Right. I’m home now. I’ve had my first cup of tea, my first Irn Bru and the first batch of washing is in the machine. These initial steps of acclimatising back to ‘normal’ life have begun. So before pastel da natas, Vinho Verde and Super Bock (amazing beer btw) become nothing more than a taste of the past I wanted to share with you all my intoroduction the world of the ‘Eurovision bubble’
Excluding the night of the final I really couldn’t have asked for a better time in Lisbon over the last two weeks. I have made my feelings perfectly clear in yesterday’s post on what I think about Saturday’s stage invasion. I can’t deny that it soured my enjoyment of the Contest, it was a moment that messed with the heads of number of people including myself. The EBU are incredibly fortunate that in the last two years the stage invaders have no worse motive than showing an arse or being an arse. Both Jamala & Surie’s incidents could’ve been far worse. Rather than nonsensical banned lists and ineffective security the EBU actually need to put plans into place stop this from happening again in the future.
Now we’ve got the negativity out of the way I do want to say just how much I loved Lisbon in many other ways as a host city. The people were very friendly and welcoming in and around the Contest. Every taxi driver I chatted to wanted to know about the show and what we thought of the city. I got quite the sense of civic pride from the people of Lisboa and I can totally understand why. Whether it was the lovely volunteers who helped us in the press room, the delightful folk in the press/fan lounge who made sure there was always enough beer after we asked them to order more or the delightful family run cafe we had our breakfast in, the Portuguese were absolute beauts.
Feeling the buzz within the press room during the fortnight is an undoubted privilege. Being in a room with hundreds of people who share the same level of passion for the Contest (if not, a lot more so) was an honour. The big laughs and surprise when we first saw the Moldovan entry, the giddy joy that embraced the press centre every time the San Marinese robots had a new sign and the reverent silence that fell in the room during Lithuania’s jury semi were three of my particular highlights. It could quite often be a fairly intense place to be but I cannot convey just how privileged I consider myself to have shared in that experience.
Without a shadow of a doubt though the finest thing about this adventure has been the friends I’ve made along the way. I knew a small number of Eurovision folk irl and a few off Twitter. In reality though I knew only knew a few people and was very daunted going into the press room on Day 1. It didn’t take long shake off the ‘imposter’ feeling thanks mainly to the warm welcome I received from those around me. Our little corner right at the back of the press centre felt like family by the end of the fortnight. Our group sharing in the joy and laughter of all the Contest had to offer could not have been better. Such an intense period could easily have been incredibly overwhelming but thanks to those around me it was one the finest experiences of my life. My Eurovision was not about the songs, the stagings or the voting. It was all about friendship and for that I cannot be more grateful.