James with Poli Genova (Bulgaria 2011 & 2016, plus JESC 2015 Host)
Welcome to Meet The Team, a series of articles introducing ourselves to you, the Eurovision Irelanders out there! During this fortnight, we will also be meeting our extended family, along with other members of the press and delegation members too. Next up is one of our writers, James.
What Are Your Earliest Memories Of Eurovision?
My earliest Eurovision memory is singing along to Gina G in 1998 at the tender age of 8! The first time I remember actually watching the contest itself was in 2002 just in time to watch the end of voting and Latvia’s win. It wasn’t until 2005 that I started watching on a regular basis and became the Eurovision mega-fan you see today!
What Is Your Favourite Eurovision Year?
I have a few years that rank very highly with me, but if I had to pick just one, I’d have to say 2012. There were so many songs I loved that year, and so many that I am convinced would have been winners had they entered in other years! Spain, Estonia, Russia, Germany, Iceland… all fantastic songs!! 2012 was also a great year for me personally, and the songs from that year’s contest were my playlist that whole year!
Which Eurovision Song Contest’s Have You Attended?
The first Eurovision I attended was in 2015 in Vienna. It was my first time in the stadium for a final and it was AMAZING!! Such an electric atmosphere and really felt like being a part of history. I am also hoping to get a ticket for this year’s final in Kyiv – fingers crossed!
What Is Your Favourite Eurovision Entry?
Oooooh I hate this question!! There are SO SO SO many I love!! I have favourites by country, by genre, by language… hmmm… I’ve been persuaded to name Yugoslavia 1990 as my favourite, Tajči with “Hajde Da Ludujemo” – this is such an awesome upbeat 90s Yugo-pop track and never fails to make me smile, dance and sing along!!
Video Source: Gustav Waldijk/Youtube
What Are Your Best And Worst Eurovision Moments?
Eurovision is made up of incredible moments! Last year’s Love Love Peace Peace medley was a real high point, as was San Marino finally making it to their first final in 2014. But of course, one of the funniest moments in all Eurovision history has to be the voting in 1981 – classic!
“Can we have your votes please Yugoslavia?”
“… I don’t have it!”
My worst Eurovision moments are always not seeing my favourites qualify. The ones that still hurt are Andorra 2008, Slovakia 2010, San Marino 2013 and Iceland 2016… *sobs*
Which Five Eurovision Artists, Alive Or Ressurected, Would You Invite To Your Fantasy Dinner Party?
For my Eurovision dinner party, I’d invite Ruslana as her victory was the reason I started watching the contest. Valentina Monetta would be another as I’ve loved all her Eurovision entries and she seems like a lot of fun. I’d like the chance to chat to Hajrudin Varešanović in Bosnian as his song “Lejla” was what inspired me to learn the language. For my last 2 guests, I’d invited Greta Salome and Verka Serduchka – I love Greta’s style of music and Verka I think would just be a riot!
What Is Your Favourite Host City?
I’ve visited 3 cities whilst Eurovision has been on: Vienna, Stockholm and now Kyiv. I’ve loved each city for different reasons, but for now Vienna has been my favourite. It’s one of the places I love most in Europe and will always hold special memories as my first full Eurovision. But I’m suspecting Vienna and Kyiv may tie very soon… Stockholm is a close 2nd/3rd only as I was only there for a week and spent some of that in Helsinki… long story….
What Is Your Guilty Eurovision Pleasure?
Guilty pleasure? Hmmm… I think a lot of my favourite ever-entries count as those! “Casanova” by Gisela for Andorra 2008 is very camp and upbeat, but I love it for just that reason! Oh, and I recall dancing along to San Marino 2016 rehearsals for “I Didn’t Know” with Richard in the Globe!!
Finally, What Does Life Look For You Outside Of The Eurovision Bubble?
Outside of Eurovision I’m a teaching assistant at a primary school in London. I’m also an avid traveller and writer. If you want to check out my books Europe in a Day – Day Trips to the Continent and The Complete Eurovision Song Contest Year Book are both available from Amazon. My most recent book, Just Enough Ukrainian for Eurovision was written for the 2017 contest and will help Eurovision fans heading to Ukraine to talk about the contest with new Ukrainian speaking friends!
Author: Richard Taylor
Source: Eurovision Ireland