Friday, 7 June 2013

Life sometimes looks better in June

So we’re all back to the humdrum of everyday life now, in our various corners of Europe and beyond, trying to eke out a living to pay for two weeks of quality music somewhere under the auspices of the Dannebrog. I may almost feel at home there, my town’s name meaning Danish Town. You see, we educate as well as inform and entertain.

I for one had an absolute ball in Malmö. From arriving in the sunny weather, sharing my modest accommodation with several randomers, to witnessing SVT get a grip on the show which was getting a little out of control.

Did the right song win? Well, according to the numerous sets of results that have appeared since 18 May, Europe’s jurors and televoters were largely behind the final result. I personally would’ve liked to have seen a closer result, but when 39 countries cast their votes it’s unlikely that will ever happen. But it’s been said before that the fabled bloc-voting and neighbourly points aren’t enough to win a contest. When Denmark scored big points from Hungary, Spain and Macedonia (FYR), you know that their song does have widespread appeal. Either that, or the whole of Europe is in on the joke except me. No, dear reader, on balance the right song did win and Europe roundly got what it deserved.

There are a few other things that have come out since we left Malmö. The ‘sponsoring’ of some websites by delegations is an interesting conundrum. On the one hand, when you read your favourite fan sites, you expect a certain amount of neutrality and objectivity about them. If a song is not being performed well, then we have as right to hear about it, as long as any criticism is constructive. Conversely, however, Phil has made the point that fans right songs too, and when this happens friends of fans might struggle with being neutral. I’ve been as guilty as the next Eurofan of this (wote for Malta/Estonia anyone?), so I think as long as a website is upfront about any loyalties they have, then I don’t have a problem with websites being assisted financially. After all, staying in certain parts of Europe is an expensive business.

The jury element of voting is something that those gnomes at the EBU may need to have a look at. Back in the day, each country would have a jury of about 16 people, of various ages and backgrounds. This arguably gave a very rounded approach to their results. I think a jury approaching this size might be a way forward. Five learnèd entertainment professionals may not quite be enough to properly counter the whims of national populations, and we should bear in mind that reputations and potentially huge amounts of money are at stake, so we need a result that is fair and representative. However, I fully agree with the new method of ranking every song in a (semi-)final, to give those songs with the broadest appeal the most weight.

If you’ve never suffered the whole Eurovision experience, then it’s something I would thoroughly recommend. With any luck, the SVT model used this year will be adopted by whichever Danish city gets the gig next year. The first few days where we were barred from the arena was in retrospect a good idea, as we were gently introduced to the lunacy that followed. The Euroclub in the evening was an ideal multi-purpose venue that could be expanded as necessary. The Eurocafe can be a bit hit or miss, but was definitely one of the best there has ever been. In particular, the cosy little interviews on there some evenings were an excellent idea, so hopefully they will continue in 2014. And it was nice to have ‘cheaper’ beer there than the Euroclub. Even for the average fan who just goes for the shows, there was plenty to do. The weather most definitely helped to create the happy atmosphere we all saw when we wandered around Malmö. And we mustn’t forget Mr Phil’s night in the Green Room with the geek that won them a prize. He will have been as happy as an Estonian who’s drinking free cinnamon beer in Olde Hansa, I’ll be bound.

Enjoy your summer, and keep dreaming of your country’s next/first Eurovision win. I know I am.

R x

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