Monday, May 26, 2003

Some of you out there in blog land may not be aware of the bizarre phenomenon, which is the Eurovision song contest. For way too many years now, the countries of Europe have come together on one special Saturday every year, to judge each others ability to produce the lamest, corniest and downright bad pop music. It’s a contest which has produced any number of appalling songs over the years but has now become some sort of camp classic.

This Saturday, we went to our first ever Eurovision party. Jonny and Katja were our hosts. The idea being that people were allocated a country and would then attempt to dress in the style of that nation, also if possible to bring food and drink from the country as well. So far, so good, we drew Iceland! Now it’s fair to say that our knowledge of Iceland was pretty limited, so it’s lucky for us that we have the wonderful research facilities that the WWW can offer. Fairly quickly, we had found an interesting page of Icelandic recipes and an interesting sounding Pepper cookie recipe stood out. We could find no specific Icelandic drink, so we purchased an odd clove based alcoholic cordial to take with us. What to wear though? After a couple of fruitless days of thinking and searching for ideas, I woke up on Saturday morning with the blinding obvious idea of wearing very warm clothing. Obviously Iceland is a pretty cold place, so to show solidarity with our Icelandic brothers and sisters, we set off to the party dressed for sub zero temperatures, as the rest of Bristol was walking around in T Shirts!

Our glamorous hosts had bagged Russia for themselves, so we were met at the door by a great Joseph Stalin look-alike. Pretty soon most of Europe was represented in the house and the competition was about to start. Iceland was the first country to take to the stage and we tried to cheer on the rather lame song, which our temporary countrymen had adopted, but it was hard work. At least it meant that I could remove my hunting hat and coat (not that I ever hunt), scarf and extra thick gloves. Next up was the truly bizarre Austrian entry, a marked contrast from the normal “boom-banga-bang” euro song; it bought an amazed hush to the busy room.

Eventually all the songs were sung, the varied collection of drinks were being drink with great gusto by all concerned and the food of Europe was buying scoffed with vigour (those Icelandic biscuits were splendid by the way). The voting began, each nation post votes for it’s favourite song and it’s always great to watch the political elements of the voting. Hence Latvia gives Estonia 12 (maximum) points and vice versa. The race at the top of the leader board was pretty tight between Russia, Belgium and Turkey but it was even more interesting at the bottom. The UK for the first time in its history ended with 0 points a fantastic thing! Was is the result of a post Iraq backlash or was it just the awful song, sung so flat it must have been run over by a steam roller.

Anyway Turkey won, and we all got drunk (except Orynthia, who was driving) as strange fruit liqueurs and vodkas were mixed to produce potent concoctions. Next year it’s going to take place over two days. Can’t wait!


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