The day finally came for us to travel down to Malmö. The ladies of the family took an early morning train, and I followed in the afternoon. For the long weekend of Eurovision fever, we had the company of an old friend from our Luxembourg days, Debbie.
By the time I arrived at the flat that we had hired, the female members had made themselves at home, and unsurprisingly some alcohol had been imbibed. I was very impressed with our accommodation, which we had got from a friend of a friend of a friend for an exceptionally good price. Not only was it spacious and homely, (we later found out) it was ideally situated, being pretty much central to all our intended destinations during our stay.
I had only a short amount of time to regain myself after the long and slightly painstaking train journey. Eurovision awaited, and by seven o’clock we were outside the arena, standing in one of the long queues to get inside. And then, just to our left, a small demonstration started.
Now, I enjoy a good demonstration, but this was definitely not one. The subject matter chosen was the Israeli occupation of Palestine (of which I know next to nothing), so I had no bone of contention with the issue, though for some reason it felt that the Eurovision Song Contest was the wrong platform for a political diatribe. If there is one event that deserves a respite from political issues, it should be the glamour, glitter and gayness that is ESC. The rubbish PA system they were using did not help, and I can’t imagine the message being heard by many of the assembled croud. But by far the most agonising part of the whole thing was when they ended with a rewritten version of ABBA’s Euro classic, ‘Waterloo’, which I shall give the title ‘Israel’. I cannot remember the words, but the whole idea and performance was naïve and very silly. And just to make sure they killed of any last bit of respect and self respect, they were awful singers. Slaughtering a classic song in the band’s home country, to a potential audience of ABBA lovers is not the way to get supporters to your cause.
The actual show was exactly how it should have been. The arena floor was untraditionally standing room only, and unbeknownst to us the floor was divided into two sections. This meant that we ended up in the section further away from the main stage. Our view was somewhat limited, bringing down the experience a tad. We relied more on the TV screens to see what was going on, but the ambience of the evening contributed enough to make it a very entertaining evening.
Day one completed, and a thoroughly enjoable day had by all.