Sometimes….things just work out.

I’ve been fretting about a lot recently.  I do have a growing rather than shrinking pile of marking (and if you were to give Football Manager style attributes for my teaching ability, I think my marking efficiency is going to be a 2 at best) – I do have a list of projects, work wise and life wise, that have been left on the back burner – and until this week I seemed to have a life plan that would last until the 1st June and then I was drift into some obscurity.

But some things have worked out.  And they do so in kooky and different ways that make it all the more interesting and exciting for being in a new country.  Firstly – I have somewhere to live, which is in Sweden a big achievement.

It’s not a dream apartment by any means, it’s not by myself – I’m sharing a flat and I’m  in the living room on a to-be-bought sofa bed.  It’s not in the most utopian Swedish style location in the world either.  It’s with a guy who’s is having me replacing his girlfriend who is moving out, and I need to keep my things in a wardrobe in his room.

But I’m excited about the possibilities.  Walking distance to school, shopping centre and big 50 m pool.  And  importantly 2 mins from a train into the city.  Same guy is a year younger than me, and over half way through a physics degree in Stockholm.  He speaks great English and I think we’ll click just fine.  I also have a balcony which makes it all worthwhile.  It’s all just a chance to live a different way, and one that excites me and might make Sweden even more amazing.

We’re going to chat through final details next week, but all in all it should be quite cool.

Also, my first event with Melodifestivalklubben in Stockholm was a success all considering.  The event got over 30 attendees and the feedback I heard was good, they even understood some of my jokes in Swedish – big win!  So much more that can and I think needs to be improved, but it’s a step in the right direction for the club.

It is not the same as those magical nights with Eurovision Society though, and sharing some of those ideas are going to be key to making it work to the best possible ability.  A Eurovision Debate would be a great addition to our calendar.  As would Eurovision Karaoke.   I am going to really push to make this an active, open club for people who just like Eurovision.

And I’m trying that now; Stockholm’s BIGGEST Eurovision Party is in full advertising swing.  Going around the different establishments of Stockholm was great fun – and in the end I will be honest we settled simply on the most simple option.  Take a gander on facebook.  It’s not doing anywhere near as well as it should be doing for attendance.  Durham has near, or possibly over now, 100 people attending, and I’m maybe squeaking double figures.  I’m not entirely sure where I’ve gone wrong.  I know lots of people are aware of the event happening – but I guess I’m not able to gauge how to do this with the new demographics very well.

At Durham engaging students was my job and a track record of highest election turnouts (still not beaten) backs this up as the key example.  I had all the strategies to mobilise them.  I obviously don’t know how to do that here, and it’s bloody frustrating.  Maybe I expect too much from this city once again – but how hard can it be to fill a pub in this capital city for the most watched and celebrated TV show we have here?  My social networks (uh oh uh oh oh) are failing me – if you read this spread the word and spread it again – if there is one thing in the world I know how to do it’s a Eurovision party.  My SFI students were rather keen though…

Sometimes – things don’t work out.

Summer plans are far vaguer than I want them to be.  I want to know now if somebody is going to employ me here or not.  All they are saying is that they can’t make any decisions yet, and possibly not until June.  Well tough – yes, working at a Summer camp or something in Sweden would be cool, but I’m not going to risk twiddling my thumbs waiting for you guys to decide that.  Sweden may be organised, but things seem to happen at the last minute here and that is so frustrating.  I need to know where and when I’m going to be now.  So, this week I’m going to book where and when I’m going on holiday, and for when I’m going back to the UK.  I hope to still fit into your plans but I can’t hang around forever.

As long as I have time and chance to record some Melodifestivalen entries and I take a keyboard with me and tour Stockholm around the water, then my Swedish summer has met the minimum criteria.

What of course, is most exciting at the moment, and will prove to be the killer of my life for the next week, as always every year, are the Eurovision rehearsals.  I always say that 99% of Eurovision is done and decided before the contest.  Sweden is going to be adored by the fans regardless of what happens now.  We can imagine the type of acts Greece are going to send with their trash Swedish-Greek hybrid.  However 99% of it still matters now.  This is a song competition, and songs have to be done live, have to fit the stage they are on, and sometimes that just doesn’t work.  Or sometimes the fireworks, camera angles, dancing, emotion and al comes across superbly and raises the game.  A good songwriter and artist will have the image they want to create for the Eurovision in that songwriting stage, and those are the ones that invariably do well (take Rybak for example).  If they aren’t , that is when the problems start to begin, you can’t fit a charismatic ‘ooh, I want to vote for that song’ stage performance to every song that exists in the world.

And our first rehearsal tomorrow is one of the most interesting.  Montenegro opens up semi final 1 with the song ‘Euro Neuro.’  We’ve never seen this performed live, and it is a comic warbly nonsense from three minutes by Rambo Amadeus, who in his music video parades through Montenegro with his donkey and many a bikini-clad women.  What plan he has for Eurovision, on the stage, will be very very interesting.  Does he have a plan, did he plan this bizarre act to have a stage act that will make people love the artistry, or has somebody else completely misjudged how to do a joke at Eurovision?  I’m looking forward to finding out, and then for Iceland to completely steal the show after him with their brill song.

Also, as I close this, one of my pet hates in the world.  Full tunnelbana and women sitting on the seat in the aisle – and no one at the window.  I wish I had the bottle to challenge this behaviour.  It wasn’t even the innocent idea of her moving at the next stop, she’s still here 10 minutes later.  There can be no legitimacy for this selflessness.

Sometimes, it just doesn’t work.  But Serbia came on the iPod.  That works.

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