by Catriona Mills

Eurovision 2012: Semi-Final Two

Posted 1765 days ago in by Catriona

And here we are for the second semi-final. Well, not quite. But let’s just get it all set up now, shall we? Then we can get back to picking on people’s outfits.

Before we got started, I had this conversation with my mother this afternoon:

MOTHER: I rang to explain a lie I told you.
ME: Really?
MOTHER: I didn’t mean to. But I said we’d watched the Sherlock you gave me, but we thought we’d re-watch it the other day, and we realised we’d never watched it at all.
ME: Are you sure? You didn’t watch it and forget?
MOTHER: Well, that’s possible.
ME: We had a long conversation about it!
MOTHER: I know!
ME: You told me which episodes you liked!
MOTHER: I know! But I hadn’t actually watched it yet.

The burning question of the hour is “Why are we not listening to SBS Eurovision radio right now?”

Oooh, actual Eurovision semi-final!

Is anyone else filled with a burning desire to visit Azerbaijan? It just looks so pretty! And who is making these green rooms?!

Gosh, that blue dress the host is wearing is pretty. Gorgeous colour and a lovely fit.

This awkward host banter is awkward.

Serbia – Zeljko Joksimovic – Nije ljubav stvar
Apparently, the song is called “Love is Not a Thing.”

NICK: Also? Love don’t cost a thing.

I always hope women are going to pop up out of any piano that appears on the Eurovision stage. I mean, it’s not a fetish or anything. Does everyone remember that woman popping up out of the piano, or am I sounding really weird?

Does this song sound deeply familiar to anyone else?

I swear I’ve heard this song before. Am I having flashbacks to something other than Road to Eurovision?

It’s not terrible, it just sounds so, so familiar.

NICK: It sounds a bit like Scottish Highlands folk music.
ME: But I don’t listen to Scottish Highlands folk music.

Nick also thinks it’s “Euro-bombastic.” This is a positive thing, judging from his tone.

FYR Macedonia – Kaliopi – Crno i belo
Kaliopi is a good name for a singer.

I like the suit, but the hair is completely distracting. It looks, from some angles, as though she’w wearing a purple wig over black hair. I’m sure she’s not—or is she?

Actually, I can’t talk: I said to Nick this morning, “how does my hair look?” and he actually snorted. Don’t worry: he still lives.

Oh, this song just turned it up a notch. Not bad.

So far, this semi-final interests me much more than last night’s.

The hair looks better now, too, since they changed the lighting.

Netherlands – Joana Franka – You and me
Oh.

My.

God.

Is anyone else feeling really awkward about their ethnicity right now?

Also, that really doesn’t go with an evening dress. Those are two competing levels of formality, right there.

NICK: Well, musically, this is making me wish I was blind.

This is awful on so, so many levels. Mostly racial.

NICK: It’s screaming Apple iPad advertisement, but the visuals are all wrong.

Malta – Kurt Calleja – This is the night
Goodness me, Azerbaijan is beautiful. I want to go there very much.

I hate this already. I don’t have a reason. Well, except the hair. And the line, “Hey, look at me. Can’t you see, I’m into you?” Get away from me, creepy stalker dude.

Seriously, “This is the night. This is the night. I won’t be stopped”? This is creepier than “Hungry Eyes”.

NICK: This is the strangest advertisement for heart surgery that I’ve ever seen.

Also, it’s a bit flat. Not musically. Well, I don’t know about that. But in terms of energy levels: it’s just … a bit flat. Yes, even with this strange guy in the lemon-coloured trousers. And the fireworks. And the perfunctory key change. And that note! God.

Belarus – Litesound – We are the heroes
I like the random gazelle tagging. There aren’t enough gazelles in Eurovision, as a rule.

NICK: Oh god! They’re Reavers!

Don’t they know that the Reavers are never the heroes? They’re the villains, dude. The villains!

Oh, this does nothing for me. I’m sorry. I obviously jinxed it by commenting on preferring this semi-final.

Wait, what’s with the leaning?

That key change was slightly less perfunctory.

They even seem to be singing “We are the Reavers”.

NICK: We are the Reavers. We’ll come and eat ya.

I said to Nick, “Is it wrong that I kinda want to see Rock of Ages?” and he said, “Why? Did it awaken something in you?” Don’t worry: he still lives after that, too.

Portugal – Filipa Sousa – Vida minha
I’m always keen on the ones where they bring in something a bit different. Hopefully, this is one of those.

That dress looks fantastic when she’s moving, but not quite so flash when she’s standing still.

NICK: Okay. This going to need at least three key changes to be interesting.

And that was the perfect opportunity for a key change! But did we get one. No. No, we did not.

Also, if you’re called “Sousa”, I expect something a bit more bombastic.

Ukraine – Gaitana – Be my guest
I was going to say “What’s with the outfits?”, but then I remembered that Julia insisted on calling this a “big gay anthem.”

ME: Blue Man Group branching out a bit?
NICK: To the rest of the spectrum.

Nick thinks she’s being upstaged by her own floral arrangement. We’d also both like to add that we were not at all keen on Julia’s description of this song.

But neither of those things are as important as the question of what the back-up dancers are wearing. Sorry: I mean what the hell the back-up dancers are wearing.

NICK: Traditional Ukrainian by way of Hypercolour, maybe?

Ooh, I don’t think she hit that.

Insert your “hit that” jokes here, if you must. But you probably don’t need to.

Bulgaria – Sofi Marinova – Love unlimited
NICK: You’ve got to read the fine print on these “love uncapped” plans.

The outfit is terrible, and as far as I can tell, this song is about the Luftwaffe. Am I missing something?

NICK: The outfit’s a bit Star Trek: The Motion Picture by way of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys.

Nick can’t hear the references to the Luftwaffe that I keep hearing.

Oh god: Catherine wheels! I was once chased around the garden by a poorly secured Catherine wheel. True story. Also, isn’t that a horrific kind of concept on which to base a firework?

Slovenia – Eva Boto – Verjamem
Oh good: a hood.

NICK: She’s only sixteen. I can’t be too critical, I guess.
ME: Yeah, but she’s not the one wearing the hood.
NIK: Every year there has to be a Druidic entry.

See-through dresses and random leaning. Not really my cup of tea. Though she might want to talk to Peter Jackson if he’s thinking of adapting The Silmarillion.

ACK! I just got a good look at her dress!

Um, don’t panic, anybody, but I think the Triffids are taking over the world. Starting with the Eurovision costume room.

NICK: They’ve cornered the market on voluptuous back-up singers, too.
ME: Nick!
NICK: I’m just saying!

Croatia – Nina Badric – Nebo
Oh, even the Azerbaijan food looks fantastic! Pomegranate! Let’s all go to Azerbaijan!

Oh good: another ballad.

Even the back-up dancers are bored by this. I move more enthusiastically at my physiotherapy appointment.

And, for the record, I like blokes in skirts. There’s jut nothing to get excited about in this.

NICK: Ooh, is she about to be defeated by those singers in white? Because that would be pretty cool.

I think I fell into a coma during this song.

Sweden – Loreen – Euphoria
So this one’s the favourite? She was charming in the interview, but I’m not sure. I’m just not sure.

I do like her fancy cardigan, though. I’m a sucker for a cardigan.

NICK: Her kung fu appears to be very strong. So she’s got that going for her.

Then he added, “Look, it’s Euro-cheese, but it seems to be aged appropriately.”

Of course, he is quite drunk. And so am I.

NICK: She does throw shapes pretty well, too.

I don’t feel committed to this song. It might be my native contrariness coming to the fore, though.

NICK: She’s doing pretty well, considering it’s snowing. That must be hard. Snowing. No shoes. And it’s Eurovision.

Georgia – Anri Jokhadze – I’m a joker
Right, who’s coming to Azerbaijan with me? This is glorious!

Oh no! Mad monk!

NICK: Look, monks are a pretty versatile character class. I’m just not sure you can defeat Eurovision with one.

White piano! A woman better come out of that. (It’s not a fetish.)

NICK: Costume change! He’s changed from a monk into a douchebag.

Oh, what the hell is happening now?

NICK: This is what I live for as far as Eurovision’s concerned, though.

This really isn’t doing anything for me. At all.

Turkey – Can Bonomo – Love me back
NICK: I quite like Turkey’s entry most of the time.

I’m prepared to like one, honestly.

NICK: Okay, there’s a bit of cape action. Six seasons and a movie!

Nick and are I liking this because we saw him interviewed and he was terribly charming. Plus, as Nick says, “He has a kind of grin like, ‘Hey. it’s Eurovision’.”

NICK: I’m not sure if the steampunk Batman motif is really working for his back-up dancers, though.

Prepared to like this as I am, it’s … kinda not working for me. It sort of is, but I need something else to happen. Something other than what’s happening now. Which is swirling capes.

Okay, making a boat out of your capes counts as “something happening.”

NICK: There’s a Bahktinian thing happening!

Estonia – Ott Lepland – Kuula
The Ronan Keating of Estonia? Tell him I hate him! Or tell him I hate Ronan Keating. That might be simpler.

Oh, I think I just travelled twenty years back in time. No, make that thirty.

NICK: The back-up dancers are going to have to re-enact the Spanish Civil War to make this interesting.

This is about the third song I would swear I’ve heard before. This time, I think it was a Bon Jovi B-side.

Not that I listen to Bon Jovi B-sides.

Ahem.

He’s hitting his notes and, as Nick says, he’s got a nice voice. Plus, not-at-all-perfunctory key change!

We’re now totally behind this boy, despite the fact that his waistcoat is chained together.

Slovakia – Max Jason Mai – Don’t close your eyes
I’m just going to like this on principle.

ME: Oh, what a shame. It’s just not ’80s enough.
NICK: He’s not wearing leather pants. There must be some export restriction issues.

Although that jacket is pretty ’80s.

He’s got energy. I’ll give him that. And I am a sucker for a man in heavy eye make-up.

NICK: Thank you, Slovakia.

Norway – Tooji – Stay
“From the ridiculous to the sublime”?

NICK: I think we’ll be the judge of that, thank you, Julia.

Moore hoods? And slow-motion walking? I think I hate this.

If we’re talking about “the sublime to the ridiculous”, shouldn’t we be talking about those pants? ‘Cause they ain’t sublime.

NICK: This song is basically three different choruses.

ME: Okay, nice flame effects.
NICK: Oh, god. They’re not even finished yet.

Bosnia-Herzegovina – Maya Sar – Korake ti znam
Another piano, another failure of a woman to rise up from inside it. (Not a fetish!)

The shoulder pads are impressive, but look a bit too much like a leftover from the Once Upon A Time wardrobe department.

NICK: The outfit looks like Necromancer dolling up for a night on the town.

And it is not flattering from behind.

I am so, so bored by this stuff. So bored.

Stop trying to make me feel things, Bosnia and Herzegovina!

Lithuania – Donny Montell – Love is blind
Is he wearing a blindfold?

Oh, I see, It’s a literal metaphor. Doesn’t that rather defeat the point of, you know, a metaphor?

ME: Am I getting old, or are these love songs a bit creepy?
NICK: Well, when you’re wearing a blindfold, it’s creepy, yes!

I just can’t get behind the Bedazzled blindfold. (Unlike this chap. Boom boom!)

NICK: Like a rhinestone blindfold!

Cue gales of hysterical laughter.

NICK: All is forgiven, Lithuania!

If you can’t believe she’s gone, you might want to take the blindfold off more often.

NICK: Do a few more somersaults. Bring it home, lad. Bring it home!

I think this is meant to be James bond, but it’s just pervy.

And that’s the semi-finals. Don’t worry: I’m staying here for the voting. I’m just going to be a little bit quiet for the interval act, unless it’s completely hilarious.

And now we have the constant re-playing of the acts.

For the record, Nick and I are partial to … not The Netherlands! Not the Netherlands! We’re partial to … well, very few actually.

Turkey, because they made a boat out of their capes.

We wouldn’t be surprised is Sweden won, but it didn’t do much for me. And Nick described Georgia as “awful, but quintessential Eurovision.” Nick also thinks Estonia will go through, and I concur. Slovakia, we liked.

I have added my tres ’70s poncho on top of my winter ensemble, because it’s suddenly freezing, and the poncho was right there. Plus, it just feels Eurovision.

NICK: This is like The Avengers of Eurovision!

I’m still loving that blue dress on the host: it makes her look about seven feet tall, and the colour is magnificent.

I’m not recapping the songs from Azerbaijan and the big five: I lived through the OH MY GOD TWO PEOPLE IN GAS MASKS KISSING last night.

But here are for the winners. Sort of. We have to deal with some awkward host chat first.

1. Lithuania. Really? Lithuania? Okay, then.
2. Bosnia & herzegovina. Are we sure they’re reading the winners?
3. Serbia. No surprises there.
4. Ukraine. I’m not liking any of these. And neither is Nick.
5. Sweden. Zero surprises there, then. Except that they didn’t leave her till last.
6. FYR Macedonia. Yeah, that was okay.
7. Norway. Oh, I’m so bored by all these. Bring on Turkey!
8. Estonia. I’m am so not surprised. I am a bit bored, though.
9. Malta. I have forgotten Malta already.
10. Turkey? TURKEY! Thank goodness.

And that’s semi-final two. And with that, that’s the Eurovision live-blogging for another year. You know I don’t live-blog the final, because of an urgent need to get drunk. But I’ll be back here in 2013, unless something horrible happens in the meantime.

Let’s hope that doesn’t happen.

Eurovision 2012: Semi-Final One

Posted 1766 days ago in by Catriona

I’m getting this whole thing rolling a little early, so I can be ready when the actual music starts.

As always, Nick will be moderating comments as we go, even though I just tried to break up with him, because he claimed that he’d never heard Johnny Logan’s Hold Me Now.

I don’t know what’s wrong with that man, sometimes.

To really get into the Eurovision spirit, I’ve also spent part of the evening adding tassels to my lovely, lovely orange, green, and brown pseudo-poncho, which I intend to wear for the final.

NICK: Hey, do you want a drink?
ME: Yes. Yes, I do.

Apropos of nothing, I am typing this while sitting on my new carpet. It’s exceedingly exciting, because we’ve lived in this rental house for nearly eleven years and no one but us has ever walked on this carpet before. Except the people who installed it. You couldn’t say that about the old carpet.

Hooray! Eurovision!

Oooh, I love the bombastic Eurovision music. I’m marching round the living room right now, in fact.

I hope the male host isn’t a jerk this year. Have we ever had a male host who wasn’t a jerk, though?

A quick poll for the comments, while I’m getting started. Am I cold enough to wear my cardigan? I can’t make up my mind.

ME: That host was born in 1989?
NICK: Jesus. But he has facial hair!

And we’re starting with Montenegro.

Montenegro – Rambo Amadeus – Euro Neuro

Really? He loves both Mozart and Rambo? I would never have guessed that. And also? Why?

Oh good: a Trojan horse.

NICK: When did they start letting Sith Lords into Eurovision?

I don’t know how to feel about this. Somebody tell me!

I suspect it needs to either be less insane or more insane. At the moment, it’s not insane enough to attract me but too insane to actually be, you know, watchable.

Iceland – Gréta Salóme & Jónsi – Never Forget

Now, I’m trying to work out whether this is the Jónsi from Sigur Ros. If it is Sigur Ros I’m thinking of. Oh, who am I kidding: my knowledge of Icelandic ambient post-rock is shocking.

ME: Shall we have a quick game of musician or serial killer?
NICK: I’m waiting for a maypole to descend.

That robotic arm movement is really distracting.

The song’s not awful, and I daresay it’ll go through. It’s not my cup of tea, I admit. And those four men just standing on the stage are completely bizarre—oh, wait. They’re singing now. Good.

Also I think a couple of them might be women, now I look properly.

Key change! Drink!

Greece – Eleftheria Eleftheriou – Aphrodisiac
I’m worried already about this song, just on the strength of the title.

Yep, those are legs. But that’s … that’s not an outfit. It barely covers one side of her and doesn’t cover the other side at all! I hope she doesn’t take any of it off: there’s barely enough as it is.

The illuminated clam shell is classy—and symbolic.

This is so Eurovision. “You make me dance, like a maniac. You make me want your aphrodisiac.”

Firstly, doesn’t sound like an aphrodisiac is necessary. Secondly, that’s a bad euphemism. Bad euphemism!

NICK: Every inch of your aphrodisiac, from the sounds of it.

Blame him! Not me!

Latvia – Anmary – Beautiful Song
A self-referential song about winning Eurovision. Oh, really? Oh no.

NICK: What’s with the staging? It’s like an Amway convention.
ME: In 1965.

I am so, so bored.

The staging’s pretty, though.

Did she just name-check Mick Jagger in the middle of this song? I just … I can kind of see where she’s going with this, but it’s not doing a single thing for me. Costume change? Key change? Fireworks? Something! Anything!

Was that a key change? It was a bit perfunctory. Really, you can’t even manage a key change?

Albania – Rona Nishliu – Suus
Azerbaijan is pretty, huh?

I do like the songs that aren’t in English. It’s so much more boring when they’re all in English.

Not typical Eurovision, eh? That can be a good thing or a very, very bad thing.

Unlike that hair, which is just a bad thing.

NICK: She looks like one of the Bene Gesserit.

The problem with this being in Albanian is that I feel I should be having an emotional response to this, but my Albanian’s just not up to it.

NICK: She’s telling us that fear is the mind killer.

Oh, do you think she meant to miss that note?

Is her hair actually trying to kill her, d’you think? This is really starting to feel like an out-take from Once Upon A Time, and I feel bad saying that, because there’s probably something really traumatic and painful behind this.

Bit like that note.

NICK: I want to give her a hug and tell her it’s only Eurovision.

The chappie from Iceland is quite charmingly mad. Or Icelandic. I can’t quite tell.

Romania – Mandinga – Zaleilah
This is only song six? This feels as though it’s been going for forever. Maybe that was just Albania.

Why did they bring seven people and then make Tony the trombone player sit in the green room? Poor Tony!

Oh.

Um.

Oh.

NICK: Why? Oh, god. Why?

I can’t process this song at all: I’m too distracted by the bagpipes and what Nick calls the singer’s “leather control knickers”.

Then again, when have I ever talked about the songs in this live-blogging?

Still, flame-throwers! I do like flame-throwers.

Switzerland – Sinplus – Unbreakable
Oh, good. Fake guitar playing. And English lyrics in a transatlantic accident.

NICK: It’s a little bit Nickelback at this point.
ME: Nick!
NICK: Okay, that was a bit harsh. Sorry, Switzerland.

Does anyone else get the impressive that he’s struggling to keep up with the pace of the song? It reminds me of the time Nick walked too quickly down the hill to the laundry and ending up trotting frantically in an effort not to face plant.

Only with singing.

Oh, and they’ve got things shaved into their hair. I can’t be having with that. No, even the flame throwers aren’t helping here.

Belgium – Iris – Would You?
Julia, if she’s only 17, then you really shouldn’t be asking that rhetorical question.

The staging’s been really pretty this year. But if she’s only 17, they really should have checked her dress with the back-lighting before she actually performed.

I’m amazed she can even open her eyes with those eyelashes.

The song? Totes boring. As Nick says, there better be a key change.

NICK: Hmm. Key change, but I didn’t feel it.

I looked up just in time to see her grasping for the camera. I may have screamed out loud.

Finland – Pernilla Karlsson – När Jag Blundar
I’m liking Finland just on the strength of that lovely green dress. Such a pretty colour. And that’s how you wear a dress in front of a wind machine!

Plus, not in English. Bonus.

Of course, I don’t think I’d have matched both my nail polish and my eye shadow to the dress, but what do I know?

NICK: She’s okay, but she’s no Lordi.

I quite like this, actually. It’s about the only one so far that I haven’t deeply hated.

Israel – Izabo – Time
Azerbaijan is awfully pretty. I had no idea.

Retro? Oh, lord. Give me strength. Though I do like the Hebrew/English combination.

Oh.

My.

God.

You see, there’s good retro. My pseudo-poncho, for example. And then there’s bad retro. This, for example.

NICK: The bass player’s doing some retro ’60s dancing. Okay, now he’s humping the bass drum. Less impressed by that.

Quick poll: this is awful, right?

San Marino – Valentina Monetta – The Social Network Song
Nick complained about this song for a full half hour, and he’s already forgotten about it. He’s a fickle creature.

Oooh, social commentary. She says, on her blog.

“If you want to come to my house, and click me with your mouse”?

The song-writer’s not really got any idea what cyber-sex is, does he? Why would he need to come to her house, if it’s cyber-sex? The mouse comment also makes me suspect he doesn’t have a good grasp on ordinary sex, either.

On another note, those pants are horrific. And I don’t know why there’s a cheerleader.

I’m frightened …

I’m not big on gimmicky songs, but I’m even less keen on rubbish gimmicky songs.

Cyprus – Ivi Adamou – La La Love
Nick has been looking forward to this one ever since he saw the singer an hour or so ago.

Sam Pang’s a bit obsessed with bridesmaid dresses tonight.

Well, the dresses are okay, but who on Earth would wear them with knee-high socks and then wear those knee-high socks with sandals? And I’m saying this as a woman with a poncho, people!

The song is deeply dull. So deeply dull that I’ve only just noticed that her bodice is see-through.

And have we had a single costume change yet?

NICK: She put a lot of faith in her tailor just then.

All the key changes have been a bit perfunctory, haven’t they?

Denmark – Soluna Samay – Should’ve Known Better
It always goes so quickly once it starts. Only five left after this.

Writing your first song at ten is really only impressive if the song’s not, you know, terrible. I’m not saying it was terrible, I’m just saying we can’t say it’s impressive in and of itself.

Oh god: epaulettes. And sunflowers! I’m anticipating a flying space dolphin any minute now.

What’s missing rain? I can’t quite make it out. Of course, I also can’t quite care. Oh, she’s good enough, but a bit dull. Still, at least she can hit her notes.

Russia – Buranovskiye Babushki – Party For Everybody
Good on you, Russia. Glad to see you’re breaking the mould here.

Is that actually an oven behind them?

This is the first song I’ve bopped along to all night. I’m officially going for Russia.

I’m not anticipating a costume change here, though.

I think this is the first time anyone’s ever baked during their Eurovision performance.

I love the Russian grannies so much. So adorable. And having so much fun.

Hungary – Compact Disco – Sound of Our Hearts
Oh, good: a hood. I hope it’s not another Montenegro.

I was inclined to like Montenegro, too, because of Nero Wolfe. Then he actually started singing. Shame, really.

Do you think Nero Wolfe would like Eurovision?

Not keen on this being in English, but at least it’s not another ballad.

Hooray! Flame-throwers.

Nick’s throwing his vote behind Hungary. I guess they’ve got a Goth vibe. The music’s a bit swinging, too.

Okay, I’ve got to give these guys credit. It’s not boring. There’s a lovely swing to it, and they’re certainly whole-hearted.

I’m not big on the “oh-oh, oh-oh” bits, though.

Austria – Trackshittaz – Woki mit deim Popo
I just skipped straight over Austria and into Moldova. So confusing, for a moment.

Oh god: there actually is pole dancing.

NICK: This is the douchiest thing I have ever seen.

Then he made a comment about waxing, which I’m not going to repeat here. He’s not wrong, though—and the cameramen are making sure we know it.

Please, please don’t let Austria get through. I don’t want to watch this again.

NICK: You know who else was from Austria …
ME: Nick!
NICK: It’s a meme! It’s a meme!

I can’t blog my reaction just then. Imagine gales of hysterical laughter.

NICK: I need help reacting to this!

Moldova – Pasha Parfeny- Lăutar
ME: Well, this is lively and terrifying.
NICK: The perfect Eurovision combination.

Nick just pointed out that the singer looks like Colin Farrell in knickerbockers.

I have no idea what’s happening here, but it’s refreshing to see the women in something other than stilts.

We can’t work out his jacket, though. Nick thought it was a crotchless kilt, except it doesn’t seem to have a back, either. So it’s just sides? Why? Does he need extra pockets?

Key change!

I’m not hating this. I hated Israel. But I’m not hating this.

Ireland – Jedward – Waterline
Final song. Here we go!

NICK: Paladins of daftness! Bless them.

Somehow I can’t bring myself to hate Jedward. I know they’re ridiculous. But I think they know they’re ridiculous.

Lord, they make me tired, though. Where do they get all the energy from?

Are they in a fountain? Or is that a fake fountain? Either would be awesome.

Oh, bless.

Oh, slightly awkward gymnastics! Aren’t they adorable?

And that’s the performances over. But look! They’re put in another one of those completely identical Eurovision voting rooms that look like something out of the Galactic Senate. Who is making these things? Is there a factory devoted to their production? Or do they just re-use the same one and move it across Europe every year? I need to know! The identical Eurovision voting room is one of the great unsolved mysteries in my life.

I’m still here, by the way! Just sitting back and waiting for the votes.

For the record, Nick and I were partial to Finland, Russia, Hungary, Moldova, and Ireland.

Oh, the free-entry six!

England: Well, yeah. That’s what I expected.
France: OH MY GOD WERE THOSE TWO PEOPLE IN GAS MARKS KISSING?! WHAT THE HELL, FRANCE?
Italy: Not terribly exciting. Bit boppy, I suppose.
Azerbaijan: Oh, good. Another ballad.
Spain: And another one. Ballads galore!
Germany: Forgotten it already, actually.

The results!

1. Romania. Not one of my favourites.
2. Moldova! Hooray! We loved them.
3. Iceland! No surprises there. And they look so happy, bless them.
4. Hungary! Nick’s very excited. He really bonded with Hungary. That’s two of our five.
5. Denmark! Even fewer surprises there.
6. Albania! Oh, wow. I don’t want to hear that again.
7. Cyprus! I think that’s a vote for the bodice, myself.
8. Greece! We’re doing this in silence, because the sound’s gone. Is it just us?
9. Russia! Hooray! Bless the Russian grannies.
10. Ireland! I knew it. Nick was terribly worried, but of course they went through.

So, no Israel. No Montenegro. Not too worried about those.

See you again tomorrow night, all? I’m off the make tassels.

Eurovision Semi-Finals 2012

Posted 1767 days ago in by Catriona

It’s been such a completely crazy time lately, with the renovations and the teaching, the marking and the scholarly bibliography (and the chapter edits. And the … oh you get the idea) that I haven’t made something very important clear to you, lovely readers who put up with my intermittent updating.

I will most definitely be live-blogging the Eurovision semi-finals again this year.

Tonight and tomorrow night, just like every year.

As I said on Facebook earlier, I’m quite witty, until I get too tipsy. So, kind of a reverse Terry Wogan.

Join us! It’s bound to be completely mad, as always.

The Never-Ending Renovations

Posted 1771 days ago in by Catriona

We’re in the end stages, now, of the renovations that began in February. We must be. There really isn’t anything left to renovate at this stage. But the last step is the living room. And in a little six-room house like this, with no dining room or any other communal living area, the living room is pretty close to half the house.

So I took rec. leave from my cataloguing of Australian speculative-fiction film and television on Friday (because, lovely as all the tradesmen have been, I just have to have my house to myself again), and tackled the living room this weekend.

Of course, the problem was that the living room looked like this:

It was housing the spare room and the study, though not, I might add, the hallway, which had already been restocked. True, the spare room and study had been the first rooms done, but then they’d become home to the contents of the main bedroom, while it was painted.

It’s like an enormous game of Tetris.

And I always sucked at Tetris.

Under those circumstances, there’s no greater sign of victory than visible carpet. Especially carpet that hasn’t been visible for weeks.

Of course, visible carpet is a short-lived victory when you live with a dedicated hoarder:

I also became sharply aware of the fact that the phrase “dust sheet” is in no way metaphorical:

But slowly, very slowly, it all started to fall into place:

Of course, better is relative. But this is better. It’s the result of an entire day’s work and pushed my poor back well past its endurance levels (never very high), but it’s definitely better.

There were some small hiccups, like finding an entire box of classics after my classics shelf already looked like this:

But, eventually, I regained my living room:

Just in time to strip everything out of it, and shove it into the spare room.

By bedtime, my poor living room looked like this:

It hasn’t been so bare since we moved in here ten years ago. Naturally, it looks even worse now, because everything’s under dust sheets and the carpet’s lying in the front garden.

But this must be the finish line. There really can’t be anything left in this house that hasn’t already been renovated.

Strange Conversations: Part Four Hundred and Fifty-Eight

Posted 1777 days ago in by Catriona

NICK: Given how much stuff we apparently have, it’s surprising that we—mainly you—manage to keep it looking so neat.
ME: Yes.
NICK: We use our space well.
ME: We?
NICK: I’m trying to express … I don’t want to make it sound like you’re the domestic … the domestic … This isn’t going at all well. Oh, dear.

Work/Life/Home Imbalance

Posted 1782 days ago in by Catriona

Strange Conversations: Part Four Hundred and Fifty-Seven

Posted 1783 days ago in by Catriona

ME: Oh noes. Oh noes! OH NOES!
NICK (from the bathroom): Treena, what is actually happening right now?
ME: I’m having trouble getting my cardigan on.
NICK (from the bathroom): Is this something I have to prevent myself urinating over?
ME: Not really.
NICK (from the bathroom): That didn’t come out right.
ME: Well, there’s your problem.

The Random Chaos of Renovations

Posted 1784 days ago in by Catriona

This week, the hallway and main bedroom are slated for painting. This leads to a complex game of Tetris (or, perhaps, Jenga), since the contents of the spare room and the study are still clogging the living room, after last week’s painting. So, rather than move all that material back and then move the hallway and main bedroom ephemera into the living room, we’ve just shuffled.

So my living room is full of my study and my spare room.

My spare room is empty, bar the actual furniture, because we need to sleep in there from Wednesday.

And my study is full of the hallway and main bedroom (which would be less of a concern if the hallway didn’t house three enormous bookcases).

All is chaos and strange juxtapositions.

But don’t think that either the chaos or the fact that my lads lost the FA Cup final will stop me from live-blogging the Eurovision semi-finals. Watch this space! Well, not tonight, but soon.

Strange Conversations: Part Four Hundred and Fifty-Six

Posted 1785 days ago in by Catriona

ME: I didn’t get around to mopping the bathroom floor after I dyed my hair.
NICK: That’s okay. I’ll do it later.
ME: Well, there’s isn’t any point mopping it later, because it will have dried.
NICK: True.
(Pause)
ME: See, I think when I said that, you thought, “Woohoo! No need to mop!” I was really more thinking, “So go and mop it now.”
NICK: I like to think of it as an interesting difference in perspective.

Strange Conversations: Part Four Hundred and Fifty-Five

Posted 1785 days ago in by Catriona

ME: As I said in the note, I always like to be colour co-ordinated at home, in case there’s an unexpected missionary and they think I’m a slob.
NICK: (Laughs)
ME: That wasn’t a joke, babe.
NICK: I know, but it was still funny.

Strange Conversations: Part Four Hundred and Fifty-Four

Posted 1788 days ago in by Catriona

Hmm.

ME: Honey, I’m sure you can see that it’s really annoying to have to tell you the same thing over and over again because you don’t listen.
NICK: I think the solution is for you just to tell me properly the first time.

Hmmm.

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