The moment we have all been waiting for is nearly upon us, the 60th Eurovision Song Contest. In the build up to the event we have met Eurovision academics such as Dr. Eurovision and a former winner, in the form of Tony Benton from Estonia via Aruba, but the true essence of the event is undoubtedly the fans. The fans who watch in their millions are the live blood of the show and without them Eurovision wouldn’t exist. We caught up with David Stock, who hails from Kent and works in the travel industry and has been a fan of the competition for longer than he cares to remember. He told ukineurovision that his first Eurovision Song Contest memory was in the early 80s, and like so many first experiences of the show he recalls the evening with fondness although he can’t remember the exact year or country it was being held in. He recalls that “it was a family evening and we all sat round watching it with snacks and drinks on the table” and that he was particularly drawn to the costumes worn by the performers. He continues that part of the fun was not knowing what each act was going to be like as “back then you never heard the songs before, the media coverage was not like it is today, and the outfits are always a talking point.”
From there, David’s interest in the contest grew and he has followed each competition with renewed excitement year after year. However his all time favourite Eurovision moments occurred in late 1990s and early 2000s. He told me that the 1999 contest in Jerusalem, Israel when Sweden’s entry Take me to your heaven by Charlotte Nilsson emerged victorious was particularly memorable. Whilst the 2003, 2004 and 2005 shows were ones he will never forget, “those years saw Greece, Turkey and Ukraine win for the first times and it was great to see nations outside the big 5 and Sweden and Denmark win”. He continues that Greece, Turkey and Ukraine “all had amazing songs and I still listen to them now, especially Turkey’s winner Every way that I can, just great memories.”
Stock has been following this year’s events eagerly to and although I was surprised that Eurovision heavyweight, Ireland and Iceland’s María Ólafsdóttir, failed to reach the final this year he was not. Stock told me that he and his friends both thought Ireland and Iceland’s acts “seemed to sing out of tune” and a performers success in modern day Eurovision is “a lot to do with staging and the entertainment factor and these two acts sadly lacked in that department”. One such act that isn’t lacking the entertainment factor, according to Stock, are Electro Velvet, the UK’s entry for this year’s show. “I love this year’s UK entry” he exclaims, “there is so much controversy about it but it is fun and different and it stands out” he continues to state that “the UK may surprise a few people this year”. His optimism for the UK’s participation in Eurovision isn’t exclusive for tomorrow night but for the next few years to. “I, like most UK fans always hope we will win again and am sure we will, I’m just not sure when.” Stock feels for us to win again Eurovision voting regulations with the judges and phone calls need to be altered. He says “there just needs to be stricter rules in place with regards to voting and then nights such as in 2011, when Blue were knocked down five places by the judge’s votes, can be avoided”. Another change Stock would like to see is more acts singing in their native languages as it would “celebrate Europe’s plethora of languages”, as he puts it. I alluded to this topic in an earlier piece that the language used by the act is important to how they fair in the contest. There is an increasing number of English speaking acts so the eventual winner is usually winning in a language that isn’t their own. Stock is saddened that only 4 of the 27 acts this year are going to sing in their mother tongue. “I think that maybe going back to where songs are sung in their national language rather than English would be a really positive change. Remember Serbia’s winning entry in 2007? It was great as I could understand the sentiments of the song without speaking Serbian”
Many thanks to David Stock for the interview who will be hosting a Eurovision party for his friends for the final. Although he insists that he is going to go to the contest’s climax next year, wherever it may be.