This weekend was a cultural extravaganza, Saturday was the Eurovision Song Contest (or Grand Prix as they call it here, to the confusion of those Eurovirgins at Sexpat Emma's party, where are the cars they asked) and Sunday was proper theatre at the annual Reckinghausen Arts Festival.
The Eurovision party was great fun, everyone got into the spirit of the evening by dressing up to represent their favoured country, and very un P.C. we were too, Nana Mouskouri was there for Greece, both Russia and Azerbajan were represented by hookers, Germany had her boobs on show in a dirndl, Spain had even managed to convince her husband to dress up (admittedly Russia had her pimp alongside, altho I think he was channelling sport rather than sex) the most the other males could manage were shirts of appropriate colours - but at least they were there, at a Eurovision party (drinking beer on the terrace & monitoring the bbq for the majority of the evening it must be said, but they were there). Sweden had on a Swedish ice hockey shirt, Ireland was clad in orange, white and green, Norway had one partner in white the other in red, France channelled the clothing of the French entry (itsy bitsy hotpants) and I was regal in purple with matching crown for the United Kingdom.
I don't think there were many of us there who could say we watched the whole of every entrant, although everyone watched the Russian grannies (5 (or was or 6) elderly ladies dressed in age appropriate Russian garb, combined age apparently 484, I'm sure one of them had no teeth) they were...entertaining although I think Jedward for Ireland, embodied the Eurovision spirit more - for heaven's sake, they were dressed from head to toe in silver lamé suits, they performed handsprings and cartwheels and had a huge fountain in the centre of the stage (the song was titled "Waterline" I think...) it doesn't get more Euro than that.
But the results showed the same old story, countries voting for their neighbours. Which is why the U.K. ended up 2nd from bottom while Russia was 2nd from top. Sweden won with a song that would (and maybe will) be quite at home in the clubs this summer, a good choice.
Sunday and Sing, Marianne and I had tickets to see Cate Blanchett in "Gross und Klein". A German play written in the 70's, set in the cold war era, but performed in English by an Australian theatre troupe...and not just 'a play' either, but a 'plot-free' piece of theatre, I wont bore you with details but the review in the Guardian is bang on. Cate is incredible, mesmerising, and a damn good job too because the actual story...hmmm, was there a story?
I loved the staging of the play, minimalistic and very clever. But I'm saved the dilemma of deciding whether to recommend whether people shoild go or not because I think it's sold out!
It has to be said that we had as much fun before the show and in the (way too short) interval* people watching and passing comment on the fashions, no that implies more style than was observed, clothing worn to the theatre on a hot, sunny evening** and also indulging in the new Scott Mills game. I heard this 'game' first being played on BBC3's coverage of the Eurovision semi finals on Thursday***. Scott Mills and Sara Cox (both Radio 1 dj's) were compering the show for the U.K. audiences and Scott suggested to Sara that they play the game he and his friends play when on holiday, "gay or european". You see a person and have to say whether they are gay or european (european I guess because some Europeans have a certain style and way of dressing and grooming themselves that might lead the casual observer to think that they're gay.) A totally un P.C. game I know, but in my defence I heard about it from a guy who is himself gay, so if he thinks it's amusing to play then where's the harm? We played**** this on Saturday night (afterall the Eurovision song contest is a notoriously gay fest) and picked it up again at the theatre, but on Sunday I suggested the modification of 'european or non european' to avoid the possible embarassment of being overheard and understood (the play was in English afterall, although with German overtitles*****).
All in all I think my weekend has balanced itself out. An evening of totally trashy TV followed by an evening of such dense culture that I'm good for the rest of the year now!
* the play is almost 3 hours long, and we had 15 minutes to get down (and then back up) maybe four flights of stairs (we were fourth row from the back, right up in the gods) and then queue and queue and queue for a drink (27C outside + no A/C inside + a meandering, hard to follow plot = cold caffeine intake mandatory).
** but I think more on that in another blog, there's so much more that can be said about German clothing choices.
*** hadn't planned to watch it, but it becomes a little addictive.
**** played implies possibly more action and commitment than actually occurs, all that is required to participate is pointing (surreptitiously if out in public) at the 'victim' and asking "gay or european?"
***** as in up above the stage, rather than at the bottom, along the edge of the stage, where they mightn't be seen.