World of Chig   

Chig’s Eurovision night - Part two

(Part one is below.)

I haven’t been able to take any notice of the opening act. Before the songs start, I speak to a guy standing near the bar, who I think I’ve met before. We establish it must have been at the Nightingale’s comedy night, over a year ago. Funny how some people stick in your mind, isn’t it? Probably because he’s lovely. Sunderland accent. I could speak to him all night. In fact, I often do, as he knows all the songs, so he is my reference point for the evening.

The opening song from Bosnia-Herzegovina passes me by completely. Must have been chatting. I hardly see anything of Spain. Just enough to drool a bit over Basty and think how sexy all of D’Nash look in white. The first one I actually stop faffing around for and watch properly is Belarus, which has people quite captivated by the whole act, wondering how those people are floating in the air. It does look brilliant on TV, but I cannot contemplate a Belarussian win. How can we go to the last dictatorship in Europe, where homosexuality isn’t tolerated? Shudder.

Next up is Ireland, and even in this club, with the booming sound, it’s obvious that this isn’t the performance we expected from Dervish. They were picked by RTE because they have years of live experience, continuing the move, which they initiated last year with Bryan Kennedy, away from talent show wannabes. How ironic and awful then, to hear the singer sounding nervous and out of tune. This is such a shock and a disappointment. The Irish blood running through my veins goes cold at this point and I am reminded how it can go horribly wrong for anyone.

I force people to concentrate when Slovenia comes on at song 7 and tell a certain DJ/producer before it starts that he should get his hands on this track. He agrees with me when he’s heard it. In fact, I won’t be surprised if an unofficial remix appears.

I’m chatting to people way too much and giving out scoresheets to late arrivals. I’ve already realised that I’ll have to watch this Eurovision another time. Tonight is not the night. Because we’ve moved downstairs to the main dancefloor, I seek an assurance from the duty manager that we are going to stick with this until the end, with the sound on for all of the voting. The whole reason we didn’t plan to be on the main floor is that ‘other’ people would be coming in, expecting the DJ to be on, from about nine. My worst fear is that this will end in vision only, watching votes flying in to a soundtrack of the Freemasons and Kylie. It’s okay though. The duty manager is telling everyone who wants dancing to go upstairs, where the DJ will be on from 10pm. He tells one group of young people that Eurovision is on and one of them says. ‘What’s Eurovision?’ He replies, ‘It’s been going for over fifty years. Surely you’ve heard of it.’ Blank looks all round.

London boy Sarbel looks to be shaking it okay for Greece, but by this time the sound is starting to be drowned out by the growing crowd, so I can’t tell if he’s in tune or not. (I understand now that it was a bit dodgy.) I’m so concerned I’ll forget about the Scooch-related goodies when the time comes that I decide to give them out earlier, rather than wait until the UK is on, so I don’t miss the performance. I spend most of Sopho and The Ark’s performances going round the club with a tray of lollies and little bags of peanuts, saying ‘Salty nuts sir?’ and ‘Something to suck on madam?’ to punters, to reactions varying from bemusement to people who totally get what I’m doing. (I didn’t explain to anyone.)

Goodness only knows what happens when France are on. I don’t remember seeing them, but Latvia sound superb and I begin mentally counting my money from my 25-1 each way bet. One of them’s very sexy as well, although it in no way makes up for the others.

I’m keen to see Russia, so I watch them quite attentively. I think the whole performance is superb, as is the lighting of the stage. Yay! More money. Roger Cicero next seems excellent as well, as I also watch the cute German bar boy for his reaction. He's too busy. Then I pop over to the bar and alert some lesbians to the fact that it’s Serbia next and they might want to watch the screens. I go back to watch another excellent performance from Marija. At the end, a bloke shouts over, ‘The lesbian vote is in – they said that was shit.’ Honestly, some people. I then remember what I wrote during the afternoon about UK people not getting Balkan ballads, but I smile to myself, think ‘you’re all wrong’ and think about PaddyPower again, which makes me feel all warm inside. Or is that the two glasses of champagne?

When Ukraine comes on, people are transfixed. Of course, I haven’t seen this before either, just photos and the video of the Ukrainian national final, and it seems much more obvious right now just how little song there is in this performance. By this point I am standing at the bar, because it’s funny to watch people’s reactions, but I am also singing along, perhaps a little too loudly, shouting ‘EIN, ZWEI, DREI’ and holding the appropriate number of fingers in the air on each note. Some people probably think I’ve gone mad, but I find the whole thing very entertaining, even the bit where Verka hobbles around in those boots and pinches the bum of one of her team.

Scooch next, so I’m paying attention again. As the intro plays, Wogan is still burbling on right up to the point where Russ does his spoken intro and I’m screaming, ‘He’s starting! Shut the fuck up! Oh my god, he even spoke over the UK’s vocals.’ There is much tutting going on in the club. The man’s an idiot. I can’t believe he’s still being allowed to ruin this show. From what I could hear, Scooch sounded good, and the whole routine is bright and colourful. I’m still wondering if we can get any points from anywhere, but they seem to have done their best. What more could we hope for?

I must have been chatting over Romania. Bulgaria was fantastic, as I kept insisting to people around me who thought it was awful, then Turkey, then the bog roll tree of Armenia. “We try to get the loo rolls out of the trees in Balsall Heath”, I quip to some nearby bloke. I miss Natalia from Moldova as I’m speaking to Miss M about what we’re going to do next. Did she show her crotch again? Natalia, I mean, not Miss M.

Miss M announces that people should give their scoresheets to me, so they do. I miss the whole interval act, as I’m standing behind the bar adding up the points. It’s easier than I’d feared though and I can do all 24 sums in my head as there are only seventeen scoresheets and two of them have to be ignored. It’s a higher percentage of spoilt papers than even a Scottish election, but one of them has votes for fifteen countries and one has fewer than the required ten. I’m vaguely aware that the interval act seems to be nothing but two run-throughs of the reprise, but I’m not looking. Was that it? Those shirtless Latvian boys whipping themselves with twigs in 2003 have never really been challenged as best interval ever, have they? (Please don’t say Riverdance, thank you kindly.)

The voting starts before I’ve finished doing the sums, but I keep one ear on it, knowing that it will go on for several weeks and Fearne Cotton won’t be giving the UK points until slot 40 of the 42. I notice that the points are going to the expected countries right from the start and I’m happy. I decide to go on the mic and announce the club’s top ten from the stage, before it all hots up. So I get the DJ to turn down the TV sound and I stand on the main stage and sing ‘This is my moment…’

No, I didn’t. I made up that bit. But as soon as the sound went down, I said to the assembled throng, which was quite a lot of people at this stage, that I would be quick and only announce the club’s top ten and they could still watch the Eurovision voting on the screens. Despite this, I sensed that my appearance was about as popular as a pig in a synagogue, so I rattled through the top ten really quickly.

And the Nightingale’s points went where?

I think it’s time for a break (and a day at work after eleven days off!)

Part three tonight.

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