This year would have marked the 65th anniversary of Eurovision.
Sixty-four years of big hair, wind machines and pyrotechnics up in smoke. For this year anyway – the year I made the decision to experience firsthand the highs, the lows, the costume reveals and the money notes. The year I sweated over three laptops simultaneously logged in to the second round of ticket sales and won and lost tickets in less than five heartbreaking minutes. And won again.
The year I booked a flight to Rotterdam before learning what hosting Eurovision does to the price of accommodation in a city. The year I gritted my teeth and spent twice the airfare on a week’s stay in a tiny studio in Rotterdam.
I’ve been a Euro-tragic for many years.
I have mostly conducted my obsession in the privacy of my loungeroom. Every Eurovision grand final Saturday night since they were small, my children would make themselves scarce. They knew my guilty secret and didn’t share it. By which I mean they didn’t share the love: they did share my secret, voicing their opinion of their mother’s strange taste in entertainment to anyone who’d listen. It didn’t stop me from trying.
From the billowy depths of the modular sofa du jour – sparkly cardboard headgear firmly in place – I would ask the question. I always bought extras just in case. I did have takers one year – I may have referred to a recent near-death experience when pleading my case – but all is fair in love and Eurovs. And to be fair, my daughter and her partner seemed to really enjoy the entertainment, both onscreen and off.
So much so that – the following year when I was living in France – they convinced my sons and their partners to gather around the television on grand final night.
I like to think of it as a tribute-to-Mum Eurovision viewing.
Equally touched and miffed that it had finally happened when I was 16000 kilometres away, I was impressed with the amount of effort put in to the loungeroom extravaganza. My offspring had devised an obscure method of scoring – wildly inaccurate as all apolitical scoring techniques must be – with the results written in chalk texta on the sliding glass doors to the balcony.
‘Quinnovision’ was born and I still can’t bear to clean the doors.
It was never repeated. I still struggle to find company for the 5am Sunday live grand final telecast. Hardly surprising I know. What is surprising is that this year, my daughter and her partner had planned a 12-month round-the-world trip, stopping in at Rotterdam in mid-May, and had invited me to join them there for the grand final. You know the rest.
So maybe I’ll get there one day, and maybe I won’t. And in light of the havoc and decimation being wreaked by coronavirus, I know I’m lucky. If this year’s Eurovision is my Waterloo, the spirit of Abba is my strength. The invitation alone was enough to make me ‘feel like I win when I lose.’ And there’s always next year.