That’s it, all over for another year! We had our Eurovision fest last night. Caits made caramel popcorn and all five of us settled down for a night’s viewing. The drawback to the event is that it starts at 9pm French time, so drags on until midnight, definitely too late for Rors, and I’m no night owl so it was an effort for me too. However, the host nation was suffering more. Since Azerbaijan is so far east, it was midnight their time when the show got going! Rors determinedly stayed up long enough to see Jedward, the Irish group, perform at no. 23, although by then we had a massive thunderstorm in progress and the satellite reception was breaking up! That wasn’t fair! Anyway, we saw most of it and I thought the zany twins in their weird outfits did really well and deserved to do a lot better than finish 19th, especially when countries like Moldova and Serbia beat them. Crazy – but then the marking in Eurovision always is. I was rooting for Malta this year as that song caught my fancy but they did fairly dismally too!

I rustled up some score sheets for me, Caits and Rors, so we could mark each of the singing, the stage act and the outfits out of 20, this being France where the vicesimal system rules. However, Rors came up with his own fiendish scoring scheme with smiley or grimacing faces. Caiti added cryptic comments to her sheet, such as ‘Batman clones’ for Turkey, ‘she forgot half her dress’ for Romania and ‘boring, waily’ for Azerbaijan. My only comment was ‘why?’ for the UK. They really could have done better than wheel out a retired crooner.

Chris and Benj didn’t do scoring, but Chris reckoned the wailing snake woman of Albania was growing on him whereas Benj was fairly dismissive of all the music. We all cheered for France’s entry, more for the Olympic gymnasts in the background than Anggun herself though!

It wasn’t my favourite, but at least Sweden’s ‘Euphoria’ performed by Loreen was a worthy winner, even though she was wearing pyjamas. It’s a club song and has been a massive hit in the more easterly parts of Europe. She kept the Russian grannies out of pole position, by a massive margin of over 100 points. The grannies were sweet but were riding the novelty ticket and this year people wanted a genuine song.

Baku's Flame Towers

It was a splendid affair in the beautiful oil-rich city of Baku. The Crystal Hall, built in seven months at an undisclosed cost, was a wonderful venue. However, it wasn’t until January this year that it was confirmed this would be where the contest would take place. Until then, most people had thought that the Tofiq Bahramov football stadium would host it. It has 45,000 lights on its exterior. Clearly, being an oil nation, Azerbaijan is in global-warming denial!  These reflected the flags of each country, which was a nice touch. Also contributing massively to both light pollution and climate change were the Flame Towers. These are residential buildings, incorporating some retail and office space, that cost around €400 million to build. Their facades are gigantic display screens, composed of 10,000+ LED luminaires. They look awesome but it’s kind of aggravating when, like many other people, here at Les Fragnes we do everything we can towards being conscientiously green and conserving the environment – walk and cycle rather than drive, recycle everything possible, use low energy lightbulbs etc etc. In Azerbaijan they obviously don’t give a monkey’s!