Held a Eurovision party at my place. We’ve all been die-hard Eurovision watchers since the 1990s, when it was first shown in Australia. Preparation: read the Des Mangan “This Is Sweden Calling” book and Terry Wogan’s “Is It Me?” and watched the two semi-finals.
The hard yards preparation is to watch SBS World News every evening for the true subtext: rioting Greece urging everyone to “Rise Up”, bankrupt Iceland stealing The Wiggles’ act, and France staying irrelevant by urging everyone to wear a moustache. Everyone booed Russia, for invading countries and hating gays.
–Denmark was the host nation, so our spread included Danish pastries, smørrebrød with smoked salmon, anchovy, sour cream, mayo, and dill, accompanied by Carlsberg and Rekorderlig Winter Cider (apple cider cinnamon-vanilla flavoured made with pure Swedish spring water).
–Divided into two teams of 3: the Vikings versus the Princess Marys, with points given for spotting a key change, on-stage disaster, wind machine, ridiculous props (see saw, trampoline, man-size hamster wheel), “reveal” (clothing removal), arriving on stage “not on own feet”, ethnic instruments, “la la las”, yodelling, whistling, acrobat, all-white outfits, bridal dress. Eurovision virgin R was a genius at spotting everything, and his team won easily with an extra 12 points.
–During an ABBA-inspired moment of reflection, D revealed he’d been too busy to “read” his latest 2kg ABBA book, which astonished us, since it’s all photographs.
–We teased compulsive collector G for buying the latest 40th anniversary release of Waterloo, even though he “hates the song”.
–Poor S is still traumatised after the recent ABBA Disco at the Impy when she was standing outside and a punter asked her for a light: “I’m a dag, I don’t do that sort of thing,” she screamed, visions of detention haunting her, despite having left school 25 years ago.
–We all loved Austria’s bearded lady’s Rise Like A Phoenix, and G tried to recreate the pyrotechnics via berserker-style pirouetting with a luxury hand-poured candle from Pentimento – “You’re my flaaaaaaaame!” Afterwards, slumped on the sofa: “I’ll never Rise Again without help from a lot of Celebrex.”
–During the Interval Act, we watched the interpretative dance version of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Ugly Duckling, which touched a raw nerve amongst us Eurovision Tragics/outcasts, and we tried to nonchalantly stifle our angst.
–During the voting period we made sense of the North v South, East v West political bloc voting (scattered, as many alliances had been severed when contenders were knocked out in the semis) while using (Danish-invented) Lego to construct a replica of Copenhagen’s Mermaid statue.
Luckily, the voting segment with commentary by the UK’s Graham Norton was online the next day, so I could find out what really happened. Was shocked to discover Russia, Belarus and Armenia had tried to get bearded lady Conchita edited out of the broadcast!
*NB: the Eurovision final is always held on Mother’s Day in Australia, so there’s always a massive dropout rate due to family drama/emotional exhaustion.