Wednesday, 22 May 2013

You Wanna Go To Eurovision?

The Benefits of Crazy Ideas...
by Jo Michelmore, living it up in Europe!

Eurovision. It's done. It's over for another year. I explained the beginning a few weeks ago, just a simple Eurovision gathering in a friends lounge room last year and an innocent conversation turned into an adventure I had only ever dreamt of, but it's happened. I have been to Eurovision. At the thought of the idea, I was questioned; "You're doing what?" and some mocked, but those that got it really got it and something that sounds so complicated from somewhere as far away as Australia was actually so very simple.

That conversation, "you wanna go to Eurovision?" and the answer "why not?" turned into the holiday of the year and a night I'll never forget. Sometimes crazy ideas really are crazy and that's what makes them the best and sometimes crazy ideas teach you valuable lessons.

Sweden is a beautiful country and Malmö, host to this years Eurovision was breathtaking, but this isn't a travel blog, so I'll save those stories for somewhere else. However, in the cobblestone streets of that delightful little town is where my Eurovision experience truly began. I witnessed a little teen hysteria first hand. When you see cameras and minders and hear girls squealing in the street, you just have to investigate. A little running, dodging of traffic, a couple of Swedish apologies and what we found was a group of people gathered around a cute boy, who we later found out was Robin Stjernberg, Sweden's entry in Eurovision and runner up in Swedish Idol. It's funny how hysteria works, because even though I had no idea who he was, a little teenage part of me wanted a photo....

Lesson one: when you hear teen hysteria, investigate. You can only be rewarded and trust me, it's hilarious.


That excitement done, next we stumbled across Julia Zemiro, host of Australia's telecast of Eurovision. It was probably the loud Australian accent that gave it away, Julia with bags of shopping and a girl, chatting so excitedly to her about how she'd traveled all this way to see the spectacle. I'm sure Julia is a lovely lady, but my friend and I watched from a distance and witnessed the slow backward movements Julia was making, trying desperately to get away so she could finish her shopping, have a coffee and buy another souvenir. Just seeing her in the street was enough for us, it made Eurovision seem like an actual reality. It was. It actually was.

Lesson two: people on the TV like shopping in peace too. Don't bother them too much. They need a Sweden snowdome as much as the next tourist. Leave them be.


Malmö Arena is not large, but the excitement that surrounded it at Eurovision time was massive. The crowds were covered in flags of every country imaginable (European and various others) and the positive vibe of the fans is not like any I've experienced at any gig before. I've no idea of most of what was being said or sung around me, but it was all being done with a smile, so I like to think it was all good. Someone handed us flags, I have no idea which country they represented, but that flag was waved at every opportunity, just like the magical light up wristband we were given as a memento. It's not hard to have fun at Eurovision, the pop beats are addictive and the songs are simple; don't think, just enjoy.

Lesson three: sometimes the karaoke rule applies to other aspects of life too. Open heart, open mind and everyone has fun.


The girl that sat next to me in the arena was alone. She showed me her ticket and in broken English asked me if she was in the right seat. I said yes and we proceeded to have a conversation about how we all got to Eurovision. She was from Russia and had traveled to Sweden that day just to see her favourite singer, Dina Garipova. She loved that we were all the way from Australia and when we said our fave was Denmark, she agreed to cheer loudly when they performed. We did the same for our new Russian friends fave.

Lesson four: Sometimes it's worth chatting to strangers. You never know, you might end up dancing to cheesy pop music with them and that's unforgettable.


The night was too short, but at the end my face was hurting from smiling so much. There was glitter, there were fireworks, there was a giant man and some cute boys, there were undisguised political statements, a lot of choreography, there was Loreen and a whole lot of hilariously catchy pop songs. It's a once in a lifetime experience I hope to make a two, three, four and more times in a lifetime experience.


Ultimately, the biggest lesson is this. Sometimes you or someone you know are going to have some crazy ideas in life. Don't ignore them. Remember those crazy conversations. Have them again and again. Take those ideas and follow through with them, make them reality, turn them into memories you'll never forget. What do you have to lose? If they don't work out you'll have a really good time planning them. Thankfully, my love of all things music took me to a holiday far away from home, to places I may never have visited otherwise. Eurovision is now forever one of those crazy ideas I brought to life...and a whole bunch of hilarious memories and stories that my beautiful friend and I will share for a long time.


Here's a crazy idea. Eurovision 2014? We're going. Anyone else interested?

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