March 12, 2008

Eurovision And Politics In The Caucasus

Armenia_Eurovision.jpgFrom the vantage point of a couch in Australia, the Eurovision Song Contest (religiously broadcast every year by SBS) is an opportunity to revel in the seemingly insatiable European appetite for cheesy kitsch-pop. In the Caucasus, however, there is a far more serious side to the event.

For the republics of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, it’s a chance to advertise their desire to join the European mainstream, but in a region embroiled in long-standing dormant conflicts, it can also be a lightning rod for local enmities. This year, for instance, when Armenia announced its entry, which was to be performed by local starlet Andre Sirusho (pictured), Azerbaijan was enraged by the fact that Sirusho hails from the disputed territory of Nagorno Karabakh and was singing a “stolen” Azerbaijani folk song that they had planned to enter themselves. Since then, it seems that the Armenians have opted for a different song, but it’s unlikely that this will be the end of the issue…

Whatever the outcome, you can look to Global Voices Online for any developments that might emerge. They also have links to all three Caucasian entrants for 2008.

Posted by Warren at 01:01 AM

May 17, 2004

Thhh-ehhh Fiiii-nnnalll E-e-e-pppiiiisoooode offf Ffff-rrieeeee-nnnndsssss

There is an excellent (if somewhat depressing) site called Exit Mundi, which catalogues the many ways in which “life as we know it” may come to an end. In addition to the usual nightmare scenarios of extinction by asteroids, climate change and killer robots, it contemplates the ultimate end-game for our species – the heat death of the universe

In one hundred trillion years time, when the stars are cold, dead embers and every last joule of energy in the universe is all but spent, our few surviving descendants will be forced to discard their bodies and become low-power-mode cyborgs. To converse energy, they will spend most of their time asleep. When they do wake, it will be into a slow-witted semi-conscious state where all new or original thought must be avoided (thinking new thoughts means discarding old ones which dissipates valuable energy.)

So what will they do for entertainment in this energy-depleted world of the far, distant future?... Well, might I suggest this – the soundtrack of the one-hour long final episode of Friends time-stretched to fill an entire three-hour radio show by WFMU DJ, Kenny G… (This strangely-compelling dirge - which has ensured that the much-loved sitcom will live on till the very end of time - begins about four minutes into the broadcast…) (via Sharpeworld)

Posted by Warren at 11:13 AM