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Eurovision 2015 Contestants: Australia

When we first saw Australia would be competing in the 2015 edition of the European Song Contest, we simply thought the organizers misspelled “Austria”. But no, it turns out Aussies really enjoy the ESC.

In fact, the public broadcaster SBS has been airing the show for more than 30 years. In 2014, 3 million dedicated Australians — 13% of the population — watched it, which seems incredible considering it airs at 6 a.m. in the country's capital Canberra. Several Australian candidates also participated in the contest in the past, singing for other countries. Some even won, or came second to a expand=1] group of glittery Swedes.

Non-European countries such as Israel or Azerbaijan have been Eurovision contestants for a few years now — and someone has to replace Ukraine, who is taking a break this year for personal reasons. So welcome, Australia, to the oddest show on earth.

Representing the land down under is Guy Sebastian, a 33-year-old soul/R&B/gospel singer from Adelaide. He was the first ever winner of Australian Idol in 2003 and has released seven studio albums since.

On May 23, Guy will perform his track “Tonight Again”, a song about doing “whatchya want”, forgetting tomorrow and having fun tonight, baby.

Our vote:

Does it make you want to visit that country? 0.5/10

Was there enough glitter? 0.25/10

Ok to quit your day job? 2.75/10

OVERALL AVERAGE: 1.17/10

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Society

Genoa Postcard: A Tale Of Modern Sailors, Echos Of The Ancient Mariner

Many seafarers are hired and fired every seven months. Some keep up this lifestyle for 40 years while sailing the world. Some of those who'd recently docked in the Italian port city of Genoa, share a taste of their travels that are connected to a long history of a seafaring life.

A sailor smokes a cigarette on the hydrofoil Procida

A sailor on the hydrofoil Procida in Italy

Daniele Frediani/Mondadori Portfolio via ZUMA Press
Paolo Griseri

GENOA — Cristina did it to escape after a tough breakup. Luigi because he dreamed of adventures and the South Seas. Marianna embarked just “before the refrigerator factory where I worked went out of business. I’m one of the few who got severance pay.”

To hear their stories, you have to go to the canteen on Via Albertazzi, in Italy's northern port city of Genoa, across from the ferry terminal. The place has excellent minestrone soup and is decorated with models of the ships that have made the port’s history.

There are 38,000 Italian professional sailors, many of whom work here in Genoa, a historic port of call that today is the country's second largest after Trieste on the east coast. Luciano Rotella of the trade union Italian Federation of Transport Workers says the official number of maritime workers is far lower than the reality, which contains a tangle of different laws, regulations, contracts and ethnicities — not to mention ancient remnants of harsh battles between shipowners and crews.

The result is that today it is not so easy to know how many people sail, nor their nationalities.

What is certain is that every six to seven months, the Italian mariner disembarks the ship and is dismissed: they take severance pay and after waits for the next call. Andrea has been sailing for more than 20 years: “When I started out, to those who told us we were earning good money, I replied that I had a precarious life: every landing was a dismissal.”

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