Friday, 12 May 2017

A Eurovision Rehearsal

On Monday we made a late start as well. I think we chatted for a long time in my room before heading out into the city. I can't say too much here but one of my reasons for coming here was to talk to Marina about how best I can help her. I am often aware of the difference between our cultures so it is difficult at times but she is a good friend and that will not change!

We decided to go back to Postova Plosha where we saw the karaoke competition the previous evening and this time, we took a boat trip. It takes one hour and goes south past the enormous Motherland statue. This time, we were luckier with the weather, it was very warm in the morning but dark clouds were gathering. 

After the boat trip, we went back into the square and took the funicular up to the top of the hill. The impressive building is the ministry of external affairs.

There was also a small park of attractions and Marina won a prize throwing darts at balloons! There were food stalls and we had a quick meal in the open air! 

By this time, the weather was changing rapidly, it was getting squally with a drizzle of rain.

Needless to say, Marina posed for more photos. And I got into the act also.

We then walked to the church at the top of the hill. By now the weather was quite unpleasant, cold and windy with intermittent rain. We tried to phone for a taxi without success but, in fact, that proved to be a blessing. I saw one or two buses heading for Maidan so we walked down the same road little realising how close it was. And, better still, the weather front had passed and it had stopped raining. We walked through Maidan and took a Metro back to the hotel.

We had tickets for the rehearsal of the first semi-final of Eurovision and during the day, I had been receiving draconian warnings by email about turning up at the location between 6 and 7pm for reasons of security. This was ridiculous, the concert was due to start at 10pm and it was only a rehearsal. I guessed the arena would only be part-filled because it was very easy to pick seats a week previously.

We were cool dudes. After returning to the hotel, Marina took a rest and I wrote some of this blog. At 7pm, we had some food in the restaurant and left the hotel around 8.30 by taxi to go to the exhibition centre. Absolutely no problem. We waltzed through security and entered the centre. It is a huge empty space normally and the arena for Eurovision had been built in the centre of the space. This still left large areas around it where one could wander. And in the case of Marina, do some more poses. These are all on her phone and, since the light was not very good, I didn't bother to publish them here. Anyway, you've seen her posing now!

The arena was spectacular and the rehearsal was run "as live", so it was like the real thing. Being a sound man, two things struck me immediately. One was the volume of sound, especially in the very low frequencies - damaging to the ears, so I was very annoyed at my fellow sound guys of the 21st Century. When I covered my ears, I could still feel the  sound hitting my stomach. The other serious doubt was whether the artists were actually singing. I could see TV monitors and the movement of the singer's mouth was not in sync with the sound. Maybe for the grand final, they have to sing live. In any case, they were singing to backing tracks; there was no live band.

I didn't take my phone and Marina had been taking so many photos that the battery of her phone was flat by the end of the concert. So we had no way of calling a taxi. But I knew the Metro ran along-side the arena and that is how we got back home. It was even the same line. I suggested we left as soon as the main concert ended which was around midnight. But we missed Jamala singing her winning song from last year. Or the cynic in me suspected she may have been miming. Oh, how could you think such a thing!

Next day, Tuesday, we took the train back to Marina's home town of Kharkiv and I will write about that tomorrow!

 The formatting has all gone to centre justified and Blogger won't let me change it. Oh well, no matter, it looks quite nice!

1 comment:

  1. Wordpress wants me to comment as The Frisky Geezer. I suppose I could change that, but knowing Wordpress as I do, it would probably require half an hour of head-scratching and I've better things to do.

    I comment here on Marina's American-flag scarf. If you mentioned it in the post I missed it. It's lovely! Back in the '60s they arrested us for "desecrating" our flag by designing apparel with its theme; now it's done worldwide (and at home too) and no-one thinks anything of it. How times have changed. The Vietnam war (conflict) tore our contry apart for a decade, and flags certainly got caught in the blow-by.