It might be a Song Contest, but Eurovision is more than just the three minutes on stage in front of the world. It’s a contest that brings together people from around the world – Norway’s “share the moment” was pretty close to the mark.
But those people, the fans, each one of them has their own story, a view on Eurovision unique to them. We thought it was time these stories were heard.
I’m Liam Clark, a 23-year old writer from Melbourne, Australia. And I’m a Eurovision fan!
I was sixteen and living in my hometown, the semi rural city of Albury-Wodonga in south-east Australia, when I first discovered Eurovision. I had always been an avid fan of pop music, and for some time had been aching to get away from home and explore the world, see some foreign cultures and learn a foreign language. Then, that autumn evening in 2003, I happened to be looking for something to watch when I happened upon the start of Eurovision.
Perhaps shallowly, I initially began to watch because I thought Renars Kaupers (that year’s co-host with Marie N in Latvia) was cute, a sentiment I still hold to today, but as each country rolled out one after the other I became more and more hooked. By the time Mija Martina had finished her performance of ‘Ne Brini’, I was hooked. The song had everything – it was up-tempo, a language change plus a couple of key changes and all from a country I barely remembered existed. I was in love.
Since then I have spent a great deal of time researching the history and obtaining all the past music and videos I can, and much to their frustration or enjoyment, harassing all my friends to watch with me.
In 2009, I was invited by a friend to start writing for the now defunct ESC Time website. After a short stint there, a number of us broke away, and in early 2010 ESC Daily was born.
Being so far away from the action and in bed when most of it happens anyway, I found my stride not in reporting the news, but as an interviewer. Regardless of what my role may be, I find that being a part of the action, no matter how small, makes me feel such a sense of pride and accomplishment.
The other big highlight of working on a Eurovision website is making new friends. Be it singers I’ve interviewed, writers from my site who I had never met, or even writers from other sites. For every person on a rival site who hates you, there’s one who respects what you do.
For an obsessee like me it was inevitable that one day I would get to attend the Contest. My dream came true in 2008, where just over a week after my twenty first birthday, I arrived in Belgrade ready for the adventure of a lifetime. Despite my second least favourite song winning, I had an amazing time and felt for the first time in years that I wasn’t that weird guy who liked Eurovision. I felt that I was among friends… friends with unpronounceable names, but friends all the same.
While I love so many of them, there are three that have stuck out most and have all taken a turn at being my favourite Eurovision song.
If asked this question for just the years 2003 to 2005, the answer would of course have been the aforementioned ‘Ne Brini‘, the song that hooked me into Eurovision in the first place.
Once I started delving into the history of Eurovision a little more, I discovered a little gem in the form of the Swedish entry from 1972, Family Four’s ‘Härliga Sommardag‘. This song seemed to me to be happiness in its purest form, and for many years whenever I felt down or just wanted to feel “more happy”, ‘Härliga Sommardag‘ was the go-to song.
My love for the 1972 entry was then overtaken in 2008 when I discovered what I still consider to be my favourite song, ‘Senhora Do Mar‘. When Vania took the stage in Belgrade during the second semi final, which I was present at; everyone was arm in arm attempting to sing along. Thus, this song just became magic for me. I was one of the hundreds and hundreds of people who can be heard screaming “Portugal!” when Jovanna asked who people wanted the final qualifier to be. So when it qualified, I naturally went nuts. Even though it did not take us to Lisbon 2009, for me it will always be the song with the greatest sentimental value from my adventure in 2008.
Thank you , Liam!