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      ‘We are not the arena to solve a Middle East conflict’: Sweden braced for a politically charged Eurovision

      news.movim.eu / TheGuardian · Sunday, 7 April - 06:00

    Israel’s inclusion in the lineup while war rages in Gaza may lead to the most controversial contest ever

    Behind pink metal barriers at Malmö’s Folkets park, with signs of spring emerging from the flower beds, pictures of Abba’s Agnetha and Anni-Frid watch over proceedings as the area is transformed into “Eurovision village”. Somewhat fortuitously, after Loreen’s win in Liverpool last year , the southern Swedish city is preparing to host the contest in the 50th anniversary year of Abba’s breakthrough 1974 Eurovision-winning performance in Brighton of Waterloo.

    When proceedings for “Eurovision week” kick off on 4 May before the grand final at the Malmö Arena seven days later, Sweden will be hoping to present a vision of peace and joy to a bitterly fractured world from its third largest and fastest growing city.

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      Abba, cabaret and smug marionettes: the 1974 Eurovision song contest reviewed!

      news.movim.eu / TheGuardian · Friday, 5 April - 13:00 · 1 minute

    Fifty years since Abba won with Waterloo, fans are paying tribute to a pop classic. Its status is a far cry from its origins in a celebration of weedy pop and dodgy lyrics – and, whisper it, ‘nul points’ from Britain

    Fifty years on, the footage of Abba performing Waterloo at the 1974 Eurovision song contest is very familiar indeed: the conductor dressed as Napoleon, Agnetha’s blue satin knickerbockers, Björn’s star-shaped guitar. It’s been endlessly repeated on TV shows and documentaries: the moment that unexpectedly launched the career of one of the biggest bands of all time, pop history in the making. But it’s rarely, if ever, shown in context. Perhaps Abba’s success is so sui generis – Sweden had never produced an internationally successful pop artist before, and it’s never produced one anything like as successful since – that context seems besides the point. But this weekend, BBC Four is screening the entire 1974 grand final in full.

    Immediately, the setting plunges you back into what feels like a very distant past indeed. Here is Eurovision from a time before anyone watched it for camp value – you can’t imagine any gay bar in 1974 clearing its schedules to screen this; a Eurovision that takes itself rather seriously, a brief appearance by the Wombles notwithstanding. It’s Eurovision that predates even Terry Wogan’s presence: in 1974, his famously sardonic remarks were still confined to radio coverage of the event. Viewers had to make do with sports commentator David Vine , ever-ready with a useful pen-portrait of the competing nations – “Norway! The place where they drink aquavit and do marvellous ski-jumping!” – and blessed with the ability to talk up the various artists in a way that makes you lose the will to live before they’ve even taken the stage: “Made his debut in his parents’ circus … used to do impressions of Maurice Chevalier,” he offers of Monaco’s Romuald.

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      Electric Fields on their unlikely journey to Eurovision: ‘I’m ready to prove a point’

      news.movim.eu / TheGuardian · Wednesday, 3 April - 14:00

    The pop duo will be breaking new ground in Malmö, Sweden when they represent Australia on 7 May

    Zaachariaha Fielding got his first taste of the joy of performing as a young boy growing up in remote South Australia.

    “There was a place called Paraulpi about 10km from [our town of] Milili – the song grounds for all the children and the grandparents to do traditional Aboriginal dances,” he tells Guardian Australia. “I loved the performance element of it all – how the audience reacted, what the singers did, the design on the bodies – the whole production of delivering a show.”

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      Eurovision: Olly Alexander and other competitors reject calls to boycott over Israel participation

      news.movim.eu / TheGuardian · Friday, 29 March - 13:36

    The former Years and Years singer and star of It’s a Sin signed a joint response affirming a stance against ‘all forms of hate, including antisemitism and Islamophobia’

    Britain’s Eurovision competitor Olly Alexander and several other entrants have rejected calls to boycott this year’s Eurovision song contest owing to its inclusion of Israel among the competitors, stating their belief in “the unifying power of music, enabling people to transcend differences and foster meaningful conversations and connections”.

    Maxine Peake and the author Sarah Schulman were among a list of more than 450 queer artists, individuals and organisations who signed an open letter as Queers for Palestine calling on Alexander – the former Years and Years singer and star of Channel 4’s It’s a Sin – to pull out of the contest in solidarity with Palestine.

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      Queer artists call on Olly Alexander to boycott Eurovision over Israel participation

      news.movim.eu / TheGuardian · Thursday, 28 March - 18:32

    Maxine Peake and Sarah Schulman among signatories of open letter asking singer to withdraw from contest

    More than 450 queer artists, individuals and organisations have called on the UK’s Eurovision contestant, Olly Alexander, to boycott this year’s competition in solidarity with Palestine.

    The actor, Maxine Peake, and Sarah Schulman, the novelist and playwright, are among the signatories of the open letter calling on the singer to withdraw from the contest in May due to the ongoing conflict in Gaza.

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      Three decades after Priscilla, drag blooms in Alice Springs

      news.movim.eu / TheGuardian · Friday, 15 March - 14:00

    Drag and cabaret performers from near and far travel to Australia’s red centre to celebrate a special anniversary of The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert

    Miss Ellaneous wept as the plane descended over the red centre and into Alice Springs. The Iwaidja and Malak Malak drag queen had just rewatched The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, and it felt like life was about to imitate art.

    The following night under desert stars, she took to the stage at Lasseters casino, where the closing scenes of Priscilla were shot. In a spangled onesie, with a cheeky smile, she performed Abba’s Mamma Mia alongside fellow queen Marzi Panne.

    Sign up for the fun stuff with our rundown of must-reads, pop culture and tips for the weekend, every Saturday morning

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      Eurovision mirrors how countries see one another. That’s why I can’t watch Israel take part | Jeff Ingold

      news.movim.eu / TheGuardian · Monday, 11 March - 07:00

    No amount of mental gymnastics can justify allowing its inclusion while a humanitarian catastrophe goes on in Gaza

    When I first moved to England for university, I took a course on the European Union. I remember my professor’s opening gambit was telling us that if we wanted to know how different countries felt about each other, we had to watch Eurovision. So like any good student, I sat down for my first Eurovision song contest in May 2016. Just a month before the UK voted to leave the EU, I watched as Joe and Jake placed a humiliating 24th out of 26 entries. Safe to say, I learned my lesson that evening.

    After that, Eurovision became a sacred viewing tradition among me and my friends – one that I must now give up. Instead of watching Eurovision this year, I will be joining the boycott of the song contest.

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      Israel to compete at Eurovision song contest after changing lyrics to its entry

      news.movim.eu / TheGuardian · Thursday, 7 March - 21:43

    Song amended after organisers banned entry for seeming references to 7 October attacks, which broke rules on political neutrality

    Israel will be allowed to compete at the Eurovision song contest after changing the lyrics to its song, organisers have confirmed.

    Eden Golan, representing Israel at this year’s competition, originally submitted a ballad called October Rain, widely thought to reference the Hamas attacks of 7 October. However, the entry was barred on the grounds of breaking rules on political neutrality.

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      ‘We are buzzed with euphoria’: Electric Fields to represent Australia at Eurovision

      news.movim.eu / TheGuardian · Tuesday, 5 March - 18:00

    The South Australian duo, who came close to competing in 2019, will be taking their new track One Milkali (One Blood) to Sweden

    South Australia’s ethereal dance pop duo Electric Fields will represent Australia at Eurovision in May, after missing out on the honour in 2019.

    The duo is led by vocalist Zaachariaha Fielding, who grew up in the Aṉangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) lands in South Australia, and often blends English with the Yankunytjatjara language in his lyrics. He’s joined by producer Michael Ross on keyboards.

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