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Never while the sunlight brightens, never while the moonlight glimmers
On Goatsday in Barktober
When Finland wins the Eurovision

-Prehistoric, archaic and modern Finnish expressions for 'never'

For someone living in Finland, this has been a surreal event. The climate, though not extreme by any means, breeds a certain melancholy; the winter is too damn cold, too damn dark and too damn long for cheerfulness. The country plays the victim in the stage of world history. Appropriately, the people have developed a national inferiority complex (just like Canada).

As everyone knows, Finns tend to be overly concerned with their international image. Any interview with a foreign celebrity is all but guaranteed to have a question about hänen Finnishy impressions. There's a strong urge to gain fame and recognition, to "put Finland on the world map" - regardless of how many times it has been done already. It follows that contests and competitions, even the distilled kitsch of Eurovision, are taken a bit... seriously. The victory anthem of Finland's ice hockey world cup win in 1995 is still very widely known. As for Eurovision, we've sucked, even placing dead last on five occasions. "Finland, zero points" was a true nationwide trauma. And now this.

In the old world, Lordi was yet another vaguely famous hard rock band and known for never appearing without their ridiculous masks. As the country geared up for yet another humiliating defeat in a tasteless contest because, perkele, we're doing it and that's reason enough, the band got into the national preliminaries. Pandemonium! The tabloids screamed bloody murder, people were Outraged, and naturally protest voters and rock fans dogpiled on the rockers - they beat the usual collection of meaningless sappiness by a wide margin. Screams of "Is this the image we want to give of our country?!" lasted for weeks.

The semifinals came, and Lordi's "Hard Rock Hallelujah" took the tacky assortment of love ballads and the viewers/voters expecting the latter by storm. Suddenly, a ray of hope! The backpedalling of the press was almost audible, and viewership of the finals - which began at 10 PM and took hours - peaked at nearly 30% of the population of 5'200'000. Against a better tacky assortment of love ballads Lordi gave the world a garish light show, pyrotechnics and smoke from every conceiveable source and singer who looked like an Uruk-Hai, like Hazelnut states, a huge decomposing one with extending pneumatic wings, a microphone in a battleax and a Finland flag hat. I can feel my heart breaking... The saints are crippled on the sinners' night... Every song is a cry for love... they stood out like another Earth in the sky wearing a bikini. The crowd went wild, Finnish commentators were reduced to tears, and since the voting was on a viewer basis of course they won.

The wretched northern regions exploded. Newfound fans streaked for the heck of it*, the President (known to be a levelheaded woman) sent the band a personal congratulation, random people in stores talked of nothing else the following day, a flying pig almost caused a collision at the Helsinki-Vantaa International Airport. The tabloids found their headlines for several days, and a rumor magazine published a picture of the singer, unmasked... when the dust from that had settled they'd had to make a televised apology. The karaoke world record was broken. There now are Lordi masks for children, Lordi embroidery (luckily not a lot of that), a Lordi Square in Rovaniemi, and the Speaker of the House has just announced the minting of a commemorative coin.

So remember, and remember well: Finns are creepy.
And watch the 2007 Eurovision, since if this happens again you'll get to witness the making of new emperors.

At night they will think they have seen the sun,
when they see the half pig man:
Noise, screams, battles seen fought in the skies.
The brute beasts will be heard to speak."

-Nostradamus, 1655

Wikipedia - the Finnish one, this time.
Roman Schatz, From Finland With Love - he knows us better than we know ourselves, the foreigner bastard.
Pelit - the pig joke. I'm not funny.
Turun Sanomat
Ancestral memory

*: There weren't really that many of us, but eh.
**: Until the name "Maudling" is almost totally obscured.