I of course was delighted to go to Stockholm – being a lover of Swedish music and also a Nordic country. But leading up to EUROVISION I had a major personal crisis. I applied for two weeks leave for Eurovision and visiting some other countries in Europe. I actually put it my application for leave on the 26th of January (for May). My boss approved it. Luckily I made a photocopy of the signed leave form before it was passed on to the personal department. Then towards the end of February, my boss suddenly said I had to go on leave in March, I refused – I had nothing to do in March and my leave was for May. He then got the staff to turn against me, my secretary refused to do any work I gave her, my best female friend at work one morning ran into the male toilet when she saw me coming down the passage, just not to speak to me. I did not take this lying down and went to court. My boss claimed he signed my leave for March (and meanwhile had the leave form destroyed by the personal department). I went instantly to the labour court, it was expensive but the judge gave one look at my photocopy of the leave form where MAY was clearly spelt out and my boss signature, and said I must go back to work and with a sum of money as compensation. I did not want to work in such conditions anymore and then suggested that they send me on early retirement and pay me monthly a pension as if I do not work anymore. So I stopped working permanently but if I again work full time, the monthly pension would stop. Why work and have stress when I got a monthly salary (yes not as much as if I had worked), but I choose Eurovision above work and a career.
Since this all happened so close to Eurovision, I was not able to book good accommodation and this was my worst accommodation ever at Eurovision. The only accommodation I could get was at a youth hostel on a big boat in the harbour. I was staying in a cabin for two people but the horror was that the other person was someone new every night as most people stayed just a day while I stayed the entire week.
The venue was one of the best – GLOBAN and I liked the whole set-up. One slight problem was the fact that the international airport in Stockholm is probably the furthest away from any city center in Europe. But Eurovision provided me with free transport from the airport in a taxi and they even got someone who spoke Dutch to drive me from the airport to the city to make me feel at home.
2000 was the first I saw the OGAE fan stand. It was, however, totally hidden away somewhere in a side passage of the Globen and I did not think many people visited it.
Stockholm was also the year my paths crossed with Andreas from Vienna, Austria. I had known of him as I had a very good friend who was a member of OGAE Austria and he told me to be on the look out for Andreas, also a member of OGAE Austria who was coming to Stockholm. Andreas did not have accreditation so often during breaks, I went out to chat to him and helped him get some of the promo singles.
I can’t remember if the press got free transport, but I walked every day to Globen – it was a distance but a nice walk and I enjoyed it. Obviously my hostel on the boat was nowhere near any hotel where the delegations stayed so I could not use the delegation buses.
Like in Oslo, the pigeonholes were open and people wondered inbetween them and helped themselves to CD’s, especially the Croatian CD which came in the form of a tin box.
Latvia debuted in Stockholm with a great song and finally all three Baltic countries were at Eurovision.
Someone similar to Guildo Horn, in the form of Stefan Raab, was the German entry. The German selection again was nothing special – there was a Ralph Siegel song sung by Corinna May but it was not a very good song. I quite liked Fancy and “We can move a mountain” and “Bitter blue” by Kind of blue was nice as well and 100 times better than the Stefan Rabb rubbish. Once again Germany ended at the bottom of my rankings.
Austria had again a great promo campaign. This time there was a robot running around the press center. I cannot recall exactly what the robot did, but it was fun seeing him/her moving around.
I got on very well with the composers of the Finnish entry “A little bit” by Nina Astrom. The lyric writer is Dutch and he apologized for not mentioning Johannesburg in the lyrics.
The Malta entry was also good, “Desire” by Claudette Pace with music by Philip Vella and lyrics by Gerard James Borg.
Each Eurovision also has several parties organised by various delegations. Like all previous years I have attended, there was again the welcome reception at the Stockholm City hall on the Monday – it was a buffet. There was also a Danish party where you could meet the Olsen brothers. That took place on the Wednesday and was at the Globe hotel. Because there are just so many days during Eurovision, several parties clashed and BMG records and BBC Television had a party for Nicki French at Tip Top but also on the same night (and time) as the Olsen brothers party. Many press go party hopping, staying like 30 minutes at one and then move to the next. I normally only attended a party if it was really special or if the CD was only handed out at such a party.
My favourites were
Ireland – Millennium of love – Eamonn Toal
Latvia – My star – Brainstorm
Finland – A little bit – Nina Astrom
Denmark – Olsen brothers – Fly on the wings of love
Malta – Desire – Claudette Pace
And the ones I disliked
Germany – Wadde hadde dudde da – Stefam Raab
France – On aura le ciel – Sofia Mestari
Israel – Sa-meakh – Ping pong
To read previous years go to esccovers