Monthly Archives: April 2014

Resurfacing

Hi all, sorry for the pause – I guess things have been pretty chaotic over the last month. I can’t believe I’ve nearly been away for a month now I think about it!

But I’m set up in my apartment now, and I have internet, and (some) furniture. I’ve even got a TV hooked up – Japanese TV is as weird as people say, but in some ways it’s a bit samey, there are a lot of panel shows and endless discussion about food.

I’ve been working at my school for two weeks, along with a week and a half of training before that. I was thrown together with three other trainee teachers for the intense training. Close quarters, but we are all still in contact – I guess we just need to work out how things will work out when we are working all the time. I’m bonding with some more than others, and it’s bringing me a lot of my usual angst about how to manage my friendships – I won’t go into the details though so don’t worry…

Teaching is somewhere between fun and scary – hopefully it will be guided towards fun as we go along. It still feels me with dread that I might never get great at it, or that I’ll never loosen up enough to enjoy it. But time will tell.

I don’t know why I chose today to write, I’m feeling a bit flat – that’s not a general trend, I seem to be up and down and all over the place. I’ve got no shortage of people offering to do stuff, but while the “me-time” I had at home was comfortable, the me-time I have here makes me feel quite alone. Long story short is that I haven’t balanced things out yet. There are some people here I’d love to spend a lot of time with, but it’s not possible for logistical and I don’t want to rely on someone like that.

It’s annoying, I thought I had reached a place where I could stop doubting that people wanted to spend time with me, but I seem to have left that place when I left the UK and my confidence is totally shot. Worst thing is that I don’t feel like I can really talk about it. Even writing this I’m not saying everything I want to, and it’s so annoying.

Hmm this was supposed to be a nice post… well I AM having fun, I think maybe the fun bits are just throwing the less fun bits into starker contrast than usual. I’ve seen a lot of stuff, and I’ve been very tired so maybe that’s part of it.

Anyway, I’m just going around in circles now – so just checking in. I WILL get through those Eurovision reviews, it’s only like a week away now isn’t it? Good lord…

Later x

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Road to Copenhagen 2014: Sergej Ćetković – “Moj svijet” (Montenegro)

With only one more entry to review for this year’s contest, let’s first finish off Semi-final 1 with a small Balkan nation that’s still waiting for its big breakthrough.

MontenegroMontenegro first debuted at Eurovision back in 2005, when the union of Serbia & Montenegro finished allowing both nations to enter independently. While Montenegrin boyband No Name finished 7th as part of Serbia & Montenegro, Montenegro’s solo efforts haven’t faired anywhere near as well as Serbia’s.

While Serbia notched up several big hits including a victory in 2007, Montenegro have yet to qualify for a final, after six attempts. Admittedly some of those attempts haven’t exactly been mainstream, but still there is a lot of hope that – along with fellow non-qualifiers San Marino – this might finally be their year. Continue reading

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Road to Copenhagen 2014: Pollapönk – “No Prejudice” (Iceland)

Oh Iceland, what are we going to do with you? Easily the country I most with would win the contest – but a lot of the time they refuse to sell out, and Icelandic entries are typically eccentric, or simply too amazing to be appreciated by the whole of Europe (poor Euroband).

IcelandNot to say they haven’t come close – in 1999 and 2009 they finished in 2nd place, and with the current pro-Nordic trend of wins (hell, even Finland won) I have to hope it’s only a matter of time before this remote island nation welcomes Eurovision to its shores. And it would be amazing too, Iceland is one of my favourite places in Europe.

Last year I didn’t expect qualification, but old Eyþór still pulled it off, with an adorably Icelandic song celebrating life. A mid-table finish was the result, as it becoming increasingly common for Iceland, but they seem a decent bet to qualify. Two-thirds of the 9 entries that needed qualification made it to the final, with all of the last six entries making it through. Continue reading

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Road to Copenhagen 2014: Aram MP3 – “Not alone” (Armenia)

Have we really been through nearly all the entries this year without talking about the favourite to win? Yes, the favourite to WIN – I’m not 100% convinced if you ask me, and it’s certainly not from a nation I was expecting to grasp for victory quite yet.

ArmeniaArmenia debuted in 2006 and have had a far stronger performance record than I gave them credit for – in the seven contests they’ve participated in, five out of six entries that needed to qualify made it to the final. Not too shabby! Only sitting out the 2012 contest in neighbouring Azerbaijan due to security concerns, they have nonetheless notched up an impressive 5 top 10 finishes.

Their high watermark remains 4th place 2008 entry Qele Qele, but in order to try and bring their first victory back from Copenhagen, the national broadcaster AMPTV opted for the internal selection of popular host & comedian Aram MP3. So-nicknamed due to his reputation for comedy covers of popular songs, it was nonetheless a little surprising for him to enter Eurovision with such a weighty and dark song, apparently dealing with themes of domestic violence. Continue reading

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Road to Copenhagen 2014 – Firelight -“Coming Home” (Malta)

God damn it, Malta, how do you always do this to me? Almost as much as Iceland, even the seemingly average entries turn into growers from this sunny Mediterranean island nation. Growers aren’t always ideal for Eurovision, but then it’s staged in such a way to make instant impact.

MaltaOf course it’s not always been smooth sailing for Maltese entries. They debuted in the 70s, but after some poor results pulled out until 1990. But then they really got their shit together, notching up 11 top 10 finishes in 12 years. Two 2nd place finishes in the 00’s brought them tantalisingly close to victory, but it feels that in the semi-final era they lost their way a bit.

Some of their entries have been pretty great, but nonetheless their qualification record is 50/50. A shame they don’t get more payoff, as their national final is a lot bigger than the small nation’s population would lead you to expect. I might have not been overjoyed when Firelight won – I can’t remember what I was hoping for, probably some generic EDM track. Continue reading

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