Contributions so far
I’m here working for ESCinsight. As of today I’ve ;
- Written about the unwritten Eurovision rules and how to bust ’em open
- Written about this year’s slate of jurors, who determine half the scores again this year
- Contributed to one podcast
I’ve also been interviewed by a few other sites, but I have no idea if the footage was at all useful.
Head Shrunk Bubble
That’s two days in the Eurovision bubble for me. It’s called the bubble because it’s its own wee world. And in some years the press room has been a tent—very bubblelicious. This year we are in a building. Security for these sorts of events is serious. In fact each time we enter the event zone we go through metal detectors and get patted down. There are both men and women police doing the security: there is a lot of “talent” in Lisbon so there’s a good looking man or woman for the job. Very courteous too.
This is my third time attending the Contest live, but it’s the first time I will have done the full fortnight. Or, when you’re travelling from the other side of the earth, 17 days (a couple of days to recover from the journey). Previous trips I’ve been a hanger-on (Istanbul), or someone who joined the team for only the last week (Vienna). Previously I’ve also always made my own accommodation arrangements. Not because I’m anti-social; more because I absorb the energy of those around me, whether I wish to or not. #piscespride
The social media contributions of various bubblers gives a selective view of what it’s like here. But like social media in general it’s a selective slice of folks’ experiences. If it seems all fabulous, it’s not. Nothing horrible either. But also not all fascinating. Long days. Numb bums from plastic chairs. But we have free espresso and water. Decent wifi. And a great mall across the road with lots of food options. Lisbon remains one of my favourite cities in the world. Two weeks here? No hardship (except for the exchange rate for kiwis).
For a core group of fans this is Fatima or Lourdes. They’re with their friends and sharing their passion and they are in-group and part of something™. For someone like me this can feel a bit alienating. But then I remember this isn’t my pilgrimage. It can’t be. And, if I reflect upon it, I don’t want it to be. As enervating as it can be sharing the squee moments, it’s also emotionally intense at times. The song you’re not arsed about turns your tablemate into a (contented) puddle of feelings. Then it’s your turn. Lather, rinse, repeat.
And we are on day two. Two. There’s 12 more to come!
OK fine, the songs
I am not inclined to give too much away about this year’s entries. I think people have a right to be pleasantly surprised when they watch a live Eurovision show. Before rehearsals I had no idea who was a contender: I could see several different narratives unfolding. After two days—bearing in mind that a few delegations who are not well positioned as of tonight will make the sort of tweaks to improve their fortunes—there are only a handful of the first semi-final entries who have no hope of qualifying.
There are perhaps five which are certain to qualify and another nine or ten that could. That’s rather amazing. And exciting! 2001 is the last time a total surprise winner happened that I can remember (the Azeri song in 2011 was well fancied before rehearsals, after all). A totally left field winner would be awesome. For my friends whose pilgrimages will continue in 2019 I hope next year’s host city is welcoming, warm, affordable and new.