19/05/15 Building Bridges

It’s been an interesting few days in Vienna! On Sunday I saw the lovely Niamh Kavanagh (Ireland 1993) performing at the Euro Cafe. Niamh’s great fun and is one of the few artists where her banter is just as good as her singing (which was excellent!) Niamh was accompanied by her friend Mairead who she worked with in the bank when she won Eurovision! Thanks for a fun night ladies!

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On Monday I was on a conference panel on Eurovision and diplomacy. Also in attendance were Åse Kleveland (ESC singer, presenter and the Minister of Culture in Norway), Claudette Buttigieg (singer for Malta in 2000 and now a Member of Parliament) and Ismeta Dervoz, who was the Head of Delegation for Bosnia Herzegovina during the war in the 1990s. I was nearly in tears hearing her talking about Eurovision. This contest means something and I defy even the harshest critics not to be moved after hearing Ismeta speak. All three women were insightful, interesting and eloquent and it was a real honour to share a platform with them.

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Monday evening saw UK Ambassador host a reception at her residence. The atmosphere was warm, friendly and I think the UK did itself proud. Electro Velvet were there and performed live and sounded great. In particular the Ambassador herself was a delight, a really interesting lady. I managed to avoid a diplomatic incident but did ask her why there were no Ferrero Rocher at her residence!

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Semi-finals tonight on BBC Three – I’ll be on after the songs – given how tired I am, I hope the team have got makeup by the trowel!

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