A guest post written by Clare (in Sydney)
Eurovision is upon us again and this year it’s Sweden’s turn to host it. There’s been some moaning (I’m looking at you Graham Norton) at Australia being allowed to compete – this year on its own merits rather than the wild card they received in Austria. Admittedly, not only is Australia not only not in Europe (although this doesn’t stop Israel) it is almost 9000 miles away, so the decision may seem strange to the casual observer. However, this would misunderstand the long standing love affair that Australia has had with Eurovision.
Anyone who has seen Muriel’s Wedding will know of the protagonist’s love for ABBA. Everybody knows that the band got their big break as winners in 1974 but it is little known that it was only after their subsequent popularity in Australia that they gained their huge success worldwide.
For hard core Australian Eurovision fans, it’s not just about two 24 hour flights and a week partying in European capital cities. The whole year is dedicated to contributing to the Australian chapter of the Eurovision fan club in order to get enough credits to be in the ballot for the coveted fan zone tickets. My friend Niall’s inspired contribution this year was to create, with a nod to the host country*, these amazing Lego badges. Each Eurovision entrant has received one and Niall has a second set that he’s giving away to lucky fans at the event.
I’m glad that Eurovision has embraced Australia’s inclusion, because Eurovision as an institution has done more for inclusion and diversity than any other international event. And I’m glad that not only it hasn’t died on its arse as the cool brigade would have liked or anticipated, but instead has expanded, not only in structure incorporating semi-finals and popular voting but also geographically. Which is why at 5.00am on Sunday morning, me and Niall’s whippet Denver will be drinking tea** in bed in Sydney watching the voting.
Good morning Stockholm.
*Yes, I know Lego is from Denmark – let’s not be pedantic.
** Denver does not drink tea.