Songs About Home Towns, “Húsavík” and The Wacky World Of Eurovision

Many of the songs I share around here come from film and television, as borne out by the sheer number of posts in each of those categories on my sidebar. It was obvious early on in the evolution of this blog, that unless I was revisiting songs from my chart-loving/album buying years of the 1970s and ’80s, much of the music I have warmed to over the decades has come from watching something on the big, or small, screen.

I recently wrote about the Eurovision Song Contest, which like everything else this year didn’t happen, but for us fans of such fluff and nonsense there has been a bit of a reprieve in the form of the new Will Ferrell film Eurovision Song Contest: The Story Of Fire Saga. It went straight to Netflix so despite there being no cinemas yet open around here we have been able to watch it twice. There have been a few scathing reviews and on the whole it was not a winner with the critics, but hey, what do they know? During these dark times it has offered up a couple of hours of pure escapism and as an oficiando of all things Eurovision, and someone who in the past memorised vast amounts of info on the runners and riders, there were some great cameos and in-jokes which will have been lost on our friends across the pond.

Even if you’re not a fan of Eurovision, or a fan of comedic musicals, the scenery alone makes it a worthwhile watch. Our wannabe contest winners, Fire Saga, have become the unlikely representatives for little Iceland and their home town Húsavík is featured heavily in the film – I’m guessing that once we’re able to travel more freely again, it will be heavily inundated by tourists. (Whether they are wanted is another matter, and a standing joke throughout the film, but I’ll leave that for you to discover should you watch it for yourselves.)

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Húsavík in Iceland

One of the showstopping songs from the film is also called Húsavík, written as a love letter to their home town, and performed by Fire Saga member Sigrit Ericksdóttir (expertly played by Rachel McAdams). It has formed a bit of an earworm for me this week, partly because it’s a great song, and partly because it’s so relevant to what’s happening in our neighbourhood.

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that we had DD back living with us in the Highlands as the current crisis made her realise more than ever that big city life is not for her. But also, one by one, our neighbours’ adult children have similarly returned to their respective nests as this lockdown period has not been kind to the young in terms of job losses, accommodation unsuitable for home-working, and sadly, relationship breakdown. It seems when the chips are down, like Lars and Sigrit from Iceland, your home town is often just where you want to be, and despite all the turmoil of the last few months I haven’t seen DD so happy in years. We don’t have whales up here (as they do in Húsavík), but we do have the Moray Firth Dolphins, and she has loved her long walks along the coast with old friends since returning to her home town.

Where the mountains sing through the screams of seagulls
Where the whales can live ’cause they’re gentle people (or dolphins?)
In my hometown, my hometown

Thought I made it clear, do I have to say it?
It was always there, we just didn’t see it
All I need is you and me and my home

Húsavík by Molly Sandén:

But this of course is a song from a film and it’s not always the case that the actor playing the role of the singer, does the actual singing. It has been a long-standing tradition in the making of movies and I remember well that scene in Singin’ In The Rain when poor old Lina Lamont was humiliated when the curtains went back to reveal a young Debbie Reynolds/Kathy Seldon at the microphone. In the Eurovision film it is Swedish singer Molly (My Marianne) Sandén who takes the honours so credit where credit’s due, although it seems they did mix her voice with that of Rachel McAdams to a certain extent, which seems to have worked well. Turns out Molly represented Sweden in the Junior Eurovision Song Contest in 2006, so quite apt really.

mollysandenuf
Molly Sandén

So, “What’s It All About?” – Sometimes you’re just in the mood for watching a feel-good comedy and the film written about in this post ticked all the boxes for me. A couple of years ago a film called The Greatest Showman was similarly panned by the critics, but unless you lived under a rock in 2018, you will know it spawned a best-selling album and kept returning to the top spot time and time again in terms of box-office takings. The showstopping song in that film, Never Enough, was very similar in style to the one featured above, and although I thought at the time it was sung by actress Rebecca Ferguson, who played Swedish Nightingale Jenny Lind, it was American singer Loren Allred who took the honours that time. Two films, one where a Swede sings for an American and one where an American sings for a Swede!

Never Enough by Loren Allred:

As for our adult children returning to their home town, like many others have found during this crisis, priorities can change. We do have short memories however and as we are seeing an opening up of much of our economy, people seem anxious to get back out there, doing what they used to do. Cross fingers it doesn’t result in the dreaded second wave we keep hearing about. The 21st century phenomenon FOMO (fear of missing out) has been thankfully absent from our lives of late, but as things start to get back to normal it will no doubt return with a vengeance as get-togethers are shared on social media. Let’s hope we have learnt something from this downtime and that the “old normal” does not return in full any time soon.

Until next time….

Húsavík Lyrics
(Song by Fat Max Gsus/Rickard Göransson/Kotecha)

All by myself
With this great big world before me
But it’s all for someone else
I’ve tried and tried again
To let you know just where my heart is
To tell the truth and not pretend

All I needed was to get away
Just to realize that I was meant to stay

Where the mountains sing through the screams of seagulls
Where the whales can live ’cause they’re gentle people
In my hometown, my hometown
Thought I made it clear, do I have to say it?
It was always there, we just didn’t see it
All I need is you and me and my home

Vera með þér, með þér
Í Húsavík við Skjálfanda
Í heimabærinn minn

You want the world (Want the world)
All the neon lights and billboards
To be seen and to be heard (Heard)
And I followed you (Oh-ooh)
But now I know what makes me happy
And I can tell you feel it too

Where the mountains sing through the screams of seagulls
Where the whales can live ’cause they’re gentle people
In my hometown, my hometown
Where the northern lights burst out in colors
And the magic nights surpass all others
Það eina sem ég þrái er, að vera

Author: Alyson

Whenever I hear an old song on the radio, I am immediately transported back to those days - I know I'm not alone here and want to record those memories for myself and for the people in them. 50 years ago the song "Alfie" was written by my favourite songwriting team Bacharach and David - The opening line to that song was "What's it all about?" and I'm hoping that by writing this blog, I might find the answer to that question.

11 thoughts on “Songs About Home Towns, “Húsavík” and The Wacky World Of Eurovision”

    1. You too then. I have a list of everything we’ve watched since lockdown began and it’s quite extensive, I have to say. We also watched Afterlife, Ozark and Unorthodox. Very different from each other but all excellent. Am amused to hear that Americans enjoy Afterlife so much – Such very quirky British characters in that one.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi – Yes great fun, and a big surprise that you’ve dropped by to agree, but much appreciated. As for Ja Ja Ding Dong, a fine example of “schlager”, the most emabarrassing musical genre apparently which is why it always got the eye-rolls from Lars and Sigrit when they were asked to sing it. As the songs in this post were quite serious, I think I should add Ja Ja Ding Dong to this comments box just to add balance – Interesting innuendo-laden lyrics!

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  1. Just watched that trailer – it looks great, almost like a Eurovisionised version of Spinal Tap?! We don’t have Netflix, but perhaps it will be available elsewhere at some point and I can treat myself to some time in the company of Fire Saga… I’d enjoy it for the scenery too – Iceland always looks fantastic in photos and film, doesn’t it? Have never been there but a good friend did and loved it.
    I was also reminded of that Father Ted Episode, ‘A Song For Europe’!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes very much in the Spinal Tap vein. We thought it was really funny and recognised all the people who had cameos. Iceland looks amazing and like you we have had friends visit but not been ourselves. Here’s a thing – The contest they took part in was held in Edinburgh so there were great scenes around the streets of the Old Town. Cross fingers that will be our destination at some point.

      Yes the premise was very similar to the Father Ted episode. Everyone wants their country to do well but no-one wants to win as it would bankrupt their country to have to host the following year.

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    2. Oh, and one more clip. I think it’s been shared around the other blogs before, but had there actually been a Eurovision Song Contest this year, there was a good chance that Iceland would have won with this catchy number. I look at the film and just think of DD and her gaggle of 6th Form friends (they were an eclectic bunch) so quite apt for this post.

      As someone said on the radio this morning, Eurovision has been talked about more this year than would have normally been the case and all because of this lot and the fictional Fire Saga, both from little Iceland.

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    1. I’m so pleased Mark Kermode liked it too. As he says, it was made with affection for Eurovision, and it shows. He is right though, Dan (Downton Abbey) Stevens stole the show in every scene he appeared him. The Lion of Love!

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  2. “You won’t be watching that Eurovision film,” Louise said. “It’s got Will Ferrell in it.”

    She knows me too well in this regard, I’m afraid. Otherwise, I might have given it a go.

    I’m glad DD found a silver lining to the current cloud.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As I know you’re not a fan of Eurovision, and now it turns out you’re not a fan of Will Ferrell either, it’s probably not one for you. For fans like myself however it was a real pick-me-up during this agonisingly long period of lockdown/easing out of lockdown. I am really missing the cinema as I used to go pretty much every week.

      Yes, a major step forward in that DD now knows she never wants to live in a big city again. Turns out she’s a small-town/country girl at heart.

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