Episode 8: Icelandic BDSM vs the Israeli Government

In 2018 Israel won the Eurovision Song Contest with Toy by Netta, which meant that Eurovision 2019 was held in Tel Aviv. This sparked controversy, with campaigners demanding a boycott of the contest due to Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians.

Icelandic “anticapitalist BDSM techno performance art” band Hatari initially supported the boycott calls. Then they changed their minds, entering and winning Iceland’s Eurovision selection with antifascism anthem Hatrið Mun Sigra (Hate Will Prevail).

They scored Iceland’s best result in 10 years. Along the way they issued a bizarre wrestling challenge to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and sparked uproar by holding up Palestine flags at the grand final.

On their return from Israel, it transpired that while there they’d secretly recorded a music video Klefi/Samed, featuring Palestinian singer-songwriter Bashar Murad, and filmed Together, a documentary about Israeli peace activists.

In this episode I’m joined by Drífa Þöll Arnardóttir. We discuss the rise of what must be one of the most unlikely acts ever to appear on the Eurovision stage. Along the way, we ask what the role is of artists in relation to countries that abuse human rights. Is it to boycott them, as the Boycott Divestment Sanctions movement has demanded of Israel? Or is it to reach out, and collaborate with fellow artists and campaigners?

Listen on Audioboom.

Also available on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Radio.com, Tunein, CastBox, RadioPublic and Deezer.

For copyright reasons we were unable to play the songs discussed in the podcast. However if you want to hear them, just click on the links above.

Episode 7: Eurovision – It’s All Just Political

From 2014 to 2019 the Eurovision Song Contest became an inadvertent proxy for the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Tensions over the Russian annexation of Crimea and the civil war in Donbass played out both on and offstage.

In this episode I’m joined by Russian Eurovision fan Kamilla Safiyllina (find her on Twitter @KamillaLovesESC). It’s a tale that’s about war and nationalism, but also about a man in a giant hamster wheel, a Crimean ethnoballad and a woman pretending to ejaculate with a fire extinguisher.

Listen on Audioboom.

Also available on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Radio.com, Tunein, CastBox, RadioPublic and Deezer.

We couldn’t play the Eurovision songs that we discuss for copyright reasons. However, here’s a list of YouTube links for the songs.


2014: Maria Yaremchuk – Tick Tock

2016: Jamala – 1944

2018: Melovin – Under the Ladder

2019: Maruv – Siren Song [withdrawn after a dispute between the singer and the broadcaster]


2014: Tolmachevy Sisters – Shine

2015: Polina Gagarina – A Million Voices

2016: Sergey Lazarev – You Are The Only One

2017: Julia Samoylova – Flame is Burning [withdrawn after the Ukrainian government banned her from travelling to the concert in Kyiv.]

2018: Julia Samoylova – I Won’t Break

2019: Sergey Lazarev – Scream

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