So that's how I came to be in Dusseldorf at the Jury Final of Eurovision 2011 (50% of the total score is based on a jury from each country, the other 50% is based on the public telephone votes). I actually found it a lot more fun than I'd expected - perhaps helped by the fact that there were several non-traditional Eurovision songs (i.e. they were musical rather than an ode to sparkle).
First for Finland was Paradise Oskar (real name Axel Ehnström) singing a song about saving the planet. Later on there were Sjonni's Friends from Iceland with "Coming Home". The song was written by Sigurjón Brink who died before it could be picked as the Icelandic entry. His musician friends put together a band and sang it in tribute to him.
Of course my two favourites didn't win - they were more singer-songwritery, boy with guitar type songs so not really in the spirit of Eurovision. It was interesting watching the jury final and wondering how different the total scores would be (in the jury final Italy and Britain were joint first). With jury and public votes combined; Italy came second and Britain in 10th, the winners were Azerbaijan.
On the Saturday night we watched the Eurovision final in a gay bar - they had score cards, pencils with flags on *and* transvestites (I may have been a little jealous of their dresses and hats...) Gay bars are the way forward - everyone is just lovely and friendly. Earlier in the day there had been a football match on with chanting fans everywhere, the difference was rather pronounced.
Whilst in Germany we did manage a little culture as well, we had a wander round Cologne cathedral:
Walked along the Hohenzollern bridge and looked at all the padlocks (each the symbol of a couple's love):
We even managed to spot an incongruous flying car:
All in all a bizarre but fun trip! I can't wait to visit Germany again later on in Summer - might stick to my sort of gigs in future though.