to vote last night, but if I had, I wouldn’t have voted for Sweden, but I probably would’ve voted for Finland, which once again goes to prove: we vote for the music we know; that comes from the same cultural background as ourselves.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

A Legend of Truth

Once on a time, the ancient legends tell,
Truth, rising from the bottom of her well,
Looked on the world,, but, hearing how it lied,
Returned to her seclusion horrified.
There she abode, so conscious of her worth,
Not even Pilate’s Question called her forth,
Nor Galileo, kneeling to deny
The Laws that hold our Planet ‘neath the sky.
Meantime, her kindlier sister, whom men call
Fiction, did all her work and more than all,
With so much zeal, devotion, tact, and care,
That no one noticed Truth was otherwhere.

Then came a War when, bombed and gassed and mined,
Truth rose once more, perforce, to meet mankind,
And through the dust and glare and wreck of things,
Beheld a phantom on unbalanced wings,
Reeling and groping, dazed, dishevelled, dumb,
But semaphoring direr deeds to come.
Truth hailed and bade her stand; the quavering shade
Clung to her kneed and babbled, ‘Sister, aid!
I am – I was – thy Deputy, and men
Besought me for my useful tongue or pen
To gloss their gentle deeds, and I complied,
And they, and thy demands, were satisfied.
But this – ‘ she pointed o’er the blistered plain,
Where men as Gods and devils wrought amain –
‘This is beyond me! Take thy work again.’

Tables and pen transferred, she fled afar,
And Truth assumed the record of the War…
She saw, she heard, she read, she tried to tell
Facts beyond precedent and parallel –
Unfit to hint or breathe, much less to write,
But happening every minute, day and night.
She called for proof. It came. The dossiers grew,
She marked them, first, ‘Return. This can’t be true.’
Then, underneath the cold official word:
‘This is not really half of what occurred.’

She faced herself at last, the story runs,
And telegraphed her sister: ‘Come at once.
Fact out of hand. Unable overtake
Without your aid. Come back for Truth’s own sake!
Co-equal rank and powers if you agree.
They need us both, but you far more than me?

Rudyard Kipling (1865 – 1936)

Friday, May 11, 2007

Semi finals over

So, the Eurovision song contest semi final is over and Norway didn’t make it through. Am I disappointed? Oh, maybe a little, but not that much, because I never really truly believed in Norway’s chances anyway. I did vote for them tonight of course, because, well, it’s still Norway, but when the results were in, it didn’t make me very upset. I am sadder about the fact that neither Iceland, Andorra, Austria nor Switzerland made it true, even though especially with Switzerland I can certainly understand why!

I sat with my notebook and made a couple of comments on the performances tonight:

  • Bulgaria: Good live performance.
  • Israel: It’s a silly nonsense song like this one that’ll push one of the good songs out of the competition.
  • Cyprus: I’ll forget this one two seconds after it’s finished.
  • Belarus: Good song, good performance, and the guy is cute as hell! Yummy!!
  • Iceland: Solid performance by Eirikur.
    Georgia: Nope! Nice red dress though.
  • Montenegro: No way!
  • Switzerland: Surprisingly bad vocals by both singers, they both sound exhausted. DJ Bobo is kind of famous isn’t he, should’ve thought he would be better live.
  • Moldova: OH My God, what IS she wearing? Poor English accent and not very good vocals either.
  • The Netherlands: Nice song but not very significant though, is it?
  • Albania: Half a minute into this song I’m bored and it never gets better.
  • Denmark: Not one of the most beautiful drag artists I’ve seen. And huge trouble with the high notes, they really hurt my ears. Still, kind of catchy, but feels like I’ve heard it before.
  • Croatia: Old not very handsome guy with awful rock song. What are they trying to do with this? No, this is a good time to go top up my wine glass.
  • Poland: What? This is NOT a party I want to join.
  • Serbia: I like this girl, it’s refreshing to see women with clothes ON in this competition. Not bad song, great voice, but not really my cup of tea.
  • Czech Republic: Strange voice thing going on there. He probably saw Lordi last year and decided to start a band.
  • Portugal: Very similar to the Norwegian act, but surprisingly, considering Norway isn’t a Latino country, I’d say Norway do this better. This woman is certainly no dancer.
  • FYR Macedonia: Too short skirt on the woman, but I like the song. She shouldn’t have switched to English at the end though, awful accent and took away some of the mystic ambiance of the song.
  • Norway: Guri’s hair looks like she’s come straight out of bed. If you don’t have Shakira hair, don’t go for that look! Nice song, catchy, but is it enough to get us to the final?
  • Malta: HEY, sexy guy with violin! Woman’s got a nice voice but the song is a bit screamy.
  • Andorra: I love this!! Great song and the boys are SO cute! Good live performance as well!
  • Hungary: I really like her voice and quite enjoy the song too.
  • Estonia: Very tame opening, a bit struggling vocally and quite a boring song.
  • Belgium: Back to the 70s but I can’t ever remember anything as bad as this being played then. Hate it!
  • Slovenia: Can’t decide if I love or hate the dress. Don’t like the song though.
  • Turkey: Better than I remembered, catchy. A bit charming guy, great rhythms even though the vocals are not the best.
  • Austria: My favourite of all participants this year, until now! Bad live performance and dreadful costumes. Very disappointed.
  • Latvia: Hmmm… Il Divo copies. I haven’t cared much for this earlier, but now I’m not sure.

And the countries that made it through were:
Bulgaria, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Serbia, FYR Macedonia, Hungary, Slovenia, Turkey and Latvia.

Pretty much fair enough, I’m really happy that neither Israel nor Belgium made it through, then I would probably be more upset about Norway not making it through, or any of my other favourites.

For the final on Saturday, so far my favourites are: Greece, Spain, Sweden and Finland. But that might change after the live performances, as it most certainly did for me today.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Eurovision Semi Final

The ten countries I would’ve chosen to go through to the final on Saturday are:
(the list has my favourite on top and so on…)

FYR Macedonia

and either Denmark or The Netherlands, I can’t really make up my mind about which one I like the most of those two.

Unfortunately, I’m pretty sure that this list won’t be the result from the semi final.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

I blame Facebook

Sorry that this keeps being such a quiet place these days, but I must confess I have also been bitten by the Facebook-bug and find it a bit more interesting to spend time there than thinking up things to put into my blog.

There will be some new stuff here, eventually, I guess…

Oh, yeah, one of the “exciting” news I probably should mention is that I have gone and bought the rights to the web address:, I still have no idea how to use it and have no energy to find that out right now either, so for now there’s just adverts and so posted on it. But it is secured for me for the future so that when I eventually do find the energy to find out how to move my blog there, I’ll do it. Now at least no one else can start using it and when I become just dreadfully famous and important for all of my books, I’ll have to buy it at a very steep price…

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Excellent day

Today is, for those of you who haven't noticed, 1st of May, which is a holiday in Norway, but not in England, there are also no Labour Day parades here in England on this day, sooo, I spent this day in Bognor Regis - amongst other things taking a long walk on the beach promenade in the excellent summer weather we're having these days.

Am I cute or what??

Yes, I am very "obsessed" with the wild life around me these days, must be because I haven't got any pets here in England, and I miss that.

Spent some time in Hotham park, Bognor Regis today, feeding nuts to squirrels - there's a lot of entertainment in that.