Monday, 20 May 2013

Eurovision party

Hello. My name is Kostas Economides and I am a lecturer in the Department of Economics at the University of the South of England (USE for short). Well, actually that is not true really as the names of individuals and institutions in this blog have been changed to protect the innocent - and the guilty!

What a great party it was at Bubbles' place on Saturday night. The whole thing was built around the Eurovision Song Contest which was on TV. Bubbles put on a spread of food and drink from many of the countries taking part. There was wine from France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Greece and Romania. We had cheese from France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and the UK. From Ireland there was soda bread and Guinness, pork pies from the UK, crackers and meatballs from Sweden, beer and pate from Belgium and dolmades (stuffed vine leaves) from Greece. And Maltesers - not exactly from Malta, but a nice idea. And several other items I am sure that I have forgotten.

All the guests at the party were given one of the countries taking part to support (drawn at random). I was hoping for Greece but got Ireland. Jack had Azerbaijan, his girlfriend Phoebe had Denmark. Gus had Romania and his wife Heather had Finland. One of Bubbles' friends from the Psychology department had the UK and Bonnie Tyler.

I haven't watched the Eurovision Song Contest before so the whole razzmatazz of it was new to me. It started as if it was the Olympics with all the countries parading behind their flags. The songs themselves ranged from boring to bizarre, from insipid to shocking. With twenty-six of them to get through it was as well that we were enjoying the food and drink and the party chat along the way. One thing was clear though - for most acts the staging and backing singers and dancers were as important as the song itself, with wind machines and strobe lighting used a lot. The Denmark song sung by Emmelie de Forest stood out as the clear leader for most of us with a folky penny-whistle introduction and a catchy tune. The song from Finland, “Marry Me” with the girl in her wedding dress was pretty cheesy and ended with the singer kissing one of the (girl) backing singers. What was that all about? We all wondered what on earth Cezar from Romania was up to with his alarming falsetto vampire performance and the near naked dancers in tight lycra. The singer from Iceland looked a bit like Rick Wakeman and someone commented that the keyboard player for Armenia would turn up one day on an identity parade in Never Mind the Buzzcocks! I actually enjoyed the Greek entry with the old guy playing his mini-bazouki and the young ones bouncing around like Madness in their kilts.

Eventually the last song was finished and it was time for the voting. A few party goers voted but I didn’t bother. Gus told me that Bonnie Tyler didn’t stand a chance as hardly anyone voted for the UK any more, and a lot of the voting would be by geographical and cultural groupings. The announcement of the votes seemed to take forever with the contacts in the various voting centres taking an age to announce their results. I felt sorry for the lady in Germany who made a mistake in giving the German votes. In the end Denmark was the clear winner, although Azerbaijan did surprisingly well. The Finland entry did very badly, which surprised me, and poor old Ireland finished last. Bonnie Tyler did OK to finish in nineteenth place.

When it was all over Bubbles said it was time for the presentations. Phoebe was presented with a bottle of champagne for Denmark’s win, and I got a wooden spoon as the backer of Ireland.

It was a really fun evening and even though the whole thing was a bit of a circus it was enjoyable in a funny kind of a way. For me the clear winner was the Swedish lady called Petra who was hosting the event. In her Jean Paul Gaultier designed frock she didn’t put a foot wrong and her English and French seemed faultless. She was good in the Swedish smorgasbord song as well.

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