Something good…

entranceLast night (Thursday) the line-up for the Grand Final on Saturday was completed, with the addition of the final ten qualifiers. I hope your favourite songs made it through. I forgot to post our predictions, but both Brian and I got 8/10. We had seats up in the gods of the arena, but the atmosphere was amazing and people were as enthusiastic in our not so cheap seats (100 euro, btw) as they were in the standing area…

arena thursWith a clear view of the huge screens we were able to enjoy Måns Zelmerlöw’s performance as you see it at home. And boy, did it raise the roof! It is still the clear favourite to win on Saturday, and regular readers of this blog over the years will know that my default is basically that I am team Sverige every year, so it should come as no surprise that I want this song to win! Hopefully Måns is the man…

I was really disappointed that Malta didn’t make it into the final – but as I said in my review yesterday, it looked a bit too similar to Conchita’s staging last year. I was sitting next to a Maltese woman, and she looked in shock at their departure, poor thing.

I am gutted that Ireland didn’t make it through to the Grand Final on Saturday. That said, there is a far more important vote for Ireland today (Friday). Let’s hope that this time they get all the votes necessary to make some history…

With that in mind, you know that we are all about inclusivity here in the euro-bubble. And it goes without saying that all you reading are too. Something special happened when Conchita won the ESC last year, and it did bring to the forefront some interesting and much needed dialogues about tolerance and acceptance within Europe – particularly in relation to LGBT issues and human rights. As I said in a post recently, clearly the significance of her victory last year still resonates, in terms of human rights and LGBT issues. Indeed, at a meeting with Ban Ki-moon last year, he commented that her Eurovision victory really does send a “powerful message” for the promotion of respect for diversity.

Some gestures matter more than words, and one of the most ingenious ways of reflecting tolerance and acceptance is on the streets of Vienna this week. Literally – on the streets.

The traffic lights in the city have been modified, with the usual red and green lights now symbolising tolerance and love for same-sex couples. Deputy mayor Maria Vassilakou commented recently that “the city of Vienna is setting a signal for openness and tolerance” What a terrific idea! Quirky and fun, and yet underlying the point that, these days, these issues are as pedestrian as crossing the road…

red women

green womengreen men(I need to find the red men! – I will try and find them today! :D)

Today I am finally going to explore this lovely city more widely. There will be a trip to the arena this afternoon to watch the first full run through of the Grand Final, but today is more about Vienna than Eurovision for me. As always, I have been invited to do some media. You might have heard me on BBC Radio Lancashire this morning? Also, I was approached to go on The One Show, but I can’t be in London and Vienna at the same time! Well done to Dr Eurovision on all that he has achieved here in Vienna. He is heading back to the UK today, and I know that he will be popping up on shows like BBC Breakfast and others over the course of the weekend. Me, I obviously have a face for radio! 😀