A trip to Stockholm : Day 4

On the final day, I woke up quite early to have this view by the window.

20131105_092215

 

A quad in the centre of Stockholm with a window like roof for some offices that were underground. I thought this looked cool.

Also there was an old style lift in the building, apparently of a kind you can sit in…

20131105_102144

For our last morning in the Swedish capital, we thought a visit to Ikea would be unavoidable especially considering that Stockholm obviously holds the world’s biggest store…

20131105_112519

20131105_112807 20131105_114015 20131105_114050 20131105_115918 20131105_121630 20131105_121649 20131105_122407

After this nice domestic like trip where I found out that I could actually understand really well when real people were really speaking to me in Swedish, we took the free Ikea bus, to go back to the centre of Stockholm. Yeah Ikea bus, it’s free and it’s really good when the Ikea is quite a few miles away from the city centre, like pretty much all the commercial zones in the world….

Our final stop was quick but not unpleasant. It took us the southern quarter of the city ; Södermalm, leaving thus no main part of Stockholm unvisited by the end of our trip. There, we went to the Söderhallarna  (the southern halls), a bit like a shopping centre with a very pleasant inside market.

20131105_131301 20131105_131307 20131105_131311

And although I didn’t take pictures of it because I was too busy buying half of the stuff in it, we also stopped at The English Shop, which I wish existed in France too.

We headed to the city’s coach station afterwards, to get our Flygbuss back to Skavsta Airport. Finally, we enjoyed a wonderful sunset coming like a delightful present to end this stay in the best of ways.

 

 

Advertisements

Germany and the Eurovision – Part 1: Rough Start

by Joshua Reduch

The Eurovision Song Contest (or Grand Prix, as most Germans still call it) has had its high ups and deep lows among the german viewers in its almost 60 years old history.

In my next four articles I want to give you a closer look at the sometimes very difficult relationship between Germany and the Eurovision we all love.

Today, I will focus on the first 24 contests from 1956 to 1979:

After the Second World War, the destroyed Germany recovered itself with a successfull industry. The so called ”Wirtschaftswunder” (Economy miracle) has managed to make people more confident and happy after years full of war. But also the television broadcasters put up amazing shows to entertain. One of these was the ”Grand Prix Eurovision de la Chanson Europénne 1956” or for the ones who are not fluent in French: the first Eurovision Song Contest in 1956, held in the beautiful city of Lugano, Switzerland.

freddyquinn101_v-contentgross

Freddy Quinn

The never seen before concept of countries sending their most talented singers who perform a song and hope to get the maximum amout of points from the juries was not an instant success.

At this time, Television was still something for upper class families and devices costed up to thousands of German Marks. A lot of money in these times.

The first german participants were Freddy Quinn and Walter A. Schwarz. While the latter did not become a star afterwards, Freddy Quinn managed to become one of the biggest singers of the 50’s and 60’s in Germany.

Germany did good in the further contests, but after none of the entries has become a big hit, that makes the Eurovision known among the german population.

That changed in 1962 when Conny Froboess sang her song „Zwei kleine Italiener“ in Luxemburg. The song about two hard-working Italian workers who miss the bright sun in their home country was an instant classic and the first ESC Song to achieve the No.1 spot on the german charts, although it only placed 6th.

So, after a No. 1 hit, Germany should have got some better placings in Eurovision? Well, unfortuneately they did not. In 1964 and 1965 Heidi Brühl and Ulla Wiesner even placed last with ”zero points”. After these failures, german Broadcaster ARD and its flagship Das Erste decided to change their selcetion procedure and selceted their acts internally. This didn’t make things better with the exception of 1968 when the beautiful norwegian Wencke Myhre placed 6th.

katjaebstein123_v-gallery

Katja Ebstein

But finally in 1970, a red-haired hippy girl entered the stage and sang ”Wunder gibt es immer wieder“ (Miracles keep on happening again and again). I’m talking about the wonderfull Katja Ebstein. She was the first act for Germany who placed in the Top 3, which wasn’t really hard that year, because only twelve countries competed. After the 1970 contest, she released English, Spanish, Italian and even Japanese versions of ”Wunder gibt es immer wieder”.

The broadcaster was so satisfied about her performance that they asked her to do it again in 1971. In a national final she sang six songs and again she placed third at Eurovision with ”Diese Welt” (This World). Just a few years later, she achived her biggest result in Eurovision, but I will talk about that in the next article.

Most Germans thought that the streak of great placings has now come to an end, but fortuneately they were wrong. 23 year old singer Mary Roos placed third again for the third time for Germany with her power ballad ”Nur die Liebe lässt uns leben” (Only love let us live). She also returned several years later and is known as the Grand Lady of Schlager. In 2013, she was the head of the jury in „Unser Song für Malmö“ and even announced the votes:  

Then things got a little worse again: Gitte only placed 8th, although she was a hot favorite to win, Cindy & Bert (Germany’s biggest Schlager duo ever!) placed last in 1974.

The german public was confused. Why is Germany bad at Eurovision? Germany, the country with the biggest populaton of the participating countries and the third most important music industry in the world (After US and UK). Even the Beatles started their career in Hamburg and released songs in German in their early years. What does it take to win?

And in 1976 they thought they found the answer: Les Humphries Singers! With hits like ”Mexico” and ”Mama Loo” they even performed in the USA. The thing is that this was already some years before their Eurovision performance. At the end, they placed 15th.

In a documentury about the band, german member Jürgen Drews (who is one of the biggest Party-Schlager singers in Germany and especially in Mallorca) said: ”It was a bad song. We should have done it a few years earlier. The magic was already gone.”

For the 1976 Contest ARD did something very controversial and I’m not talking about selecting internally. No, they sent a song in English! Ok, more countries did that while the language rule did not exist. English is indeed widespread in german choices today, but in 1976 this was a brave move. Silver Convention did a nice job in London and placed a respectable 8th place.

To end today’s article I will tell you something about Germany’s most loved Eurovision entry (which did not win): ”Dschinghis Khan” by the band of the same name. From the very first time the song was performed in the national final, people danced and sang along. Although it only placed fourth in Jerusalem, the song is played at every party and I have even heard it at the Public Viewing for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in my hometown.

So, Germany had a rough start in the first contests, but still they placed in the Top 3 a few times. It’s nice to see that ARD did not lose its interest in the Contest even after some painful failures.

Next time, I will focus on the Contest for 1980-1999 with Germany’s first win and the big chances after the Fall of the Berlin Wall which even affected Eurovision.

What is your favorite entry from 1956 to 1979? Let us know in the comments below!

Moelleux aux pommes

Moelleux aux pommes

Pour 6 à 8 personnes :

Préparation : 20 min, Cuisson : 45 min10313851_10152447611723258_6232875836054399139_n

  • 6 pommes à cuire
  • 250 g de beurre
  • 4 œufs
  • 250 g de sucre en poudre
  • 1 pincée de sel
  • 20 cl de crème liquide
  • 200 g de farine
  • 1 sachet de levure chimique

1 | Préchauffez le four à 200 °C (th. 7).

2 | Beurrez un moule à manqué de 28 cm de diamètre.

3 | Pelez les pommes et coupez-les en quartiers, en éliminant les parties dures et les pépins. Recoupez les quartiers en 4 dans le sens de la largeur.

4 | Faites fondre 50 g de beurre dans une sauteuse et faites-y revenir les pommes de tous côtés. Lorsqu’elles sont souples, saupoudrez-les de 50 g de sucre et faites-les dorer sans caraméliser. Versez-les dans le moule en prenant soin de les répartir régulièrement.

5 | Faites fondre le reste de beurre au micro-ondes ou au bain-marie.

6 | Dans un saladier, battez les œufs entiers avec le sucre restant, jusqu’à ce que la mixture soit mousseuse. Continuez à fouetter en incorporant le beurre fondu mélangé à la crème.

7 | Une fois la farine, le sel et la levure mêlés, ajoutez-les à la préparation en poursuivant le brassage au fouet.

8 | Lorsque la pâte est lisse et homogène, versez-la sur les pommes. Enfournez à mi-hauteur et faites cuire 45 min.

9 | Au sortir du four, laissez tiédir, puis démoulez sur une grille. Attendez que le moelleux soit complètement froid avant de le déguster.

Pommes renversées :

Pour servir, retournez le gâteau sur le plat de service : les pommes caramélisées se retrouvent ainsi sur le dessus.

Merci Rustica !

Looking back…(Semi Final 2)

by Joshua Reduch

We continue our look-back to Copenhagen with the predictions of the 2nd Semifinal:

New_Picture_31_ (1)

As you can already see, we didn’t had the same favorites as in the 1st Semi. Malta is the perfect example for this with Frederic awarding 9pts and me only giving a single point to Firelight and „Coming Home“ (It’s just not my type of music, sorry. But I love the island!)

Overall our Top 3 were Ireland with 17.5, Norway with 16.5 and Romania with 15.5 points. A interesting top 3 when you see it now.

The songs from Greece, Poland and Georgia formed our bottom 3 with 8, 7.5 and only 4 points respectively.

To our defense, I must say that our results now would be quite different, because some of the lower placed countries had great performances (f.e Austria, Switzerland and Poland) and therefore would got some more points from us.

We predicted 7 out of 10 qualifiers correct. Those countries were Malta, Norway, Austria, Finland, Belarus, Greece and Romania.

Unfortunately, we said that FYR Macedonia, Ireland and Israel would advance to the final, while Poland, Switzerland and Slovenia will find themselves in the land of tears.

In the end, 16 of 20 qualifers were correctly guessed by us, which is in my view a pretty fine result.

What do you think about our predictions? Let us know in the comments below!

Looking back…(Semi Final 1)

by Joshua Reduch

Now that the Eurovision season is over until Autumn, it’s time to see how good our Predictions were.

Before the shows started, Frederic and I guessed the qualifiers for the 1st Semifinal.

Let’s take a look:

New_Picture_76_

Our Favorites in Semi 1 with 18 points each were: Sweden, Hungary and The Netherlands.

The Songs we liked the least were the ones from Moldova, Russia and Albania with 8.5, 8 and 6.5 Points each.

It’s interesting to see that we both predicted the songs from Armenia, Sweden, Russia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Belgium, The Netherlands, Montenegro and Hungary. And with the exception of Belgium, they all went through !

We also thought that Estonia would qualify, which surprisingly did not happen. Also the pleasant qualifications of San Marino and Iceland were not on our list.

Overall you can say that 8/10 is a good result! We did a good job, didn’t we?