MY EUROVISION STORY...
25 YEARS OF EUROVISION
25 YEARS - INTRO
25 YEARS - 1970s
25 YEARS - 1980s
25 YEARS - 1990s
25 YEARS - 2000s
25 YEARS - 2010s
Click the pictures above for a review of the 70s, 80s, 90s and the 00s....
And so to Norway
and back to
the Contest … in Semi Final 1, I was disappointed for
the final, Belgium, Spain,
And what are the odds of sitting down in a venue and finding that the people directly in front of you for the next two rows are good euro friends... Well at Eurovision maybe not such great odds haha.
winner followed that I had not considered.
last hosted Eurovision in 1983 – in
presenters would guide the shows, including former German representative
and Lena-champion, Stefan Raab. In itself, Düsseldorf is not a very
remarkable city, but it is well set up for large numbers of international
visitors. The bars and restaurants were plentiful and we enjoyed the
social aspect of this contest. Again, the Tram was the preferred method of
transport and we spent a good deal of time at the Esprit Arena following
the fortunes of this year’s Eurovision crop.
Semi Final 1, there were some surprises, in that
the final, I was convinced that the winner would come from
however is larger than any nationalistic bigotry and as plans started to
be made for 2012, I decided I would make the trip. No visa relaxation
available and confusion on how much it would be on arrival and in which currency. I
felt that I was going to a country that would gladly refuse entry on a
whim almost. I had already been horrified that the Chairwoman of the
Organising Committee would be the President’s wife and that the interval
act at the final would be the President’s son-in-law. Was Eurovision
being used as a political pawn – the EBU said not, but something felt
very wrong about all of this.
had however, albeit with German ingenuity, built a brand new Concert
venue for Eurovision 2012 – the Crystal Hall. That was an impressive
feat, but for me it did feel ‘this is what you can do if you
have this amount of money and power’.
think it’s clear that I wasn’t comfortable about this trip, but I was
determined that it wouldn’t take the edge off my Eurovision obsession…
I left the travel arrangements a little late and ended up flying to
Hotel was in a great position near the centre of the City and an easy walk
to grab one of the 1000 London-style cabs that the President had ordered
for the event – all painted purple and covered in Eurovision logos. The
City was spotless – and I mean spotless. It had some amazing buildings,
new and old, and all the big name stores and boutiques. The local
population were very friendly and very smartly dressed at all times. A
very modern city that someone described to me as hoping to be the next
at the Contest, the Semi Finals only threw up 2 surprises for me – that
final came and the fan seating was pretty abysmal this time. I was
convinced that all the immediate rows in front of the stage were probably
filled with the nation’s yes people. It all felt weird and I’d be glad
to leave the place.
Who knows, it could also be a huge international hit - something I've been
hoping for for years.
Who knows, it could also be a huge international hit - something I've been hoping for for years.
I left Azerbaijan totally impressed with the local people, a generally good-looking and smiley folk, and with the amenities of Baku. A beautiful city in a perfect location, but as someone said to me, scratch the surface and what will you find? It felt as if everyone was important but nobody was in charge.
Eurovision was back in the
After a flight to (and a night in) Copenhagen, a quick slick train journey across the impressive Öresund Bridge and we arrived in Malmö.
Ironically, the hotel was right next to the Eurovision Venue of 1992, but the 2013 venue was just a short bus trip away...
This Eurovision was going to be different for sure - tap water, coffee and cakes for the working press and standing room only for fans in the Arena. Would these tried and tested euro-legs take the strain?! Haha... We knew that SVT were planning to scale things down from the 2012 no-expense-spared view of things in Baku, but the usual style was on show and many familiar faces from across Europe and the wider fan fraternity were in place. Friends old and new! Great to see Paul Didden again after all these years and lovely to meet Fiona, Sylvia, Edward and Sascha for the first time.
OGAE UK made this trip a little more exciting for me (thanks Simon!) by inviting me along as a token flag-waving Welshman (Bonnie Tyler is Welsh, incase you didn't know) to an interview session with ITV News which resulted in a couple of additional slots from the press centre - some unexpected fun and its always cool to be spotted on TV back home in Brighton and Cardiff.
Song-wise in 2013, Norway, Hungary, Ireland, UK, Russia, Iceland, Belgium and San Marino were hitting the spot for me. I did not rate the Danish song at all, from first listen, but should have taken greater heed to the Poll results leading up to the Contest, but boy, I did not see that win coming.
The Standing up was fine as it turned out, although flag poles were cut down for the final, due to camera-blocking seen at the Semi Finals (my Welsh flag gets a better airing during the Semi Finals this year haha).
San Marino really should have made the final, as should Albania. The big shock for everyone was Armenia qualifying and the fact that no ex-YU countries made the final - for the first time. Surely, the biggest cheer though came when the Netherlands was announced as a qualifier to the Final - years of Semi Final heartache relieved in one digital envelope!
A big shock for me was that I hardly recognised Malmö as the city I visited in 1992. The Town Hall looked familiar, but little else. It was very strange, although places can look very different when the sun comes out. Some lovely squares and restaurants and an impressive bus service around the City, I was suitably impressed. We all know anyway how hospitable the Swedes are...!
So the Final came and I was hopeful of some success for Wales, in the guise of the delightful Bonnie Tyler. I didn't think we could win, but I hoped for top 5. The finalist performances flew by and we waited with baited breath to see what Europe had decided.
The Danish win hit me a bit like the AZ win in 2011 - I was non-plussed and didn't understand it. I guess 2013 was the year I finally admitted to myself that I was out of synch with most of the rest of Europe. Ah well, you can't win them all! Denmark won, which was preferable to the second placed option I guess. My big hope had been Norway from the start and the plucky Margaret Berger managed a respectable 4th place. Sadly, our Bonnie didn't grab that top 5 position, languishing in an unfair 19th place. Always an icon in my house, Bonnie!
After some deliberation, DR has decided to hold Eurovision 2014 in Copenhagen at a disused ship building complex. Let's hope they learned well from the 2001 presentation and can bring us a Contest to be proud of - it is after all my 25th trip to a Contest ;-)
Please let 2015 head to Cardiff or Reykjavik or Lisbon or Madrid or Amsterdam or Ljubljana or Brussels ...?
1992 Venue, 2013 Venue, the Öresund Bridge, Ryan and Bobbysocks at a fan night and the flag waving starts
Semi Final 1
Euroclub after Semi Final 1, Some of the Big-5 Rehearse
Semi Final 2 Rehearsal
ITV Interview Session with OGAE UK
Thursday Sunshine in Malmö
Semi Final 2
FINAL - Press Rehearsal
FINAL - Jury Final (Friday night)
SATURDAY Sunshine in Malmö
** The GRAND FINAL **
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Love Eurovision! See you in Copenhagen!