Last week we got in a discussion at work over coffee about the latest pop stars visiting Finland. I learned how out of touch I am. For example, I had never heard of The Rasmus, a Finnish band which has taken America by storm.
But as I prepare to leave Finland for good, it has made me review in my brain how much I do know about Finnish pop culture. Here’s a brainstorm list:
Lordi — a crazy band that looks like a group of Klingons. They won the Eurovision song contest a few years ago. Even my colleagues in the Middle East knew about them.
Leningrad Cowboys — another offbeat group, old hat now. They also became famous touring America while making a movie. They notably sang with the Russian Red Army Choir. I was reminded of them when my wife brought home a thick full color library book about them recently.
Kimi Räikkönen — Formula One driver. I wandered into the local sports pub on a Sunday a couple of years ago to watch American football and there was a huge crown watching this fellow win the championship.
Matti Nykänen — World-class ski jumper from the 1980s. He hasn’t aged well. I don’t follow him closely, but he sounds like a jerk: married several times, a drunken sot, maybe the Finnish O.J. Simpson except without the felonies. He probably has his own reality TV show.
Karita Mattila — well-known opera singer. I don’t follow opera, but her face seems to appear on the grocery store tabloids a lot.
I am sure the list above reveals my ignorance. A big reason for my lack of knowledge is the lack of language skills. I never developed my Finnish enough here. I am better at it than when I arrived, but not becoming somewhat fluent is one of my regrets.