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, 00s and the 10s.... 

Its 1990 and lo and behold, the lovely people at JRT (supportive but not very smiley) granted us the same access as Swiss TV had the year before – fantastic! It was a late decision to go though, so we couldn’t get a direct flight to Zagreb . Instead, we flew to Ljubljana and took a hair-raising bus ride across country to Zagreb . In itself, this journey was very educational, as I got to learn that Slovenia and Croatia like to fly different flags and that there seemed to be a lot of tanks about on the journey. A sign of devastating things to follow of course, but there were no sign of real problems just then.  

A lot of walking was required at the Lisinski Hall in Zagreb – up and down stairs from the hall to the press conference room. The in-venue catering prices were way above the prices in the rest of Zagreb , which seemed a little unfair, but we managed to eat well and keep the strength up for those staircases…. A fun time was had once again with lots of parties to attend and new people to meet. In fact, I made some new life-long friends in Zagreb (hey Bert, hey Fredrik!). Tajĉi played to character the whole time and was really lovely. We took bets on whether we could make Azucar Moreno smile.


The UK , Icelandic, Dutch and Danish performers were really chatty and fun to spend time with. And meeting Ketil Stokkan and Rita was a particular buzz for me.  It was interesting to see who enjoyed taking advantage of the free bars too…. Oh and the Eurocat was everywhere – rather annoyingly, even as a cake!  


For some reason, the hotel in Zagreb stays particularly vivid in my memories – the Dubrovnik – a smart steel and glass building which stood out amongst the historic structures and squares of the city. More education for a fellow travelling eurofan who asked for chips with his chicken kiev and received a plateful of crisps instead… Oh Brian!


1990 - Brit Lads, Azucar Moreno try to smile, Tajči sees double and meets Welsh Emma, Joelle with that Cake, Maywood style, Rita and Ketil and happy 4th Placed Icelanders


1991 was a year out for me – a house purchase meant it was simply unaffordable and I thought that maybe the end had come and it was time to hang up my Eurovision golden boots. So, a TV-viewer again, I enjoyed the show for the first time in my new home. I was convinced that it was Spain ’s year and sat on the edge of my seat for most of the show, expecting something to go wrong. The hosts seemed the worst organised ever. Toto in particular seemed to like the sound of his own voice and also seemed to think that the whole of Europe spoke, or at least understood, Italian. Not the best show ever, but exciting voting and an apparent tie, with Sweden victorious after the first use of the highest 12s 10s 10s rule….. Spain a respectable 4th….  


Off to Sweden in 1992 then…


The 1992 Contest was actually one of the most enjoyable ever. The Swedes had pitched everything just right and a good group of fans had made the trip, plus some new friends were made. Not least among these was the delightful Daisy Auvrey, the amazing Evridiki and the wonderful Linda Martin. Two of the 3 are now Facebook friends too (oops, jumping ahead there, not even any internet back then). Fredrik really looked after me though and a great week was had by all. Rehearsals were slick, parties were plentiful and even Michael Ball was surprisingly friendly to “we mere fans”…. Tony Wegas and Dina from Portugal were proving to be real characters too and Carola was a little elusive and a little on the superstar side….. I recall a night in a karaoke bar too, another first for me… a very cosy space with Christer Björkmann and others giving renditions of various hits of the day. Surreal!  


1992 - Tony Wegas and the Icelandic Girls, Extra Nena, Gary meets Tony and Evridiki

Christer does Karaoke, Mary and Rose, Michael Ball says hi, Dina goes a little crazy and the amazing Mia Martini oozes class


One of the most impressive things after the show was that in the time it took us to take the short walk from the venue to the after show party, the local newspaper had been printed with the results and we were handed a copy on the door. Now, that’s efficient!

This after-show party turned out to be one of the longest nights partying at Eurovision ever (well, until Moscow 2009, oh there I go jumping ahead again!). Back in 1992, some new friends (Aaron and Kevin) and I had become close (well, as close as you can in a few days at Eurovision) with Evridiki, Mary Spiteri and Linda Martin (oh and Gary, Linda’s hairdresser). Kevin suggested we head to the hotel where we’d attended an Irish party during the week as Linda Martin (the winner, no less!) was planning a private celebration and Kevin had been told about it for us. This was all a bit strange, but after heading to the hotel and finding no party in the bar, Kevin seemed to know the right room numbers to check. We knocked on the door and were promptly invited in! There was Linda, Gary the hairdresser, some RTE people,  Johnny Logan and the Trophy! To this day, I have no idea whose room it was, but pictures with Johnny and the trophy prove this surreal event. What a privilege … and what a long night!


1992 - Irish win and Hotel Surprise


I almost missed the plane home the day after, but a perilously mad dash through Malmö in a cab got me to the hydrofoil and then another dash the other side to the Airport. I was still straightening myself out as I boarded the plane! A plane which, by the way, is the only one I have ever known to be advertised as departing early! A good job I was fit! I was, honestly!


Ireland had won… so, would I get to see Dublin again in 1993? Did another adventure await me? A whole year to find out……


A year passes quickly and the 1993 Contest approached. Not Dublin after all, but a tiny place (according to the map) called Millstreet. I had originally believed that Mill Street was a road in Dublin ! Not so… this was a small town (village?) with a show jumping arena near Killarney that was to be transformed into a venue for Eurovision 1993. Ok, what’s the plan?  

As Ireland is just across the water from Wales and Millstreet was not an easy place to access, I decided to take my car on a ferry from Swansea to Cork and have some independence on the streets (and lanes) around Millstreet. This would prove very useful especially as almost everyone was staying in Killarney and that was quite a trek each day from hotel to venue. The organisers kindly let me park in the official car park at the venue (to be fair this was an open field and not many cars were using it), but warned me that this wouldn’t be possible on Saturday… No surprise there!  

This was most definitely Eurovision in the country. Green fields, lots of bus rides and parties in village halls and country hotels. The Green Glens Arena had been turned into a hi-tech TV studio though and the fun was good to go. Rehearsals followed the now familiar pattern with up to 40 minutes per song followed by a press conference. A bar and restaurant were available in a Marquee and in good Irish style, plenty of liquid was flowing.  


1993 - Smiles from the Artists of Millstreet


One of the most memorable events of Millstreet week was on a bus back to the ‘hotel town’ of Killarney where most people were staying. This particular bus journey was after the Friday night rehearsal. At the back of the bus,  almost tucked away, came the voice of Patrick Fiori singing ‘Mamma Corsica’ for all on board… perfect! Even more perfect was the fact that I was sat opposite Niamh Kavanagh and we persuaded the bus driver to play the cassette (!) of ‘In Your Eyes’ which Niamh promptly joined in with. I taped the whole thing and one day I’ll get it on to youtube. A really special moment. Another was meeting Evridiki again, who had come along to support this year’s Cypriot act (Zimboulakis & Van Beke).  


Also special to Millstreet was the first participations of Slovenia , Croatia and Bosnia & Herzegovina . You rarely see such emotional pride in being able to represent your country at Eurovision and for most of us it was difficult to comprehend just what this meant to these newly independent States.  


One puzzling aspect at one of Italy ’s Press Conferences, was when the press officer insisted that Italy did not take part in Eurovision in 1980 (when of course they did with ‘Non So Che Darrei’). I forget what this was in answer to, but it felt as if Italy was losing interest already. I remember they sent a very small delegation with Mia Martini the year before too. Sonia was flying the flag for the UK with calls of ‘It’s a Showcase’ at every opportunity, but what a bubbly fun character she was. Inga from Iceland also surprised us by appearing in national dress at the Icelandic reception – not something you see everyday! Another standout lady at Eurovision 1993 was the classy Katri Helena from Finland , already a 70s Eurovision icon to those of us old enough to remember… Anyway, I sat in the Arena surrounded by very cool looking folk from Bosnia and watched Niahm storm to victory at the end of some of the most exciting Eurovision voting since, well, 1988….



OK another Irish win meant we were coming back to Ireland in 1994. Dublin this time, but a new venue, The Point, and a bigger contest with Poland, Russia, Hungary, Slovakia, Romania, Estonia and Lithuania. This also meant for the first time, that 7 low scoring countries in recent years had to drop out of the Contest. This was the way forward until 2004 when the Semi Finals were finally introduced.  These new eastern nations brought different styles, imagery and sounds to the Contest – something which freshened it up, although many people missed some of the missing ‘old Eurovision’ nations like Belgium, Denmark and Israel.



The Point was a great venue for Eurovision and the set was breathtaking. The Irish were certainly bringing Eurovision forward, as they had done in 1988. 1994 was also memorable for the number of party options that came with being accredited. Apart from the impeccable Irish Government Reception, I also recall a particularly wine-sodden Greek party, an amazing time with CatCat and their Finnish Vodka and Finnish Beer event, then jumping into a cab to make the first ever Russian Eurovision Reception, which we just could not miss. The Taxi driver’s reaction when four of us jumped into his cab and asked for the Russian Embassy, was priceless … ‘You guys ****ing defecting?’ came the cry! It was a surreal occasion for us being guided in via the back door of the Russian Embassy in Dublin to a very sedate reception for the lovely Youddiph. Wow, Eurovision was certainly moving on…..  



1994 - Bosnia, Portugal, Hungary, Finland, Cyprus, Spain, Russia and the UK


1994 - CatCat - The Car!


We almost had the first ever Eurovision disqualification at the 1994 contest. The language rule was still in place, so every country had to sing in one of their nation’s languages. At the Saturday afternoon rehearsal before the Final – the one that the juries hear to familiarise themselves with the songs – Edyta from Poland sang her song ‘To Nie Ja’ in English….. There were gasps of ‘what will happen’ and complaints made by some delegations that this gave Poland an advantage. There was talk of a disqualification. That did not happen however and Edyta stormed to 2nd place with the POLISH version on Saturday night.  


Another (this time for me, disappointing) Irish win meant we would probably be coming to Dublin again in 1995. Sure enough RTE picked Dublin and the same venue as for the 1994 Contest. Although we had loved The Point in 1994, this year it did all feel a little déjà vu… This may be the reason that little stands out from that year as a different story to tell. It all passed very nicely, the presentation (as the 40th Eurovision) gave a nice retrospective, the UK sent a progressive rap sound which made it all feel a bit cooler this year, Russia sent the tallest man ever seen at Eurovision (surely!)in the guise of Phillip Kirkorov, but there wasn’t a spark of excitement as in other years. To top it off, the Norwegian winner could easily have been an Irish entry, so we were all beginning to feel that Eurovision had hit a bit of a lull. If only Slovenia , Cyprus or the UK had won….  


1995 - Brit Lads, Love City Groove, Duo Datz, Philip Kirorov, Alex Panayi, Jan Johanson, Darja Svajger, Liora


1996 would be the last year I would try for accreditation for some time, but as it was in Norway, I was keen to finally visit this interesting nation, so often the recipient of ‘null points’ and now a winner 2 times over… It was also a sad time for me, as my nana, who watched Eurovision with me a lot as a young lad, passed away at the ripe old age of 93, but never to be forgotten. This all happened close to Eurovision week, so I delayed my travel plans and only arrived in Oslo midweek. Would I be in the mood for Eurovision? Well, Gina G had brought us our best chance in years and I was prepared to enjoy a UK win… perhaps… Some new innovations like the virtual scoreboard and the 3 stage position options made this Contest a little different. If it wasn’t to be the UK , I was banking on it being Estonia , Slovenia or Croatia . Something I did not see coming (apart from bitter cold and the extortionate price of beer in Oslo !) was yet another Irish win. Not just the fact that we may be going to Dublin again, but the fact the winning music style was beginning to become too fixed.  


Oslo 1996 was also the Contest where I met Mr Andrew Cross, who was about to become my Eurovision travel partner for years to come.  


1996 - Lisa from Belgium, Gina G, the long and the short of it from the Netherlands, Maja Blagdan

Mariana from Greece, Brits Abroad, with Constantinos from Cyprus and with new europal Andrew


1997 and Dublin and the Point – yet again! I think I was becoming weary of Eurovision and wanted to step back a little. The interest was still there but not enough to want to spend a week on it again. So, with my new Eurovision travel buddy Andrew, I headed to Dublin for a long weekend. RTE outdid themselves with the set and I recall 1997 being the first time we went armed with a flag – a Hungarian one, courtesy of Andrew. Hungary had one of the better songs this year and we hoped it may come in handy. It did, as we folded into a Polish flag and an Italian flag as the evening went on.



What we didn’t have was a UK flag. What we hadn’t expected, was a UK win! We had sat through the Friday night rehearsal and I was expecting big things for Russia , Hungary , Turkey and Slovenia . But the UK walked it. We were experiencing a UK win. Katrina and the Waves gave the UK the first win since 1981. We were amazed, bemused, but decided we needed to party! What a great night. Andrew’s sister was also in Dublin and she managed to acquire passes for us into the aftershow party. Despite no accreditation, it seemed we could still party with the winners. I still recall lots of excited Brits, some over excited Turks who were delighted at finishing 3rd and the Irish were all happy as they hadn’t won again, but still finished a respectable 2nd.  Now, what would the BBC do with the Contest in 1998?  


Living in Cardiff , I was desperate for the Contest to come to Wales . The Contest had already been in London , Brighton , Harrogate and Edinburgh , so only Wales and Northern Ireland had so far missed out. The local papers were championing Cardiff International Arena as the venue and Cardiff (my city) made the shortlist of 3 with Glasgow and Birmingham . I was totally gutted when Birmingham was chosen and even more so when the BBC decided to allocate tickets on a lottery basis. I was still not ready to give a week of my now very busy life to the Contest again (would I ever..? oh yes!) but really wanted to be there, now it was finally in my own country – even if it wasn’t in Cardiff .


Tickets via a draw… a Eurovision Lottery !? what were the chances?! As it turned out for me, slim! I applied but received only 2 tickets to the Saturday afternoon rehearsal. Gutted again! However, I decided to drive up to Birmingham , watch the rehearsal and head back to Cardiff to watch on TV. This I did and while I enjoyed the rehearsal I felt that the BBC produced one of the dullest static sets that Eurovision had seen for decades – really unimaginative and also provided one of the dullest presenters ever, but that’s a personal opinion on a man that I feel has always been over-rated. The only time I thought the set looked good was during Norway ’s song ‘All I Ever Wanted Was You’. Israel was a surprising winner for me, as I didn’t feel that the vocals worked, but the song became a big hit and the Transsexual Israeli winner was certainly one in the eye of convention. I was happy that Eurovision was moving on again… but still wished that Slovenia or Romania had won …  Strangely I was offered a front row ticket as I was driving back to Cardiff, but my M4 drive and evening were committed and I couldn’t turn back…. Who knows, Guildo may have climbed all over me… eugh! No front row for me…  


Jerusalem 1999 clashed with another house move for me. Added to that was the fact that you just could not get a ticket (unless perhaps with accreditation), so I had to sit this one out altogether. I remember watching it on TV surrounded by boxes ready for the move. Croatia (‘Marija Magdalena’) was my big favourite to win with Iceland (‘All Out of Luck’) a close second. Iceland did manage 2nd, but it was Sweden who romped home to victory again with a retro sounding belter of a song ‘Take Me To Your Heaven’. This didn’t turn out to be as big a hit as I expected it to, but as an Abba fan, I knew it would become a favourite for me. 



A great touch at the end of the Contest too, when all the artists performed ‘Hallelujah’ – Israel ’s winner 20 years earlier…