I did, however, take the morning off yesterday. I lay in bed for some time, then made myself a bowl of Shreddies and a cup of tea before going back under the covers. By the time I'd had my bath and done a bit of prepping on a manuscript, it was lunch time, although I did feel a great deal more chipper by then.
Nathan was rehearsing all morning and arrived home just as I was preparing to head into town. I felt a little guilty throwing my computer at him, and asking him to cast his eye over the final two songs of the show, but I had an overwhelming sense that I needed to deliver all the rehearsal material before Eurovision season kicked off at 8pm.
My meeting in town was with the incomparable, James Hadley, who is one of the guardians of new musical theatre in the U.K. He's always been a great sounding board for me, and is happy to listen when I feel the need to whinge or get on my soap box and rant. He is a hugely calming presence, and, moreover, one of those wonderful champions of musical theatre who live for the art form without actually seeming to want or need to simultaneously promote their own writing career. And in a world where all writers have been forced to become huge self-promoters, this is incredibly rare. He cheered me up no end. I was really pleased I went.
I travelled home via Sainsbury's, where I bought copious amounts of food for the evening. I got incredibly hot whilst wandering about the shop, and then spent the journey back to Highgate sweating profusely. No doubt as a result of the cold.
Young Ben Jones and Harrison came over this evening to watch the first semi-final for this year's Eurovision. It was a funny old show, presented by not two, but three men. The theme of Eurovision this year is diversity, so an all-male line up seemed like an odd choice, particularly in light of the fact that it's the first year since 1956 where there hasn't been some sort of female host. It was a typically embarrassing affair: loads of jokes delivered in broken English which didn't actually translate into English, and then we learned that the Ukrainian concept of diversity was merely that scores of performers from different countries across Europe were coming together to perform music. Slightly missing the point I'd say. That said, the interval act came courtesy of, Verka Seduchka, a much-loved Ukrainian drag performer who entered Eurovision in 2007. Keen Europhiles will remember her as the lass who wore a silver space suit and a three-dimensional star as a hat.
The entertainment started off with a shaky, nervy performance by Sweden, who are tipped to do very well in the show, followed by a load of really dull, tuneless songs, which, sadly, included the mush from Australia, which couldn't even hold a torch to last year's extraordinary entry. The night picked up with stellar performances from Finland, Moldova and Portugal. The Portuguese entry is an incredibly old-school, rather wistful and moving song performed by a somewhat quirky young man.
I was devastated when the Finnish entry didn't go through into the final. I even voted for the song. All the other results were pretty much as I'd expected. They showed a little clip of the UK entry, which, for the first time in years, looks like it's been rather classily staged. They've got Lucy Jones, a musical theatre singer, doing it, which means it's being performed by someone with the chops to do it justice, and, more crucially, someone who won't fall apart under pressure. And it's actually quite a good song. My only sadness is that it's written by a Danish person. Eurovision is a song contest, not a performer contest, and the idea that the BBC couldn't find a home-grown writer to represent one of the biggest exporters of music in the world is almost laughable. It's certainly shameful.
We ate nachos and chips... with salad (for health reasons) and laughed pretty much all night. Brother Edward was texting from the stadium in Ukraine where the action was taking place, and we FaceTimed each other at the end of the evening, whilst Nathan, Ben and Harrison danced to the Italian song, which will almost certainly win. I haven't heard so much buzz about a Eurovision song since Loreen.