Work begins on Helsinki postcards

by Richard West-Soley 100 views

With ten months to go, work has already commenced on the postcards for the 2007 Eurovision Song Contest, to be held in Helsinki next May.

Kjell Ekholm, a member of the EBU reference group and the chief of Finnish broadcaster YLE's Swedish section, hinted at what fans can expect from next year's between-song fillers. The postcards will highlight the humourous side of Finnish life, and according to Ekholm, " they are going to feature some quirkiness. We are trying to strike a balance between Wife carrying contests, Swamp soccer, sauna endurance competitions and everything else. The theme could be the four seasons".

It is easy to take the postcards for granted each year, though they perform the important function of buffering the entries while stage props and performers are moved on and off the stage. First used in their modern form in the 1970s, their format has changed from year to year, sometimes featuring the performers themselves, or often, simply footage of the host country. In 1996, the Norwegian postcards included a good luck message from a dignitary of the country about to take to the stage, while in 1998, the flag of each participant was found in a scene from UK life. Eagerly anticipated, and often rousing mixed opinions, the postcards are now an indispensable part of the Eurovision Song Contest.

Summer festival scene
Film teams are already reportedly travelling Finland, gathering footage for next year's postcard offerings. The 'swamp soccer' referred to by Ekholm is an annual Summer festival held in Hyrynsalmi, and typical of the quirky Summer events that take place all over the country every year. It seems that the Finnish organisers are keen to promote this lighter side of their country when all eyes turn to Helsinki next May.

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Richard West-Soley

Senior Editor

Richard's ESC history began way back in 1992, when he discovered the contest could fuel his passion for music and languages. Since then, it's been there at every corner for him in some way or another. He joined the team back in 2006, and quickly developed a love for writing about the contest. In his other life, he heads the development team at the learning resources company Linguascope, and writes about all aspects of language learning on the site