I'd seen the previews on Norwegian TV, and I already had my favourites which were Norway, Germany, Belgium, Malta, and Cyprus. It was already quite polished as a presentation, but some artists didn't take it as a dress rehearsal - there were jeans etc. The Russian artist however, wore his pink jacket with gold buttons, which he would abandon on the night. Souvenirs were on sale only at the point - Sweat shirts, mugs, T-shirts, pens were selling well. However in Dublin there was nothing to be had. Only the UK, and Irish songs were seen on sale, apart from an Irish Eurovision compilation CD, which had been issued last year. Dublin was hardly noticing Eurovision.
There were two other rehearsals, on Friday evening, and on Saturday afternoon, the latter being seen by the Juries all over Europe. We didn't get to these, but I have seen the last rehearsal at a previous Song Contest (this was my third) - it usually ends with mock voting to practice the all-important douze point stuff, and even a mock winner. The juries don't see this part, of course. (I have a friend who was a UK juror in 1989).
Hotels were well sussed-out. Sweden was in the Davenport, Portugal and Slovenia at the Temple Bar, and the more intrepid of our party did some stake-outs!
Jonathan King wore a multi-coloured afro wig, which certainly got him noticed. Asked about Norway's song he said it was obviously modelled on Riverdance. He was confident about Love City Groove beating it, though.
Before long it was time to take our seats at 7.30, but not before we got our freebies of a box of chocolates, a pen, a programme, and a tape of the Irish compilation mentioned above. We had to be in early so the President and Taoseach of Ireland could come in later. It was pretty hot in there, and there was real excitement. The big screens were displaying sound synchronization signals being sent over Eurovision, and the lasers were showing a clock ticking towards eight. We were rehearsed for our opening cheer, and before we knew they we playing our tune - the Eurovision theme (which, BTW is from 'Te Deum' by Charpentier), and we were off.
I can tell you the sound was great, and no Terry Wogan!, and we could see it all, even Hungary's blind (?) singer being led in. The stage looked much smaller, and brighter than it looks on TV, and those lasers in 'Love City Groove' shone right up to my seat. Not very pleasant! Near to me one fan flew his Croatian flag, and then partly folded it to become a French flag! Of course I flew Norway and the UK. After hearing them again, I still felt Norway was my favourite, but Spain and Cyprus had risen in my estimation, and I felt the new arrangement for Germany had much improved it. Denmark sounded poorer, by contrast, the pizzicato violins replaced by a xylophone. The monks interval act were actually on tape, apart from a few shots, so quite a few drifted out, but the voting was pretty exciting. The UK fairly quickly slipped away, but I was watching Norway. It was always strong but only became a sure winner after Israel's voting. The Norwegian contingent began waving 'Victory for Norway' straight away. I was very pleased - it had been my favourite all along. I promised to become unbearably smug, having forecast Norway as the winner before the show. Some of the fireworks at the end of the show failed to go off, and there was a minor panic after the end of transmission.
Norway came in to a massive cheer, and eventually got on stage to sing with Linda Martin. To Cruz from Portugal was there too, as were Love City Groove, not greatly disappointed. Hungary's Csaba Szigeti was walking about. Was he blind? The part fizzled away around 2.30, and we went back to our hotel, and talked until 4.30!.
Next day I bumped into To Cruz's dad at the Temple Bar hotel. Those Eurovision shirts get you noticed! He was very proud of his son's song which is a plea for racial tolerance. Vanilla and Chocolate is the English title.
Just then Frederic Etherlinck showed up and talked with Jan about a record Jan had promised him. They posed together for me and I noticed Frederic had a copy of the Cyprus song in his case. He was unsure of his future prospects. "This song is selling well right now, but who knows for the future?"
He was the last we saw, and it was home to reflect on a crazy weekend. Next year it will start all over again!
Finally, in case you want to sing along, here are the English lyrics to 'Nocturne' (Rolf Lovland / Petter Skalvan) :
Though darkness lay
It will give way
When the dark night
Delivers the day.
This article first appearred on Compuserve European Forum in May 1995. Written, and photographed by Geoff Harrison.