So the Eurosing Larp is over now. One of the most memorable experiences of perhaps my entire life is now behind me and almost two days after it, I’m still fighting with my emotions and try to understand the burning question in my head: What the fuck has just happen? How great was that please? To come clear with my thoughts, I now will try to tell the complete Story of me as a part of “Team Portugal”
First of all, constant readers of my blog may now wonder, because normally I don’t write my blog entries in english. But I will try to write a complete resume of the already proclaimed Larp “Eurosing”. And as the Event was an international one, I see a big potential that some other visitors of this Larp might be interested in reading those lines as well. For those English teachers out there, please don’t forget that English is not my native tongue. So if you find bad grammar or spelling, then please just ignore it. This is about the story, not the Art of Writing. 😉
And wow, what an story it was. The first time I got in contact with the Project “Eurosing” was almost accidental. Katja from Team Marino traveled to a Team Meeting and as she is very into social media, I so had read about this in one Facebook Sidenote telling about a “ESC-Larp”. I rubbed my eyes. This is existing? A quick view on the Eurosing Homepage already gave me a first impression. This was just my thing. I am visiting Larps since 1999, I even organize one every year for 17 years now, so I am quite into that. And even longer, I am a fan of the Eurovision Song contest. My first memories go back to Ketil Stokkan, who sang about the Brandenburger Tor on Norwegian in the Year 1990. I was 11 and had no idea of good music, but I liked that song a lot… because hey, he sings about the Brandenburger Tor! That’s in Germany, that’s ours… he got dead last. But seeing this juries giving points to nations and see people go berzerk on someone saying things like “Sweden twelve points” was just my thing of competition. And my parents even allowed me to watch this show. We just had one TV for 5 People in the house, so this situations were quite rare.
The fandom grew over the years. First I tried to skip those mostly terrible boring songs and went right to the points. With Guildo Horn and Stefan Raab, I even started to give the Songs a chance. I still remember 2005, when Walters & Kazha really amazed me with their song “The war is not over” for Latvia. With Lordi came the time of constant hosting my Eurovision Parties once a year, with kitchen from the host nation and a betting pool where you could win a cup and defend it one year after. I still do those, I even watch as much national qualifier as possible. The fact that I am watching Belarusian Television just to spend my time with a song like Switter Boys feat. Kate&Volga Karol – Vechnaya lyubov brought me the Titel “Mr. ESC” from my Friends. It really seems that I know almost everything about this event. So the Idea of visiting a Larp with this as Topic was just the next logic step.
I didn’t expected it to be suche a huge step. I even needed some time to convince myself to give this a try. There was a small larp tavern almost right before my house door the same time, so easy fun at that weekend would have been granted. And Eindhoven… I never has in the Netherlands except Maastricht and a trip to the Lommelberge Landal Green Park. I needed someone to come with me. I wanted a team there, express own ideas. And as I am normaly quite alone with my ESC Fandom, I didn’t expect anyone to join me in this absolutely wacky event. I was wrong. For my utter surprise Antje, Tina, Torben and Lea were very interested In joining me there, several other people just had no time on that weekend, but liked the concept of that idea a lot and said, that they would give it a shot in 2019, if there would have been more just one month preparation for their time schedule.
But so I overcame my doubts and signed in. It felt like the right decision on an instant and seeing the Community on Facebook already filling this event with life motivated me to do the same. So while I was on my New Years Trip in France, I got the News “you’re Team Portugal now!” Great!
Why Portugal? There were several countries in our mind to that time. Estonia, Iceland, Switzerland, Belgium and especially Norway… they all were in the hat. Iceland had its benefits because due to a party I had years before, I already owned a lot of Iceland Flag articles. And Tina is so blond haired, she would have been the perfect Scandinavian. But Portugal was such a nice winner last year with Salvador Sobral and their attitude of making real emotional music instead of plastic music, that this concept for our group seemed very interesting as well. I wanted to do a gig, where I somehow can touch people with what I do. And with all the Portugal Merchandise I would be able to use it again when the ESC Party would come. More than that Torben speaks fluent portugese. ^^
So with two weeks on the Clock until the Event, the Planning for our Group “O Fadas Morfeu” started (Portugese for “The Fairies of Morpheus”) And so did the Chaos. In one week, first the Univerity of Saarbrücken shatterd Leahs Chances to join the event due to a confinement two weeks later, then we lost Tina to the University to Trier because she was forced to visit three Saturday-Seminars in a row. Tina already payed the event and we tried the best to get this ticket to someone else, but no chance. And when Olga told us, that Torben hasn’t booked the Convent as well, it soon went clear that he would not be there as well. Because from there on he avoided speaking to us. So in one week, we lost two Guitar players, who play in real bands and Tina, who was a singer and cheerleader as well. It was down to Antje and me, the only ones who didn’t had any big stage experience.
What to do now? Well, quitting isn’t our nature, so we said “do the best of it.” So this “Kidnapping Maria”-Thing was born. We will give the others a cliché Portuguese as good as possible. We wanted to be sad, constantly lamenting, reminding others how hard we have it to be consoled as much as possible, show us poor and simple. And actually it worked. People were talking about us and when I finally arrived at Eindhoven, they already recognized me. Well, The Hat, the Scarf and the funny reaction video to Doctor Tombstones Diss-Rap might has helped as well.
But even as we made up a show about our bad luck, there was no doubt on that the people behind those lamenting Portuguese were not done with having their problems. One week before it, Antje and I were close to getting a cold and were able to avoid it somehow. Leah got her cold and finaly had to quit the event as she even saw a chance to join before. And then there was the “40-Euro-for-Nothing” order of Portugese Flaggs and Merchandise, which took more than one week to be delivered and so didn’t reached us in time. All we now had to show us as portuguese members were Toothsticks with a portuguese Flag on it.
And even in Eindhoven, our bad luck didn’t really end. I’m not talking about the smell of burned plastic my car made after entering the city. We indeed found a third person to join our team. Thanks to San Marino, who had to find a replacement for one of their missing members, we teamed up with Alec, who was our cultural Attache then…. For about 30 Minutes. Then a problem at home made him leave with no return. We had our next kidnapping. I had to laugh. Really, there was nothing in my imagination that could make our situation even worse than now except perhaps waking up with a cold.
On the other side, we now got a first idea of what would happen next now. People offered us help everywhere. For example San Marino and Great Britain offered direct help in anything we needed, while others really gave us a genuine, commiserative “Oh”, when we introduced our self as “we’re Portugal”. Actually, it was not easy to accept those help offers concrete, because we still didn’t knew which work we would have to face and if we really couldnt manage it with two people.
I must admit… it was possible to do everything on our own. Of course we wouldn’t be able to blow the roof up with costumes and being a musician AND a cultural attorney kept me quite busy as well. But I guess, we might have played the portuguese, but we managed all those tasks with typical cold german efficiency. Don’t waste time, do what has to be done and do it fast and in time. Don’t be lazy. I don’t have another explanation why we had our lyrics done between 23:00 and Midnight on Friday, had them off pat the same night, checked our choreography even before the first Rehersal at 15:30, managed to buy some fabrics in the meantime and visited three cultural Attache-Meetings and the workshop of Linda Wagenmakers. What we done there felt unbelievable fast. And that gave us quite some confidence.
So we even had time to check what was going around us. We were surrounded by around 100 People I think. Sixteen Nations tried their luck in winning Eurosing 2018. And everyone had a story to tell, had character, was somehow interesting and also willed to spend their story to the others. It seemed to be unbelievably easy to get in contact. It didn’t took long until I could say “Ah, this is San Marino, this is Greece, this is Cyprus, here we have Ireland, there is Romania. We got in Contact with Finland, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Germany and the UK easily, we saw Belarus, Schweden, Moldova, Lithuania and the Netherlands and were happy to meet them.” To see every nation taking such a big effort in telling a funny, wacky story was highly interesting and pleasing. Beside that, everything we saw was so over the top, that it was just fun being a part of this. There was nothing to be taken serious here. And with this attitude, it was exactly what it was supposed to be – a perfect Eurovision homage. A World of Peace and Friendship. I felt home here. (Even as I cant remember having even one big chat about the Eurovision song contest the complete Larp along)
This Attitude is exactly what the Organisation wanted for this from the beginning. But even as this over-the-top-this-is-too-bizarre-to-be-possible-event gave us enjoyable laughs, I must say that this was potentially the best organized convention I ever witnessed. And like I said, I organize my own convent for 17 Years now and I know about what to watch about. But what they had in stock for their Visitors was amazing. To have a Eurovision Competitor in Linda Wagenmakers giving singing lessons for three hours there is not a normal thing to see on a Larp. To have a professional stage team there with a complete light system and a smokemachine, to have a professional sewing expert for their guests, to have three trained psychologists for help for stage fright or against reality hangover, a camera team with a professional TV Camera there and someone playing a perfect copy of the Netherlandish Minister President is not normal. To have it for such a low price even more amazing. You shouldn’t forget, that every Nation got 50 Euro for buying stuff for their team as well. This shows me, that here, there was an Organisation, who on one hand really knows how to handle money, on the other hand had no interests in earning money in first place.
I write that because I do the calculation of my own convent as well. Our Convent manages it to sell our tickets for 75 Euro including beds and three meals a day. Including Insurance and Requisites. That’s why I rarely visit conventions anymore as I just cant understand how some larps wants up to 150 Euros from you for sleeping in a Tent and eating your own cooked stuff. But here at Eurosing, for the offer we got, this price was just honest. Actually, I even more cant even imagine, how they were able to offer this complete program for this price. I haven’t checked yet, but it feels like I would have gotten into problems, offering such an event for this price. And then even give a fitting political plot for the Attaches as a cherry on top of the the already generous presented single cream. I even recognized how good the Orga was in adapting actual issues. On some point I noticed, that a black board with informations might be a good idea. One Hour later, there was one. When the cultural attaches met for a third time, the planned room for that was surprisingly locked. But that problem wasn’t a big one as well. Only the wrong voting of team Finland later on Saturday gave them something to chew on. 😉 And here as well – they adapted those dilemmas very quickly. And for the rest, there was us, singing Bohemian Rhapsody to kill the time.
So here we come to the final show now. Planned for 21:00 O’clock. If you organize a Larp, you normally know, how much of a rough orientation such a time is. To give every nation a time to be in the Backstage area timed in 10-Minutes-Intervals normally an impossible task. But apparently not when you are that good organized. The show started perhaps 10 Minutes late and gotten back in track quite quickly. And to my surprise, they cathed up our story with the kidnapping of Maria! I didnt knew anything about that and so i was very surprised, when they announced to collect Money for Marias Freedom. They even had a countdown with the collected money under the hashtag #payformaria with a picture of Tina on the big videowall! What a nice surprise, somehow, Tina was part of this event that way, i thought that to be very touching.
So there was a big audience… and they were euphoric as hell. However came on stage was celebrated like world stars. Weakness was no problem. Forgetting your Lyrics – no problem. Reading your Lyrics from your mobile while singing was no problem. They treated you like heroes. And every Act was so special. Greek gods making Punk music at the start, then a duet of two drag queens singing about “Mr. and Mrs. Smith and me”, a Swedish Girlband, Armenian Avantgarde, a marriage for Azerbaidjan, the Cyprus Boyband on a song from the Backstreet boys…. Every act blew my mind. I cant count them all, but as I was the cultural attache, I was the one to vote on them and that just felt impossible. Everybody deserved those 12 Points somehow. It was unbelievable, how much effort they all took in their songs and outfits. And all this in just 24 Hours. I witnessed so much passion and love in their work, it was just infectious. And I felt happy and proud for them.
The idea of competing here and see the Eurosing as a real competition that has to be won was far away. It was just important to be a part of all this. I started to understand, how the spirit of a real Eurovision must be for all those musicians there. We all here were somehow in the same situation. There would be a winner at the end for sure. But to be part of something so uniting felt much more important. There was this group of around 100 People growing together as a unit, a well oiled creativity machine. Everyone with a different personality. One, that didn’t matter.
So then there was our time to come. We got Starting Number 13… of course. A number of bad luck, how could it have been any other way. 😉 Like I said, we wanted to go full Portuguese. So we had chosen a song by the experts of sad music theirself – Radiohead. Our Melody was based on “No Surprises”. In our Lyrics, we sang about Heroes and how hard it can be to be a hero, when you have “No guitars and no Maria”. So we somehow told our own story there. And I guess, one day more with the lyrics might have helped us. 😉 Getting such an act together in such a short time with no stage experience at all is HARD AS FUCK!!! It takes a huge amount of balls to get out that stage and sing.
Once again, I have done this larpstuff for almost 20 years now. I was in the spotlight before and I always enjoyed it. But this was different. Maybe because I know, that my speciality is improvision. I am this “moderator”-guy, someone who can lead a group of people through the evening and entertain them. Im Quick-witted, but knowing something off pat is something I always tried to avoid. Unfortunately singing Lyrics don’t give you the chance to improvise. So even as I wasn’t nervous, I felt pressure. But I cant hardly imagine, how Antje must have felt. I guess, she was close to a nervous breakdown, because she is another type of person, standing in the spotlight is much less her thing to do. And now standing there, after all those great acts, without experience and not exactly gifted with a proper singing voice, it must have been pure hell for her.
But she grew on stage there, her singing was on the spot. And so we both… forgot our lyrics right after the beginning. Waaaaah! I think, we both started to get more and more unsatisfied the more we sang our song. But we always got our lyrics. But I guess, now we just had to pay tribute. Anyway… nobody cared. We made a perfect arrangement. First darkness, than a spotlight, then we slowly entered, wearing venetian Masks. We asked the Moderator to ask the audience to give us some “Fairies” so everyone was waving their flashlights. The smoke machine made the rest. I remember, when I was behind the stage, all I wanted was go out there. There was no place in the world where I wanted to be more than on that stage. And all I wanted there was to make those people feel my music and sing my music. I wanted to give them something special.
And so there we were, forgetting our lyrics. Luckily, there were some easy and strong lyrics in the middle so we both quickly found our way back to normality. And then the magic started. While all those fairies were flying through the smoke, with one simple hand gesture, the people started singing with us our song. Loud and clear. It felt like everyone down there would feel exactly what we felt. Or should we say pretend to feel? Because actually… There was no kidnapped Maria. We were not portuguese. Ah, damn, who cares, I already started to believe my own story several hours ago. On Sunday while having the workshop against reality hangover, someone said “you can play a role, but you just have one body. What you have felt, is real.” He was so right. At this moment, we had no Guitars and no Maria. Everyone there was sad. And to notice this on stage is something, I cant put in words. And as you will have noticed, I seem to be able to put almost everything in many words. 😉 But in this case, lets say it was just pure Magic
When we were back in the Audience, evenything got even more surreal for me. So many people came to me and said to me what a beautyfull voice I had, how they really felt something. The Cyprus Manager even told me about a tear running down his eye, but I think that might have been ingame. 😉 But to see, how much I must have touched them with what I have done, was unreal. They also said they didn’t mind my text problem because they wouldn’t care about the lyric if you have that voice. I can say it, I am not used to compliments. Normaly I don’t get any. I learned, that nothing is given and nice words shouldn’t be something to expect. That’s why I am carefull with compliments, as I want to believe them. I don’t want compliments just out of niceness. But those, I was able to believe, they seemed to be really honest. In that high amount, it was like I said just surreal. So there was I, on one hand happy to exactly managed what I planned to do – touch people – on the hand still angry about those forgotten lyrics. And its not even my perfectionism, that bothered me. I knew, those lyrics didn’t matter. It was this feeling, that all those people who were so nice to me deserved even better than that. I just felt, that I haven’t given back enough for those nice words. And recognized that this feeling would have been the same if the lyrics would have been the same. I was surrounded by just very special people. I was at an event, that brought the best out of many people, that erased all forms of negativity without asking for it. And four Minutes of beautiful singing was just not enough to dignify that.
But enough of this winey stuff. ^^ There was still a winner to find. It wasn’t us. Even as I would have loved to go on stage again, for us it was a very good 8th place. Most nations gave us around 6 Points. It was like a victory when we even got mentioned when Armenia gave us 10 Points. The funny thing is, we gave them 12… without talking about that before. 😉 Armenia got secondlast, so not many shared our opinion on their greatness. So this Voting was like a real Eurovision. When the votes come, you just don’t know why and how. But it was typical. Somehow Belarus won this competition, Cyprus gave 12 Points to Greece and the did the same in reverse, someone was blewing up their votings or took too much time in the spotlight. It really felt like seen a thousand times that way and this again was somehow funny, because it felt so familiar. Isnt it so, that your favourite song never wins the Eurovision? (Ok, perhaps exept when Salvador Sobral catched us all last year). Well, welcome at Eurosing.
I hope, there will be an Eurosing 2019 again. This feeling of friendship and unity got me even more addicted in this Eurovision stuff as I thought it might be possible. Now, I envy every participant there, because they potentially feel what I felt this weekend. A Group, where the both winners was welcomed with applause while entering the breakfast room. A Group that did even more than what I already told in this book and would have been worth writing about. (im curious what Ayuki will have to tell to her friends, when she is back in Israel, from where she came to visit this event. Those crazy middle Europeans 😉 ) At the end, I just want to state… I didn’t want to go home on Sunday. The car ride home was luckily almost without the smell of molten plastic… actually, I just had that in Eindhoven. But even as I was in fear my car would stop and start burning every second, I was happy. At Monday, I wasn’t really able to focus on my daily work, what is very rare for me. And now its almost 2 in the morning, my clock will run at 6, so I can await a hard day after just 4 hours of sleep maximum. But it felt important to get all this from my chest. Because this weekend was just that special. I guess, this was in all the years the best larp I ever visited. And actually, I just have three wishes.
– Please let there be another Eurosing
– Next time, I hope I can find more members to join me there. Just because that Larp is that good.
– Feel free to do it in Eindhoven again, but ingame, I would be very curious to see this Larp in Minsk with a political Plot with Lukashenko, who at the end thanks to the Attaches discovers democracy. ^^
And now lets see, if I can finally can move forward to the next fun projects and stop singing about Guitars and Marias. 😉
Your Dannimax / Daniel / Danilo / Amadeus Pardal