Countries Visited (not including Turnarounds): Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Brazil, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Great Britain, Greece, Iceland, India, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Latvia, Libya, Lithuania, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritius, Moldova, Monaco, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, North Korea, Philippines, Romania, Russia, Singapore, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Tanzania, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United States, Vatican City
London | Perth | Sydney | Melbourne
Seatguru - Most Comfy Seats On Any Airline
pprune.org - Pilot's rumour network
Kangaroo with a Sweet Tooth
Kronicles of Kris
The Adventures of Alle Malice
Joel's trek across Asia/Europe in a Hilux
Phil's Wine Site
I Can Has Cheezburger
The Flying Pinto
Girl on Raw
Things Bogans Like
Bobby at Up, Up and a Gay
Straight Guy in the Queer Skies
Skin by Falter
Tuesday, May 28, 2013
So I wrote this post from the Tuileries gardens in Paris6 comments
And rather than spend the layover on an intense tour of the city with my blogger partner-in-crime Ben (who's antics I encountered the next day) I decided to chill out for a bit. I was blessed to have a 48 hour Paris in my roster for May - actually my entire roster is amazing with a day off for my exams, 4 days off to extend my leave, this trip plus 2 Nice flights, where I've never been able to visit except within the confines of the airport. The 48 hours were actually the first I had to myself to completely chill out and finally jot down my thoughts on the chaos that was Eurovision 2013 in Malmö.
This year I was fortunate enough to be a member of the San Marino delegation. After a failed attempt at working as Press and a rejected application for a Fan Accreditation, the delegation were more than happy to take me on board and do whatever possible to support their entrant, Valentina Monetta. She participated a year before in the Baku contest, but this year was a bit different - we had a song that was written specifically for her and that was generating a lot of buzz and support amongst the press and fans. I was in such disbelief after hearing I was working for San Marino that I told absolutely no one I was with a delegation until I physically saw the accreditation around my neck in Malmö.
Valentina Monetta at the meet and greet.
Finland's Krista Siegfrids in what I believe to be typical Finnish attire :-)
Eythor Ingi Gunnlaugsson from Iceland performing an acoustic version of his entry - he probably had the second best male voice in the contest, behind Romania's Cezar.
Most of the meet and greets were quite chaotic - crowds were usually 8-10 people deep, with the exception of Germany and the UK which were just complete pandemonium. The press conferences were a little more tame though.
The home favourite, Robin Stjernberg, who was just absolutely adorable.
A very unfocused shot of Bonnie Tyler. It was hard to keep my camera straight what with all the actual press jostling with each other.
The San Marino press conference. From left is our lovely Head of Delegation Alessandro, lyricist Mauro Balestri, Valentina and composer Ralph Siegel. If anyone from Australia is reading this post and remembers this song charting around the 1980 Moscow Olympics era, he was responsible for composing that as well.
It was a great experience working with a delegation for the first time, and particularly one that was international in its very nature - There were Sammarinese, Italian, French, German, Israeli, Maltese, Estonian, American and Icelandic members of the delegation; and as the only Australian on the team it felt amazing to give my full support for an entry for a change, compared to previous years where you don't really know who to cheer for, and end up with other Aussie flag bearers cheering for whatever song you liked. It felt amazing to be included, and it felt even more heartbreaking to be in the arena during Semi Final 2, to hear 10 countries qualify and your country not being announced.
Valentina outside the dressing rooms.
Finland rehearsing their number dressed in onesies.
The bright red vertebrae dress from Azerbaijan.
I think one of the best moments for me was during the rehearsals where we were permitted to access backstage, then see the rehearsals from a special delegate viewing area with a great view of the stage and the monitor. The feeling of elation when things would go well timing-wise and seeing how that translates on the monitor for what the viewers would see back home was something special. It felt amazing to be a part of that moment.
My promotions accomplice over the two weeks - Kelly, whilst we're in the delegate viewing area.
I was also invited to attend a breakfast meet-and-greet with the Australian broadcaster SBS and their commentary team, Julia Zemiro and Sam Pang. I was in a unique situation compared to everyone else there - I've been in Dubai since 2005, and Julia and Sam took over the commentary duties from 2009. I've tried to get hold of the Australian commentary, however everything online from them is geo-retricted, so I've never heard what they're like regarding the contest. I only knew Julia from watching repeat episodes of RockWiz during my Australian layovers, and Sam I've never heard talk before. There were some video shorts that were played at the event, and some of the humour in them was lost on me. I'm wondering whether or not living away for so long has taken a toll on my Australian-ised humour a bit. It's a strange moment of realisation, that's for sure...
With Valentina at a cocktail function with the Sammarinese head of state.
So onto the actual arena shows themselves, and it was a different vibe to previous years. All the fans in Malmö Arena were assigned into the standing area, which for six consecutive nights can be a little too much - I quickly grabbed the offer of seats when they were offered for the Jury Final of Semi Final 2. The tickets were booked back in November, and I had very real concerns about how my ankle would hold up for the shows, but the pain was very minor and it didn't swell up - when you're in the arena surrounded by other fans you can't help but dance and forget the pain during the shows.
Next to the most important man in the contest - the wind machine operator
These bracelets would light up before each entry in the flag colours of the country performing. We were also told that if we stayed until the end credits that they would be reprogrammed to light up after the contest was over. The floor manager only told us this on the night of the Grand Final - I wish I'd known that for the previous 5 shows I attended so I didn't have 5 bracelets that no longer worked :-S
And of course you have the fans who dress up every year and make the contest just a little more special. I'm truly stumped as to how they manage to fit a costume and wig in their luggage - I had barely any room left for two weeks of Eurovision in the cool Swedish climate, let alone having to worry about costuming and flags as well.
I was quite pleased with Denmark's win - after seeing it live at the Dansk Melodi Grand Prix in Herning it was obvious that this would challenge for the top position. Now the discussion has turned to next year's contest - and even though Copenhagen Arena isn't completed yet - I really hope they choose Copenhagen to host. There was too much drama with booking a hotel, then getting to Boxen on the night of the national final. I really don't want to go to Herning again...
At least in Copenhagen if the accommodation situation gets really bad, I could at least book a hotel in Malmö ;-)