Eurovision fan of the day - Matt from Adelaide
What is your name and where are you from?
My name’s Matt and I’m originally from Adelaide but now live in south London.
I moved over here in 2009 expecting to stay for a couple of years, do some travelling, and head home, but somehow I’m still lingering here nearly 9 years later. I still call Australia home but I guess now I regard Adelaide as my sentimental home and London as the actual. I do try and get back at least once a year and I make a point of keeping in touch with what’s going on over there in terms of politics, music, and sport (and I’m battling valiantly to hang onto my accent).
Always love hearing from Australians overseas, you can always have two homes! ~ Aussieivision
Tell us something interesting about yourself?
Not sure it’s especially interesting, but I’m mad about food and I love to cook. I work in insurance which doesn’t allow for a great deal of creativity, so when I get home I enjoy getting stuck-in in the kitchen. My Instagram feed is basically an eating diary punctuated with the occasional travel snap and the very occasional selfie. A lot of people see cooking as a chore, but after an 8 hour day staring at numbers and proof-reading documents, I find a bit of chopping and stirring helps me to wind down. I’m at my happiest when I’m pottering around in the kitchen and find it rewarding whipping something up from scratch.
I’m also a mad AFL fan which, living over here, means a lot of crazy early starts on weekends. I’ve been a Crow since I was a kid and I had season tickets when I lived in Adelaide. I used to travel interstate often to go to games and was lucky enough to get tickets to our winning Grand Finals in 1997 and 1998. Mercifully, I was in Estonia for last year’s disaster so I didn’t have to endure that one live.
Last year was a triumph, yellow and black! (For non-Australians that means my team won) ~ Dale
On to Eurovision itself – when did you first get into the contest?
I’ve been into it for as long as I can remember, but it’s only since moving to the UK that it’s become a major thing.
A friend had a party the year Euphoria won and in a drunken haze we declared that we were definitely going the following year. The morning after I’d assumed it was just drunk-speak, but we did actually end up booking tickets for Malmo, we went, we loved it, and now Lisbon will be the sixth year in a row.
I think I enjoy the build up as much as the event itself. To me, half the excitement is the slow drip-feed of songs in the lead up to May, the debate and discussion as to what the public like and don’t like, and speculating as to how countries will present their songs live. There’s a lot more to it than the live shows, and I always feel like the people who insist on hearing songs with fresh ears on the night are missing out.
Now you live in the UK do you end up supporting them as well as Australia and have you noticed any differences between Australia and UK's view on Eurovision?
I generally support Australia, though did make an exception last year because I preferred Lucie Jones’ song to Australia’s (sorry, Isaiah). I’d obviously also love to see the UK win at some point because it’d be terrific if we could host here in London.
In terms of the difference between Australia and the UK, I think Australia just seems to ‘get it’.
Our entries have generally been pretty strong and the whole package each year has been fairly solid.
I think the UK tends to be a bit stuck in the past when it comes to Eurovision.
The BBC often tends to dwell on the ABBA era, or past glories like ‘Love Shine A Light’ and ‘Making Your Mind Up’.
Sure, the Bucks Fizz skirt tearaway is great as a GIF, but the competition has modernised since those days and it’s now a slick, contemporary production. I feel like the BBC needs to go further in modernising their coverage too.
Preach to all of the above!
Do you have a favourite Eurovision year? Why is it your favourite?
I can’t think of a stand-out year in terms of the selection of songs – there are always plenty I like and plenty I don’t like, but I did enjoy Copenhagen as a host city.
Their event was well organised, I loved the ‘Eurovision Island’ venue (getting a boat over there was fun), and the arena itself seemed to work well. The bar was easily accessible (very important), the venue wasn’t over-crowded, and the stage was spectacular. They did a great job.
Which Eurovision song
Is your favourite?
Ani Lorak’s Shady Lady (Ukraine, 2008) – no question. An absolute banger.
A fine fine choice, she was brilliant ~ Dale
Salvador’s plodding dirge (Portugal, 2017) did nothing for me.
A big part of Eurovision for me is seeing how entries can use the stage, camera angles and LED screens (R.I.P.) creatively to help maximise the impact of their 3 minutes. Conchita’s staging the year she won ticked every box. Great vocals, terrific projections and it was beautifully shot. There was one particular shot where the camera flew in towards her face from the back of the arena while she belted out the big, climactic note, and it was executed perfectly.
Salvador and Co may think “music is not fireworks”, but the whole stripped back thing is just not my bag. If I wanted to watch someone perched on a stool in the dark, I’d go to an open mic night at the pub. I come to Eurovision for the spectacle and while it’s obviously a song competition, the song itself is just one cog in a much larger machine.
I’m probably preaching to the choir, but I’m still in a state of denial that Dami Im didn’t win. She was the star of the night for me. She belted it out of the park vocally, the staging was perfect for her, and she managed to elevate what was a decent, serviceable song into a Eurovision powerhouse. People still talk about that performance now, whereas if you asked me to hum the melody of Jamala’s 1944, I think I’d struggle.
I think Lucie Jones for the UK deserved a far better finish last year. To me, she was easily one of the best acts of 2017 and, like Dami, she managed to take an OK song and turn it into something really special live. I’d love for the BBC to send her again. She just gets it.
Iceland’s Hear Them Calling from a couple of years back was really unlucky to miss the final, too. The song was great and the staging was very well done – in fact, the projections were so good, Britney borrowed them. I’m still baffled as to why it didn’t seem to resonate with voters.
I think you hit it on the head there though, Lucie was good but it was just an ok song, so hence the result... ~ Mike
Had the best live performance?
A bit left-field, but the first one that comes to mind is Armenia’s LoveWave (2016).
I mentioned earlier about making use of the stage and this one threw everything at it. Flame cannons, frenetic camera angles, great lighting, and Iveta herself had a really striking look and a strong stage presence.
That first minute is everything, and you aren't the first to nominate that!
Did you last play?
I’ve flicked the switch to Lisbon-mode at the moment, so my Eurovision listening is very 2018 heavy.
Eleni Foureira’s Fuego (Cyprus) is probably being played most frequently at the moment but I gave Saara Aalto’s Monsters (Finland) an absolute belting when it first came out.
Is your guilty pleasure?
Of this year’s lot, My Lucky Day by DoReDos (Moldova) – but there’s no guilt, all pleasure.
The lyrics make no sense, the live performance is dated, and the video leaves many questions unanswered:
Why are they in Mykonos? What is with that oversized hat and why is it being shot from 10 different angles?
Still, I love everything about it. It’s pure, camp, ridiculous fun and it’s the sort of entry every Eurovision needs at least one of.
Israel’s Golden Boy is another one. As far as lyrics go “before I leave, let me show you Tel Aviv” borders on the atrocious – yet, how could you not love it?!
(Don’t answer that.)
Both those songs are absolutely classics - great choice! ~ Dale
Any other interesting honourable mentions?
Tooji’s ‘Stay’ always goes down a treat at Eurofest – as does Ivi Adamou’s ‘La La Love’. I’m all about the bangers.
Which songs do you like for the 2018 competition?
Excluding Jess, if I had to narrow it down to three, I’d go Israel, Finland and Cyprus.
(Secretly hoping Israel wins because Tel Aviv in May ’19 would be ideal.)
Why should or shouldn't Australia be in Eurovision?
Imagine the voting without Lee Lin Chin?!
A finer argument has never been made
Are you happy with the choice of Jessica this year for us and her song 'We Got Love'?
I love the song and I’d put her in the same league as Dami Im as a live performer. If they can manage to get the staging right, I think she’s a definite contender.
Without LED screens there’ll be more pressure on the artists themselves to deliver this year and Jess’s live vocals at the pre-parties have been top shelf. We couldn’t be in more capable hands. I’m a proud Mau-boy this year.
And finally favourite Australian song – Sea of Flags, Tonight Again, Sound of Silence or Don’t Come Easy?
There’s no competition, is there? Sound of Silence is in a league of its own.
Dami’s performance was nothing short of iconic. That last belting note, arm aloft, dress twinkling, crowd roaring, will rightly appear on the highlight reels for years to come.
Anything else you'd like to share?
I feel like this tedious ‘fast food music’ debate demeans Eurovision and is completely at odds with the whole purpose of the competition?
Music is entirely subjective and means different things to different people. Some people prefer songs with deep lyrical weight and meaning, others prefer lighter songs that make them happy and are fun to dance to. One type of music isn’t automatically better than another by virtue of its lyrical make up or its genre.
There’s enough to go around for everyone – surely that’s the entire point of Eurovision?
Thanks for your time Matt!