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sledge BS: Air guitar (10) BS: Air guitar 01 Sep 04

Taken from the Finnish Helsingen Sanomat newspaper, English web edition. Just how did we miss this, was there a mudcat representative :-) Silly maybe, but harmless fun.

Finland once again sneaked across the international news thresholds on Friday evening, as the reigning United States Air Guitar Champion Miri "Sonyk-Rok" Park was crowned world champion in this esoteric sport, at a competition held in Oulu.

      But this was only the beginning - amid scenes worthy of Olympic athletics medals changing owners or crowds booing the gymnastics judges, it was discovered that there had been an error in the voting.

      Ms. Park was initially named as the winner after an "air-off" with Tarquin "The Tarkness" Keys, the national champion of New Zealand. However, it was subsequently discovered that while the two had both achieved near-perfect scores on their compulsory round (bringing airness to Walk, Idiot, Walk by The Hives), "The Tarkness" had in fact received fractionally higher marks from the three-person jury.
The slip-up was resolved amicably enough by awarding the prize jointly to both competitors, but not without one casualty: the Air Guitar event's producer Marika Lamberg tendered her resignation over the incident.

      "This shouldn't happen at world championship level. I am devastated. We can't do anything else but apologise for the mistake and congratulate both winners. At least you can't say that this year's contest didn't offer tons of excitement and drama", said a shocked Lamberg.
The annual contest, now in its ninth year, was held in connection with the Oulu Music Video Festival.

      A total of sixteen competitors took part, with 11 progressing to the compulsory round after air-guitaring to a one-minute snatch of a song of their own choosing.

      Although there was a preliminary qualifying round for hopefuls, in which two Finns progressed, most of the finalists were national champions sent to Oulu by their local air guitar associations. Australia, Belgium, Norway, Austria, The Netherlands, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, and the United Arab Emirates were all represented, in addition to the 2003 Champion David "C-Diddy"Jung of the United States (he finished 3rd this year) and the two winners.

      The first prize was a hand-made Flying Finn guitar worth EUR 2,500 and a VOX BM Special amplifier that was designed, donated and signed by Queen guitarist Brian May, one of the axe-heroes whose posturing inspires air guitarists around the world.

      What the organisers will do about having TWO champions and one prize is unclear at the time of writing, but the message of the competition is clearly about world peace: "If you are holding an air guitar, you cannot hold a rifle." All sixteen finalists duly lined up on stage at the close of the event for a rousing air guitar performance of Neil Young's anthem Rockin' in the Free World.

      And a good time was had by all. The doping test results are not in yet.



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