Eurovision 101

It's Sunday morning in London, where I'm living as of less than a week ago. I've got a hangover and kitchen cleanup duty, and on top of that, I'm out £10. An actual live baby fox entered our house last night. Last night was Eurovision. I've had my first Eurovision party as an embedded foreigner.

Wait, I'll tell you all about it, but let's back up a bit, first. My first Eurovision was last year in my New York home, playing host to English friends. Before that, I'm a little embarrassed to say I knew hardly anything of the pan-European song contest, and in watching it I experienced the kind of wonderment that's sadly pretty rare for us Americans: the world is so big.

I was also fascinated to learn about European politics in the guise of a pop competition. The winning nation has to host next year's event (this year Eurovision was in Malmo, Sweden, thanks to Loreen's victory last year) – but that's an expense some countries don't want. Sometimes when a country votes for you, as Portugal is wont to do for Spain, it's less support for your song and more trying to stick you with an inconvenient expense. Eastern bloc nations or Scandinavian countries have obvious alliances, where loyalty supersedes popularity or quality. It's not so much that the best song wins, but that the best-placed song wins.

Without a guide I might have bounced off it, but thanks to the inimitable Ste Curran – game designer, One Life Left radio show host and Eurovision Sage – I had an amazing time. This year we weren't at the same party, but his complete sincerity as regards the song contest, alongside his pure urge to immerse himself in unmitigated joy, are still with me....more at Boing Boing