Lordi fans furious at "outing" by gossip magazine
Friday free concert in Helsinki's Market Square will cause traffic adjustments
The latest issue of the weekly celebrity gossip magazine 7 päivää (Seven Days, generally known hereabouts as Seiska) has caused a storm of protest from fans of the monster-metal Eurovision Song Contest winners Lordi.
The paper published a picture on its cover and accompanying an article inside that shows the face of the band's leader and vocalist Mr. Lordi, or Tomi Putaansuu , without the customary horror-movie make-up and stage costume.
The paper went ahead and published the image in spite of a number of statements by the singer immediately after Lordi's victory in Athens, requesting that the media would refrain from seeking paparazzi pictures of band-members without their stage outfits, in order not to destroy the mystique surrounding the fantasy-figure band.
The reaction among heavy metal fans and others to the Seiska action was swift and overwhelmingly negative. The weekly's online message board was filled on Wednesday with angry responses from Lordi devotees. A good many others declared they were not in fact active fans of the monster-rockers, but were merely disgusted with the paper's actions.
An Internet petition calling for a boycott of the magazine had been signed by more than 180,000 by midnight on Thursday night, according to the person who originally drafted and posted the petition.
It is not possible, however, to scroll through the names, as this would have overloaded the already-stretched server. It is feasible therefore that more than one name could be posted from the same computer.
The initiator of the petition wished to remain anonymous, but the site administrator noted that signatures had come from around 100,000 unique IP addresses.
The editor-in-chief of 7 päivää Eeva-Helena Jokitaipale argued that the publication of the photograph was justified on the grounds that it had already been shown in print.
Initially the picture was published in the Helsingin Sanomat weekly supplement Nyt in 1999, together with an article in which Putaansuu showed off his tattoos of the American glam-rock band Kiss.
"I understand that there have been all kinds of wishes expressed, but I do not believe that this will have any adverse impact on Lordi's popularity", said Jokitaipale on Thursday.
Some readers have also contacted the paper and announced they are cancelling their subscriptions.
"People react passionately to things like this", says Jokitaipale.
A case in point, albeit on a much more serious matter, was the public reaction to claims made in the largest English sensationalist tabloid The Sun following the Hillsborough football stadium disaster of 1989, in which 96 spectators, all Liverpool FC supporters, were crushed to death.
Charges published under a headline "The Truth" were subsequently shown to be a farrago of lies, and the paper eventually apologised very publicly some 15 years later, but The Sun's circulation in the Merseyside area of England never recovered from the sense of public outrage experienced at the time.
One Finnish daily, the Hämeenlinna-based Hämeen Sanomat, has also felt the wrath of fans after publishing screen-grabs of international websites showing band-members without their masks.
The paper's message board was forced to close down temporarily after being swamped with angry postings. It is scheduled to re-open today, Friday.
In the wake of Lordi's shock Eurovision win in Athens on Saturday, a number of foreign media outlets and news agencies, including Aftonbladet in Sweden and Bild-Zeitung in Germany, have elected to publish photographs purporting to be the members of the band without their masks and stage attire.
In some cases the persons featured have been shown in fact to be former members of Lordi or even members of other Finnish heavy rock outfits.
Fans will get a chance to see Lordi in the flesh, though with their full latex war-paint on, on Friday evening, when the band play a celebratory gig in Helsinki's Market Square.
The free admission party gets under way at 18:00 this evening, and will run until around 22:00. Lordi will be on stage at around 21:00, with a number of other Finnish acts playing beforehand.
The band's website has issued a special request that the concert be a positive "people's celebration", with no displays of aggression towards the media.
It is expected that there will be a huge turnout in the tens of thousands, particularly if the weather stays fair, and city buses and trams are expected to have to make changes to their routes in the area of the Market Square. Trams 3B and 3T will be affected, and buses 13 and 16.
Helsinki City Transport urges all those attempting to reach the passenger terminals in the South Harbour, at both the Olympic Quay and on the Katajanokka side, to allow extra time to make their ferry connections, as tram traffic will probably face lengthy hold-ups.
Part of the show will be televised live on YLE TV 2 from 20:00 to 20:15 and from 20:45 - 21:50 and on the digital YLE24 channel withoiut interruptions from 20:00 onwards.
A more lasting memory of the Lordi victory will also be forthcoming: it was announced on Wednesday that a commemorative coin will be minted for the Eurovision winners.
The CEO of the Mint of Finland Raimo Makkonen said that plans for the collectors' coin have already been set in motion. The intention is for the coin to be readied in time for next May when Finland hosts the 2007 Eurovision Song Contest.
The venture received high-level flanking support, as Speaker of Parliament Paavo Lipponen expressed his approval of the idea.
Lipponen was at the Mint of Finland premises in Vantaa on Wednesday to see to the pressing of the first of a series of silver commemorative EUR 10 coins to mark the centennial of Parliament and equal and universal suffrage in Finland.
Previously in HS International Edition:
The two-metre monster who knows what he wants (23.5.2006)
Lordi meet press and PM - welcome-home concert for fans on Friday evening (23.5.2006)
Lordi Official Site
One Hundred Years of Finnish Democracy
Lordi have already been harnessed by the satirists: the cover of the latest edition of Private Eye in the UK (Issue #1159)