Posted by: Sarah | May 31, 2010

Royaume-Uni Nil Points…It Can Only Be Eurovision!

The Eurovision Song Contest is, indisputably, the most popular annual event that people pretend not to watch.  Over 125 million people in Europe weren’t really watching it in 2009, while up to an estimated half a billion more elsewhere just had in on in the background  – Hummm!  As we all know, Eurovision isn’t a song contest at all, it’s a massive opportunity for people from different countries to conspire with their neighbours and vote for them and more often than not, in this great political voting contest, United Kingdom (Royaume-Uni) often gets zero (nil points).  However, it’s a true fact that the Norwegians have harvested the most nil-point performances (3 in total) and they also hold the distinction of having the most last-place finishes (10 in total), than any other country taking part!

Last year was one of three exceptions when Norway won the contest and given this happened the day before Eliot and I moved to Norway, I felt it fitting that I should be there exactly one year later to witness the final live!  So Line, my friend, and I loaded up on the flags, donned our party gear,  drank some wine before we got there (necessary I think) and left for the tournament which was being held 15 mins walk from our house!  I was particularly pleased with my homemade dual nationality ‘deely boppers’.  Incidentally, security removed my flag pole because it got in the way of the cameras…baa humbug!

When we arrived I was stunned – I have never witnessed patriotism on such a major scale with flags flying from all over Europe and the Middle East amongst the 18,000 strong crowd.   It was just one massive party with nations rubbing shoulders with other nations – no fighting, no bickering – just people united in one common purpose…music!  It was quite incredible!  Line and I quickly became aware of our immediate neighbours.  We had a quietly confident German couple sat in front of us, some chaps from Azerbaijan behind us (who were party mad) and a Russian couple to my left who I became especially acquainted with since I kept accidently smacking the chap over the head with my over enthusiastic flag waving technique.  He didn’t mind though – I think he was quite glad to have folks talking to him…especially when it came to the Eastern Bloc awarding “douze points” to their neighbours – Russia wasn’t too popular with the crowd!

Anyway, it was a brilliant night topped off by yet another TV performance from ‘yours truly’ when ITV grabbed my arm after the show to interview me (for non-UK readers, ITV channel is as popular as the BBC channel in the UK).  By this point I had drunk half a bottle of wine before the event and a pint of red wine during the event so I wasn’t very articulate, as you can imagine.  Suddenly a microphone was thrust into my face with the question “Why do you think the UK came bottom of the scoreboard?” to which I answered “Did we?”.  I honestly didn’t realise since I was just watching the top 3 countries changing backwards and forwards!  I think at this point the chap must have thought “I’ve really got the wrong person.  What has this woman been watching all night!!!”.   Once I composed myself, I started ranting on about creating a football song to get the crowds going “It’s something we do well in the UK and with the World Cup and all it would be brilliant…dare I say it but the French song really did go down a treat in the arena!”  At that point the interview was over “Thank you so much Sarah – you may go now”.  Thankfully I can’t find that interview on the internet and share it with you on this blog post.

Well, suffice to say I had a fantastic time and I want to share with you one of my absolute highlights – the Eurovision Flash Mob Dance.  An incredibly brilliant piece of orchestration where thousands of people from all of Europe and the Middle East danced live from their living rooms, the streets of their capital city and even in the North Sea!  It also includes the 18,000 strong audience in the Eurovision arena, who had to practice and practice before the show went live – it was like a workout.   I’ve also included a funny Graham Norton clip as well as the winning song of course!

Watch it all the way through – it really is superb!

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