Quizzes may have lost their TV allure but stay strong in pubs.

EVERYONE loves impressing other people with their level of general knowledge. While playing Trivial Pursuit with a few friends is one way of doing so, albeit on a small scale, for those who seek larger audiences pub quizzes remain popular in Finland. On the other hand, the days of televised quiz shows have all but disappeared.

For many years quiz shows were ubiquitous on Finnish TV. Everything from domestic favourites like Kymppitonni to international successes like Who Wants to be a Millionaire were staples of prime-time weekend broadcasting. These days, the spread of reality shows...

What is it about Finland that makes it such an efficient breeding ground for heavy metal and rock music?

MAYBE it’s the darkness, the depression, the alcohol or the straight-talking nature of the natives, but whatever the reason heavy metal is big business in Finland. From slightly more, shall we say, commercial acts like HIM to the hardest of the hard groups like Torture Killer there is nary a part of the genre that is neglected in the Finnish scene’s repertoire.

Indeed, hard rock is so popular that an unashamedly metal singer, Ari Koivunen, actually won the Finnish version of Pop Idol in 2007; going on to enjoy a successful career as a solo vocalist and member of the band Amoral – a far cry from...

People travel for different reasons. For those who do so in order to make friends and experience more local culture than you’ll find on organised holidays, couch surfing is a cheap and potentially fulfilling way of travelling.

FOR TRAVELLERS on a budget, perhaps especially in places with fairly high costs of living like Finland, the biggest headache can often be finding accommodation which is possessed of a decent standard, while remaining affordable. If you want to spend a week exploring a Finnish city, for example, you could easily be looking at spending anywhere from 300-700 euros on accommodation alone, and potentially much more. This might mean you can thereafter for the duration of your stay...

Tough girls on retro roller skates in wild outfits – roller derby has landed in Finland, but what’s it all about exactly?

FISHNET STOCKINGS, fast speed, bruises and tattooed girls – these are some of the first images that come to mind when somebody mentions roller derby. But despite the image created on the sport most recently by Drew Barrymore’s film Roller Girl, it’s not all about tough looks and the will to hurt your opponent.

Becoming a rock star is possibly the number one dream of any teenager who has ever picked up a guitar. But the music business is no easy one to break into, the competition is tough and the countless number of aspiring bands makes becoming noticed almost impossible – or does it?

AS THE continued (and baffling) success of shows like X Factor and Pop Idol attests, not to mention the thousands of garage bands playing bad cover songs and trying to get gigs in their local bars, there are few industries which can compete with the music business for sheer allure. After all, who wouldn’t want to perform in front of adoring crowds, spend your days touring the world and making more money than you can...