845 Comments

Bulgaria: They’re back!


Bulgaria – Great news today as Bulgaria confirms that it will return to the Eurovision Song Contest in 2020. With the loss of Hungary, but the return of Ukraine, it looks like we already have 40 countries taking part in Rotterdam.

The official statement said “We are delighted to announce that Bulgaria is set to take part at 2020. More exciting details will follow soon.”

bulgaria back

 

Bulgaria last took part in 2018. In 2016 and 2017 they came close to winning, finishing in 4th place with Poli Genova and 2nd place with Kristian Kostov.

845 comments on “Bulgaria: They’re back!

  1. Why wonderful Surpriz can’t represent Germany in Rotterdam!? Are members of Surpriz alive? :D
    My fave German entry.. ADORE it!

  2. I think this is my TOP 15 of the 21st century:

    15. France 2002 Natasha St-Pier – “J N’ai Que Mon Ame”
    14. Belgium 2003 – Urban trad – “Sanomi”
    13. Georgia 2014 – The Shin and Mariko – “Three Minutes to Earth”
    12. Belgium 2015 – Loïc Nottet – “Rhythm Inside”
    11. Albania 2007 – Frederik Ndoci & Aida – “Hear my Plea”
    10. Georgia 2007 – Sopho – “Visionary dream”
    9. San Marino 2011 – Senhit – “Stan by”
    8. Slovenia 2011 – Maja Keuc – “No one”
    7. Portugal 2018 – Claudia Pascoal & Isaura – “O jardim”
    6. Slovenia 2015 – Maraaya – “Here for You”
    5. Australia 2016 – Dami Im – “Sound of silence”
    4. Azerbaijan 2012 – Sabina Babayeva – “When the music dies”
    3. Italy 2013 – Marco Mengoni – “L’essenziale”
    2. Russia 2009 – Anastasiya Prikhodko – “Mamo”
    1. Bulgaria 2018 – Equinox – “Bones”

    • Except for the 2 Slovenian entries, Senit and Dami Im there isn’t much mainstream stuff in your list. Good boy. ;)

      I think that I still have ‘Oro’ in 1st place post 2000. <3 <3 <3

    • Mine would look a little something like this:

      15 MAYA SAR – Korake ti znam (Bosnia& Herzegovina 2012)
      14 MORAN MAZOR – Rak bishvilo (Israel 2013)
      13 AMINATA – Love Injected (Latvia 2015)
      12 MAGDI RÚSZA – Unsubstantial Blues (Hungary 2007)
      11 ZALA KRALJ & GAŠPER ŠANTL – Sebi (Slovenia 2019)
      10 KALIOPI – Crno i belo (Macedonia 2012)
      09 CONAN OSÍRIS – Telemóveis (Portugal 2019)
      08 STIG RÄSTA & ELINA BORN – Goodbye To Yesterday (Estonia 2015)
      07 BYEALEX – Kedvesem (Hungary 2013)
      06 LOREEN – Euphoria (Sweden 2012)
      05 LOUISA BAÏLECHE – Monts et merveilles (France 2003)
      04 MARIA HAUKAAS STORENG – Hold On, Be Strong (Norway 2008)
      03 CLÁUDIA PASCOAL – O Jardim (Portugal 2018)
      02 FLOR-DE-LIS – Todas as ruas do amor (Portugal 2009)
      01 URBAN SYMPHONY – Rändajad (Estonia 2009)

      As you can see a lot of 2010s in here. The 2000s were a dreadful decade in ESC imo.

      • Really close taste as I love most of them !!!

      • 15 MAYA SAR – Korake ti znam (Bosnia& Herzegovina 2012) : 9/10
        14 MORAN MAZOR – Rak bishvilo (Israel 2013) : 10/10
        13 AMINATA – Love Injected (Latvia 2015) : 12/10
        12 MAGDI RÚSZA – Unsubstantial Blues (Hungary 2007) : 7/10
        11 ZALA KRALJ & GAŠPER ŠANTL – Sebi (Slovenia 2019) : 10/10
        10 KALIOPI – Crno i belo (Macedonia 2012) : 8/10
        09 CONAN OSÍRIS – Telemóveis (Portugal 2019) : 10/10
        08 STIG RÄSTA & ELINA BORN – Goodbye To Yesterday (Estonia 2015) : 12/10
        07 BYEALEX – Kedvesem (Hungary 2013) : 10/10
        06 LOREEN – Euphoria (Sweden 2012) : 12/10
        05 LOUISA BAÏLECHE – Monts et merveilles (France 2003) : 9/10
        04 MARIA HAUKAAS STORENG – Hold On, Be Strong (Norway 2008) : 8/10
        03 CLÁUDIA PASCOAL – O Jardim (Portugal 2018) : 10/10
        02 FLOR-DE-LIS – Todas as ruas do amor (Portugal 2009) : 9/10
        01 URBAN SYMPHONY – Rändajad (Estonia 2009) : 12/10 (and ALL time favorite!)

        • I was the first one to post top 15 of the 21st century and you didn’t put marks on my list, but on other user’s!!!! Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!! :@
          :P

          • The only reason was because I was surprised at how close my taste was to Dominik’s.

            Ok grumpy, since you asked :p

            15. France 2002 Natasha St-Pier – “J N’ai Que Mon Ame” : 6/10
            14. Belgium 2003 – Urban trad – “Sanomi” : 12/10
            13. Georgia 2014 – The Shin and Mariko – “Three Minutes to Earth” : 5/10
            12. Belgium 2015 – Loïc Nottet – “Rhythm Inside” : 8/10
            11. Albania 2007 – Frederik Ndoci & Aida – “Hear my Plea” : 5/10
            10. Georgia 2007 – Sopho – “Visionary dream” : 10/10
            9. San Marino 2011 – Senhit – “Stan by” : 5/10
            8. Slovenia 2011 – Maja Keuc – “No one” : 9/10
            7. Portugal 2018 – Claudia Pascoal & Isaura – “O jardim” : 10/10
            6. Slovenia 2015 – Maraaya – “Here for You” : 8/10
            5. Australia 2016 – Dami Im – “Sound of silence” : 6/10
            4. Azerbaijan 2012 – Sabina Babayeva – “When the music dies” : 8/10
            3. Italy 2013 – Marco Mengoni – “L’essenziale” : 9/10
            2. Russia 2009 – Anastasiya Prikhodko – “Mamo” : 7/10
            1. Bulgaria 2018 – Equinox – “Bones” : 6/10 (PLEASE don’t hate me :P)

    • This was incredibly hard to come up with and I’m sure it’d change the next time I try to make a list.

      15. Justs – “Heartbeat” (Latvia 2016)
      14. Softengine – “Something Better” (Finland 2014)
      13. Flor-de-Lis – “Todas as ruas do amor” (Portugal 2009)
      12. Jelena Tomašević – “Oro” (Serbia 2008)
      11. Regina – “Bistra voda” (Bosnia and Herzegovina 2009)
      10. Claudia Pascoal – “O jardim” (Portugal 2018)
      9. AWS – “Viszlát nyár” (Hungary 2018)
      8. Dihaj – “Skeletons” (Azerbaijan 2017)
      7. Mørland & Debrah Scarlett – “A Monster Like Me” (Norway 2015)
      6. Rona Nishliu – “Suus” (Albania 2012)
      5. Ott Lepland – “Kuula” (Estonia 2012)
      4. Zala Kralj & Gašper Šantl – “Sebi” (Slovenia 2019)
      3. Urban Symphony – “Rändajad” (Estonia 2009)
      2. Aminata – “Love Injected” (Latvia 2015)
      1. Margaret Berger – “I Feed You My Love” (Norway 2013)

      I’m definitely more of a 2010s person than 2000s.

  3. Rumours around tonight that Montenegro won’t be in Rotterdam. :(

    • Better they skip than send horrible garbage like this year… songs like that are always what makes the semis such an unwatchable joke.

    • Where’d you hear that? Montenegrin broadcaster already personally confirmed to ESCToday they’d be in Rotterdam.

  4. It’s confirmed. Montenegro is out.

  5. A little bit off topic.
    I knew that this liberal government in Armenia will face serious problems as soon as post revolutionary euphoria will get lost. It seems the first victim is going to be the minister of education and culture Araik Harutyunyan. Former ruling parties organised quite serious campaign of his withdrawal for excluding “History of Armenian Church” from educational programs, for financing avantguard spectacles and for financing autobiographical movie about Mel (Meline) Sahakyan .
    She is known for becoming becoming Champion of Armenia in weightlifting seven times, becoming the first Armenian women to become a European Champion in weightlifting (2007 and 2008) but also for changing her sex and becoming man. Later he moved to Netherlands where he was hit in a knife attack in Amsterdam after armed robbers broke into the Albert Heijn Supermarket where he was doing shopping at the moment. Daluzyan rushed to help after he saw the two unknown men attack the cashier. He succeeded, after a while the police arrived and arrested the robbers,but before the police arrived, however, one of the robbers managed to inflict stab wounds to Mel.
    It seems soon there gonna be a resignation.

  6. Montenegro Update: The head of RTCG confirms no withdrawal decision has been made yet. He said the media reports are inaccurate, and a decision will be made in the coming days at a meeting of the RTCG Council.

  7. 10 days ago I was still running around in shorts and t-shirt but now the temperature has dropped to just above zero. The only good thing is that I love wearing scarves and especially gloves.

  8. Recently was in a concert . I would really like to se Vigen Hovsepyan in depi evratesil or in Rotterdam.

  9. I dont remember watching those images back then. Iprobably had since i guess it was all over the news but i find them so moving and spine-tingling. History in the making:

    • Revisting those days is always a strange experience to me because back then I felt that those events had very little to do with me and my life. I had just begun studying in Tübingen and was madly in love. I didn’t pay much attention. The GDR seemed to be very far away, almost like a different universe, I didn’t know anyone living there, I had never been there (only passed through it on the transit highway to West Berlin). Yes, it was good that the Wall had come down but I felt that it made no difference to me.
      One year after the Wall had come down a friend of my mother asked me if I could go out with one of her employees, a young lady who had just moved from Bischofswerda to LuBu. She was a nice girl but we had hardly anything in common. In fact, both of us found it difficult to talk to each other because we had been pop-culturally socialized in contexts that had nothing in common. She didn’t know Madonna f. e. and every reference to film or music I made was met by silence … and the other way round.
      Even after 30 years and despite the fact that my parents have a holiday flat in MeckPo (MeckPo is the easiest one for me because people there have a taste of North Germany I know from my mother who grew up in Schleswig-Holstein) I still feel more comfortable and ‘at home’ in most North, West and South European countries than in Germany’s eastern states. I find it very difficult to cope with the local mentality and to blend in with the crowd whenever I visit the eastern states, but then Swabian culture is much closer to Swiss, French and even Italian culture than it is to the Prussian or Saxonian way of life to begin with.

      • Thanks for the insight. But isn’t this a bot selfish way to look at this? Do you believe it would be better if the 2 German states remained divided?

        • I think that you should always be honest with how you feel and then apply your moral frame of reference onto those feelings. First of all, I was 22 years old when the Wall came down and (probably like most guys that age) I had other priorities than politics back then. That’s the reason I said that it felt strange watching those events now. The reason is that I think differently now. Plus, the way I feel whenever I am visiting the Eastern states is no judgement (like being superior f. e.), it’s just a fact and nobody is right or wrong here, just different. I love Eastern Germany the way I love every country and region in the world.
          German reunification is atricky issue imo. I don’t mind it in principle but it unhinged the balance of power in the EU, which is the most important project for Europe’s role in the future imo. It led to a German hegemony which has damaged the EU. Just look at some of the arguments the Brexit supporters of Ms. Le Pen run in order to renationalise our politics. I have always supported an EU made up of smaller units. BaWü is the 3rd most populous German state but we still have more inhabitants than Greece f. e. I have never enjoyed being a bully, neither in my personal life nor when it comes to collective identities.

          • Of course you should be honest but my impression is that people in West Germany and DDR felt like one nation that’s why reunification felt natural. I’m very pro-EU but that doesn’t mean we should lose our national identities and local cultures and i don’t agree with the ideology of smaller states. What’s next?An independent BA-WU just because you don’t feel close to the Eastern states? Plus, i don’t think German reunification is to blame for Brexit or Le Pen. Even if one considers it as one of the factors there are definitely much more important issues that lead people to right wing nationalism.

            • Don’t be ridiculous, Dimi. I never said that. And let me give you a history lesson: Germany was a rather artificial invention of German romanticism in the 19th century (the anti-Napoleonic backlash). Before that nobody ever thought about Germany as a nation (check Goethe, Schiller and Kant for a beginning). We are a very diverse country which is only defined by language (even though we do not understand each other if we speak duialect … LOL). Most parts of Germany have much more in common with neighbouring regions in other countries (Saxony and the Czechs to give an example from the east) than with parts of Germany further away. That’s one of the reasons why every attempt at defining a ‘German identity’ has become dangerous in the past. I admit that this might be difficult to understand for people living in countries that are more homogenous. Anyway, I think that for the first time in history Germany now has a chance to define what it means to be German (based on our Grundgesetz, not culture … following the Swiss example) in a healthy way. However in order to achieve that, we need to defeat the ideology of AfD first. I hope that I will live to see this being achieved. :)

            • Actually we were very much told we were one nation esp. by conservative politicians; people who had relatives in the East or who had fled from there might have felt the connection but many, many others who did not have that type of connection always thought it was a very alien place (perhaps even more so than Austria). Can’t speak for people in the East obviously butaprt from the heroic protesters there were probably also a lot who would just as happily have become a part of Russia if they had been given BMWs and a favorable exchange rate on their savings (the problem wasn’t that they didn’t have money but that they couldn’t spend it, hence the problems resulting from the 1-1 currency exchange as that brought many billions if not trillions of DM into circulation).

          • I can definitely understand what you mean. As someone from the Northern United States, I feel more connected to Canadians than I do to Americans from the South. I would say the US is similar to Germany in this regard. In almost every electoral map you can see a clear line between the Union and the Confederacy (although Virginia’s culture has switched majorly due to the influence of the liberal DC suburbs and the African American community).

            As for the comment on the African American community, I don’t think that is victimhood at all. African Americans in this country (especially in the Deep South) continue to face challenges that other groups do not. Yes there are immigrants who start out in poverty and can make a successful life for themselves, but very rarely are they black immigrants. This is not just about economic status, it is about race and skin color.

            Just one example that illustrates this point is that studies have shown that employers are more likely to hire a white person with a criminal record than a black person without one (when their resumes are identical). All African Americans didn’t even get the right to vote since the 1960s, and to this day politicians continue to silence their votes with gerrymandering and voter suppression (two of the biggest problems in today’s American politics). I don’t think every problem in the community is a direct result of slavery, but the community definitely has every right to be bitter based on what they have been put through. It is a cruel cycle. Most schools in African American communities are poorly managed and dangerous with zero funding (public schools are funded through taxation of the people living in the school’s neighborhood, if the people are in poverty, the school cannot collect much money from them in taxes, and the school becomes underfunded), while most neighborhoods are dangerous and run by gangs. You cannot learn if your teachers have no budget and you are forced into a gang just because of the street you live on (this is something that happens in impoverished neighborhoods in The Bronx, Chicago, Detroit, etc.)

            • The only difference is that Germany borders much more countries than the USA. It’s a mess LOL
              Because of the diversity that is the signature of Germany, any attempt to culturally define what is ‘German’ is neccessarily bound to fail … unless you decide to force some concept of German identity onto everyone by using force and terror (the nazis tried that …). It is very easy to understand: Germany is the only big country in Europe that does not have a majority religion. As a result of this and taking into account influences from neighbouring regions in other countries, traditions, values and ways of living our everday lives are extremely diverse in Germany. If you asked me, I would fail to tell you three cultural things Bavaria and Schleswig-Holstein have in common f. e. We only have our language to unite us, but then German is also spoken in Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Belgium. So that’s difficult too … and don’t get me started on the dialects. If I start speaking Swabian, nobody north of Heilbronn will understand anything I am saying. And it’s not only about dialects but about vocabulary too. Some examples:

              strawberry: Erdbeere (Ger.) – Bräschtling (Sw.)
              to suck: lutschen (Ger.) – schlotze (Sw.)
              to look at: anschauen (Ger.) – aglotze (Sw.)
              sidewalk: Gehweg/Bürgersteig (Ger.) – Trottoir (Sw.) … We use many French words here in BaWü.

              And there are hundreds more …

            • Yeah I studied German unification and the challenges that came with it in the 19th century back when I took AP World History in high school. Definitely a fascinating multifaceted country. Dialects used to be a big thing in the US too, but speaking in a dialect has negative connotations now (people who speak in dialects instead of General American are typically looked at as poorer, less sophisticated, less educated, etc.), and that combined with the fact it’s much easier to grow up hearing other dialects than the one native to where you live because of the media, they are really disappearing amongst my generation.

            • In Germany the symbolic capital of speaking in dialect depends on where you are living (more diversity and an even bigger mess …). In Bavaria f. e. speaking Bavarian is a huge bonus (in fact, you won’t get anywhere in politics f. e. if you are not fluent in Bavarian) whereas here in BaWü it’s a disadvantage similar to what it is in the USA.

              And I agree that 19th century German unification is a fascinating topic. Before the Napoleonic Wars, any concept of Germany was a topic for nutters only, but once Napoleon had overrun the countless German kingdoms, dutchies etc, the Romantics came up with a pretty artificial concept of German identity and culture which was pretty much defined by everything opposing the values France had adopted: anti-liberté, anti-égalité, anti-fraternité. French citoyen vs German Untertan :( It’s a very sad story that led to a lot of suffering both in Germany and across Europe. Luckily, we have embraced the values of the French Revolution ever since the end of the 2nd WW. It’s one of the the few lessons of history that can give us hope imo.

              Immanuel Kant, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe und Friedrich Schiller from their graves: *clapclap*

              Have you read Heinrich Mann’s novel ‘Der Untertan’? It’s a perfect read if you want to understand German pre-WW2 mentality.

            • The south is kinda similar to Bavaria then with dialects. You will find the wealthiest of people, the poorest of people, and everyone in between speaking proudly in their southern dialects (sometimes incomprehensible to me, although that’s normally the more rural working-class southerners). Outside of the south though, the southern accent is looked down at just like how every other accent is. In fact, I’d say of every dialect, southern dialects are the ones that are looked at as being the most uneducated, impoverished, unsophisticated, etc., even though they are a symbol of pride in the south.

              Both of my grandparents speak in thick New York dialects and I spent a large portion of my early life with them, so that’s how I talk too and I’m quite proud of it, although not everyone would probably think the same unfortunately.

              No I haven’t read that, I guess I’ll have to check it out :)

        • And I wish that there had been more honesty 30 years ago. CDU’s mantra was that we were all the same and that now was the time for that what belonged together to come together. However, biographies in the East and the West were totally different, and after reunification East German biographies were simply thrown under the bus. Many people became unemployed, some professional qualifications obtained in the GDR became invalid etc. We can see the damaging effects now: poverty among older people in the Eastern states is scandalous. They only get minimal pensions because they were unemployed for many years after the GDR’s manufacturing sector had been demolished/abolished because it wasn’t competitive. There wasn’t a plan, and I hate headless action. As a result of all this we now see the rise of the AfD in the East. Many people there don’t feel that their life achievements are valued. And while I do understand the motivation for their protest votes, I think that they are drawing the wrong conclusions. AfD won’t help anyone to get a better life. And the young people with good qualifications keep leaving the towns and villages, either to the big Eastern towns (which vote Green btw … LOL) or to the old States.

        • I agree with toggie that there remainsa vast cultural gap between the two Germanys. For one, the people who came over and settled in the west. Whether it’s guys I’ve dated (briefly) or people I’ve worked with; there remains to this day a huge problem with interaction and openness; one always gets the impression people don’t feel they can truly be honest. As for those still in the East, there seem to be a disproportionate amount of right-wing attitudes, xenophobia and whining unlike any ethnic/sexual/social minority group in this country, despite the currency being exchanged 1-1 after unification and people being given the apartments/houses they had rented in the East. There have been massive investments while in the East while structurally weak regions in the West – be it the coal and steel towns of the West or the dying fisheries and shipyards counties of the North – have been left to die.
          One of the biggest mistakes aftre the fall of the Wall was that there has not really been a process of political detoxification or reconciliation. The East not only skipped the (however imperfect) de-Nazification the West underwent after WW2; they also did not really deal with complicity and participation in the East German dictatorship.

          • You don’t tell me something i don’t know.One only needs to check the election results to understand there’s still a divide between East and West. However,i don’t think there was a better way forward for Germany than reunification at that moment in time after the collapse of the failed, awful experiment that was Communism.

            • …or whatever the powers that be declared to be Communism anyway. There should have been more of a transition period – it ended up like one of these hostile takeovers that way too much money was thrown at and then everyone’s supposed to automatically align with the new company.

          • As someone said on ARD tonight: Whichever question you ask, if you take a map of Germany and colour the districs according to the poll’s result, you can still see the iron curtain (with the exception of university towns in the east). :(

          • Agreed. Mr. Kohl was the worst chancellor we have ever had. He totally failed at managing reunification (and many other things like pensions: “Die Renten sind sicher”) … whch was more of an annexantion. And to this day we treat the eastern states like the empires treated colonies in the glorious old days. No wonder Easterners are so fond of whinig and complaining. They have every right to do so imo as long as they don’t vote AfD …

            • Well a lot of them do vote AfD… I just have a sever problem with the fact that money keeps being shovelled there while parts of e.g. Gelsenkirchen or the NW look like ghost towns and get no investment. There freally should habe been some sort of re-education/reconciliation process like in the West after WW2 or in S. Africa – as is we eneded up with 16? 18? million people who were first told they didn’t have anything to do with the 3rd Reich and its legacy and then the SED dictatorship. As a result there’s a culture of “I’m a victim”.

            • “As a result there’s a culture of “I’m a victim”.”

              I think that there’s this “victim” attitude in many former socialist countries. Something like:
              “hey, we have been the victims of this plague called Communism. We bared this cross for decades and therefore mankind owes us a lot.”

            • Yes, the I am a victim attitude is what bugs me most about the East. It’s so dangerous and ridiculous at the same time.

            • You can clearly see this in the so called Visegrad countries, in particular (no offense meant).

            • Yes there seem to be an awful lt of victims and virtually no perpetrators/supporters/fellow travellers. Ans that’s 30 years after the Wall fell, the Velvet Revolution, etc… of course look at much of the deep south in the USA over 150 years after the Civil War (and for that matter significant portions of the US Black community still blaming everything on slavery while generations of multiple immigrant groups who used to be ostracized embrace education and keep doing better for themselves).

            • I think that things more complicated/different with African American community. Lina could enlight us on this.

            • It’s very diverse, I agree – having lived and also worked in TV in US south for 12 years as wellas in major metro areas, there are obviously people who value education; likewise there’s a huge group where that’s not the case. There are similar cultural issues to e,g, many immigrants from MAghreb countries – pervasive machismo, little value placed on education, etc.

          • I agree that the continued focus on the poor East has dissimulated the growing gap in wealth that has developped in the West for decades. Some weeks ago, I was in Duisburg on business, and I have to admit that I was pretty perturbed when I saw the degree to which parts of the city were run down. :(

            • Duisburg is actually, along with Essen, one of the better-kept cities of the Ruhr Valley (at least the centre). Go to places like Solingen or Gelsenkirchen and you really only see hopelessness in many people’s eyes; infrastructure is crumbling in much of NRW.

            • I really like Essen and Gelsenkirchen at least has Schalke 04 to keep the residents’ spirit up now and then. I have never been to Solingen. In fact my only Solingen experience is working with a lady from Solingen whose parents are millionaires …

            • Indeed Schalke is the only thing keeping spirits up – Liverpool probably has a similar function. Also that women must be insane to live in Solingen if she has money. It’s reallya terribly sad place… I knew this guy there (only reason I’ve ever been) who had an art gallery in an abandonned train station (for some reason they moved the location of their main station 20-30 years ago) – he had a real Dali in his bedroom so it was quite surreal to look at this after looking at all these browbeaten people with little hope in their eyes on the way over. I really can’t describe it; most of these dying industrial towns always have a subgroup of people with some sagger, Marlboros and brand name jeans and sneakers but in Solingen not even that. (That probably sounded horribly callous but it’s not meant to be; I’ve never been to such a sad place).

            • The Solingen Tourist Board won’t like your comments. :)
              Liverpool has more than football to keep spirits up. Thanks to EU money the port area has been perfectly restored. It is a World Heritage site now.

            • If Solingen had a Tourist Board that would be one of the worst examples of wasteful public spending ever :-(

            • :(

    • My mother visited Berlin in early 1990 as a high school teacher, together with her class. That was right after the fall of the Berlin Wall, but before the unification, and I think the trip had been planned before 9 November 1989. They ran into a demonstration before the Palast der Republik, they were protesting against one of the changes that were to come due to the unification: in DDR they had a well working conserves system with recycled glass jars rather than tin cans, and some people could make a living out of collecting these glass jars. This system, like many other things, was about to vanish, and they were protesting about that. That is not to say that they weren’t happy about losing the Stasi, the wall and all that, but as one of the protesters said to my mum: “Wir haben ja auch ein bißchen Stolz” (We do have some pride too).

      They also came by a stand where they sold fruit and noticed that it contained some very cheap, and fine, apples which no-one bought. Beside them there were some expensive and not very fine apples which sold insanely well. When they asked why people bought these apples, the answer was: They are from the west.

      DDR has always fascinated me a little bit. Of course there are many things I don’t like: the lack of freedom, the Stasi surveillence, political surpression and so on, and it was a good thing that the wall came down. No doubt about that. But I think there were some good things about it too. From what I understand, the health system was working well; everyone could afford getting their kids to kindergartens; public transportation was cheap; if something broke, you could get it repaired in a repairing central rather than throw it out and buy something new; there were more women working than in the west, and the abortion law was more liberal (correct me if I’m wrong). And yet, almost everything had to go.

      Btw, we visited Rostock in 1996 (first we visited my aunt who lived in Berlin at that time, and then we moved on to Rostock because there was a high school exchange with a school there). When I had German in school, we learned that there is more formality than in Denmark, and that, as a student, you had to use the formal ‘Sie’ (equals the French ‘vous’, the Spanish ‘usted’, the Danish ‘De’ etc.) towards your teacher. But in the school in Rostock they said ‘du’ (as we do in Denmark today). I don’t know if there is an east/west difference here, or it is just a general change of culture in Germany?

      • I’m sure one could fin something positive even in hell. On a more serious note, i know there’s a lot of interest around this era and political system and people may feel somewhat nostalgic about it because it’s a bygone era at least in this part of the world. Of course weighing the pros(!) and the cons lack of freedom, stasi, repression etc are far more important and essential than repairing stuff rather than bying and having a sort of better health care system. Cuba has a good health care system as well but that doesn’t mean people don’t suffer.

        • I agree with that, but it should be possible to keep the good things and rejecting the bad. Because you end a problematic regime like DDR, it doesn’t mean that everything from its society necessarily has to go. As I see it, one could have made the German unification an a different way, combining the good things from the east (e.g. the recycled glass jars, cheap transportation etc.) with the good things from the west (an open political system, press freedom etc.).

      • As I said before, the utterly incompetent Kohl adminstration we had at the time of unification got everything wrong. They made false promises (“blühende Landschaften”) and weren’t content with taking over the GDR in big business style. They also thought that it was a good idea to demonise the GDR. In fact CDU/CSU still insists on calling the GDR “Unrechtstaat”, and while it undobtedly was precisely that, such an ideological approach doesn’t lead to any political benefit or any solutions to the problems we are still facing 30 years after the wall came down. What the Conservatives failed (and still fail) to understand is that demonizing the GDR in its entirety entails rendering void every individual achievements people living in the East were proud of. They were told that their biographies were worth nothing and that they had somehow done something wrong in case they had been successful in the GDR, that they had been part of the GDR’s system of wrongdoing, even if they had worked as doctors or nurses. This appraoch led to all the frustration, bitterness and anger we can still se in the Eastern states, in particular among older people who have lived parts of their lives in the GDR. Moreover, people weren’t prepared for the capitalist system they were transitioned to and in which they had to take responsibility for their own lives. The GDR provided a high degree of security because the state apparatus organized every aspect of your life from birth to death. (*shudders*)
        And yes, the GDR had a much better organized child care system than the FRG, but then this was established first and foremost in order for the ruling party to be able to indoctrinate children from an early age.
        The GDR won only once: The FRG Sandmännchen was ditched and the GDR Sandmännchen was rolled out nationwide …

  10. Regarding our 21st century faves’ list (thanks, Marko for starting this ;) ), I could only come up with a top 6 (I love many more songs of course):

    06. Silent Storm
    05. Kedvesem
    04. Et s’il fallait le faire
    03. Bistra Voda
    02. Oro
    01. Amar pelos dois

    PS: Thank you, Togravus, Dimitri and The Penguin for sharing your views regarding the German reunification ;)

    PS2: I fear for the worst in today’s elections in Spain. I bear responsible both Podemos and mainly Mr Sánchez for the deadlock and most of all for the, probable(?) resurrection of those PP zombies.

    • One almost hopes that PP will fare decently because otherwise those votes will go to Vox :-(

    • You actually have the only list where I don’t just know every song but also like – to differing extents – all of them.

    • All those songs are in my ESC pantheon. :)

    • I haven’t made mine yet I doubt I ever will.

      P.S. – Armenia 17 has become one of my favourite songs of the last decade. I love the video very much as well. The ESC stage presentation was not as good though.

    • Sanchez is dishonest and cynical. I am very worried with what is happening in Spain atm. I am hoping that the much (now) wiser Casado manages to dislodge Sanchez and his band of hypocrites. :)

    • I love all those 6 songs as well.

    • the lost memories of when the Left could unite to face the awful conservatives are long gone indeed… but then the PP, one of the most corrupt parties in Europe (see where Aznar’s ministers are now), have very easily united to Vox, and in Madrid Ciudadanos showed their true face. They’re the first responsible ones

      • The PSOE is just as corrupt if not worse, because they portray themselves as morally superior. Why do you think PP started winning elections? VOX is where it is now with the help pf PSOE that wanted to ruin PP’s strength that way. These situations are never back and white.

        • Political biases aside, it does seem that “conservative” politicians are motre corrupt and likely to be ousted over corruption, partly because “looking out for myself (and the family, however neglected)” is considered aplus among conservatives. Left-wingers get ousted over corruption (because it’s anathema to their beliefs) while cons get ousted over sex scandals (because that’s anathema to their – professed – credo)

          • In the Spanish case, both parties have very similar cases of corruption.

            • The biggest problem with the PS in Spain to me is that Sanchez (like US and UK politicians) just sees it all as some sort of game and deliberately sabotaged forming a government with Podemos to get another election, which ended up essentially with the same result, a deadlock between the two blocks with the right-wing bloc now having the Vox mess on top of that.

          • Well, look at Romania’s Social democrats. I’m sure they can win a biggest con’s prize.

            • Are they the successors to the former Communist party? It’s difficult to keep track there; the country just generally seems to be a terrible mess and should never have been let into the EU when it was (ditto Bulgaria, which we don’t hear as much about here but which also seems to have endemic corruption). Part of the problem with the former Warsaw Pact countries is that of course they’re not just behind from the ca. 40-45 years of “communist” dictatorship but I think – except maybe CZE? – did not have decmocartic systems between the wars, shifting borders, etc. Oh well, Bezos, Zuckerberg etc. are going to own the World soon anyway I guess.

            • We need Razvan to shed some light here. I do understand British, French, Spanish, Italian (and the smaller Western countries’) politics but I am at a total loss when it comes to anything east of Gorizia, with the exeption of Greece, Poland, Turkey and Russia, which are pretty straightforward politically imo.

            • of course, Raxvan knows his country’s political scene better but he may not want to engage in such discussions. Besides, you don’t need an expert opinion to know Liviu Dragnea is a criminal currently in jail on multiple corruption charges and that Viorica Dancila is a mere puppet forwarding his shady causes.

          • But Mr. Sánchez is hot at least. I don’t mind having more of him on Tagesschau. ;)

      • I couldn’t agree more regarding PP (I could start calling them names right now :P ).
        And I’m afraid that you are right regarding the first sentence of your comment too :(

  11. Sesame Street has reached its 50th birthday. I loved the show when I was a child and it is still going on making children happier, smarter and wiser:

    https://www.pbs.org/show/sesame-street-50th-anniversary-celebration/

    • I loved Sesame Street too as a child. :)
      Btw, this reply proves a point I made above. I can talk to a guy who is my age and lives in Lisbon about Sesame Street in the 70s. I couldn’t have such a conversation with anyone my age from Dresden or Magdeburg.

  12. I don’t understand how you guys can make lists of best songs of all times. I don’t think I could start – a general sentiment of how I feel towards each song will have to suffice. :)

    In other news, we got our first snowfall last night. It’s quite early in the year, though, so I don’t expect it to last

  13. @ Toggie and 4porcelli

    Victim mentality is one of the reasons why AfD does so well in the East (and in many other parts of Germany), because their whole presence (on TV or in public) is based on victim mentality. They know their target audience loves to mire in their own mud rather than to make change.

    “As a result there’s a cullture of “ I’m a victim”.”

    I always thought whining and complaining was a pan-German national sport next to this country’s ridiculous obsession with class and status.

    But seriously, reading between the lines I sense some narrow-mindedness. Maybe I am just reading too much into it, but because you don’t have a closer connection to the East – as Toggie f.e. pointed out – you’re lacking the empathy for the fates people met before and after the Fall of the Berlin Wall. You really can’t get a full view of how people arrived where they are unless you get to know them.

    What I am asking you for is that please don’t talk this casually about something you haven’t experienced yourself. I know that sounds harsh, but maybe someone should build a wall around your place, limit your freedom to travel and access to basic goods, take all your democratic rights, tell you your qualifications are worthless elsewhere, pay you less than you’re worth and then we’ll see who’s whining.

    Thanks to German reunification my parents could leave Poland, start all over again and give my sister and me better educational opportunities. I often ask myself whether life would have been any better or worse if I had been born here or over there. If I would leave the country just like many other Poles do these days.

    • I never got the “don’t talk unless you’ve experienced it”: so guys can’t talk about feminism either?

      • Indeed it’s poltical correctness out of control – by that standard we couldn’t even talk about guys because generically speaking either of us could be considered judgemental. When inm reality we’re perfect wingmen for each other!

        • Both of you didn’t get the point. I just criticized the tone in this discussion. Talking about judgemental you’re very quick to label me PC.

          • If you find the problem on this board difficult you best stay away from the rest of the Interwebs…

            • I’ve always been avoiding these sites, thank you.

            • Virtually every site is harsher than this one.
              Again, as a gay guy originally from Poland would you rather live in that city between CGN and Aachen or somewhere between Görlitz and Frankfurt/Oder?

            • Doesn’t really make a difference, does it. Düren is anything but flourishing. Actually I thought about going to live in Poland once PiS pisses off.

            • It does make a difference because in all likelhood social attitudes in Düren are less intolerant than those in the region I mentioned as an alternative – plus Düren has the benefit of being essentially a sleeper city for more prosperous and more comfortable citiies like CGN and DUS And PiS isn’t going to go away because they just got re-elected – because of, I assume, a majority in the more religious Eastern part of Poland. I’m not trying to pick on you; I’m just making the point that “everyone is great and if not they’re misunderstood” is not a viable path – especially if we speak from the ivory tower.

            • Might be, but the same could be said ’bout the Lausitz. I’m already commuting by public transport, so it doesn’t matter to me if it was Berlin/Dresden or Cologne/Düsseldorf.
              The PiS thing is just a scenario I’m playing with. Sure all troubles won’t be gone once they’re out of sejm, but it would be a start.

            • Yes, while here the tone may have sounded too casual, at least it was indeed nothing more than casual conversation, when out there the rest of the Internet is just mean spirited :/

            • Right. Maybe I get easily triggered by this topic, because I know what communism was like thanks to my family and the whole West/East separation is part of who I am.

      • I taught feminist literary theory in my university days. :)

    • But what if Poland but not East Germany had – as was initially the case, Poland and Hungary led the way – overthrown the dictatorship might you not still have been on this side of the Iron Curtain (albeit potentially in a worse place like Düsseldorf). Pretty much everyone CAN complain – to this day the twice-dicorced str8 guy who has 3 kids and 2 houses will inevitavly get promoted over the gay guy or lesbian woman because “he needs it” though in fact he’s acting less responsibly. You and I can focus on self-victimization but we chose not to. I have no patience with “I choose to have no agency because I believe myself to be a victim.” As someone who came from Poland, would you rather live in the West where you settles or in the East?

    • Perhaps you missed my comment in which I said that Eastern biographies were thrown under the bus after reunification, that Eastern biographies were defined as being worth less than Western ones. I also said that as a result of this many people fell into poverty and felt (and still feel) that their life experiences aren’t valued in post-Wall Germany. I even added that I could understand the anger and frustration many people in the new states feel. Therefore I don’t really understand the point you are making.

      • You’re referring to the “lack of empathy” part of my comment, are you? Yes, I’ve read the discussion between Dimi and you and also further. You made some good points, but I must admit you didn’t handle the conversation very well – talking to Dimi in an overly didactic tone isn’t the best way to prove your point…says the right one, I know. But I’m getting off the track.
        Reading your comment on your views on the German reunification, was what made me join the discussion. I know you said your past views have changed – though youth doesn’t excuse anything. But then you went on to put the blame for the EU’s current problems on German reunification which I think is a rash argument and insensitive. As Jan Zielonka said: “It is difficult to establish when things started to go wrong in Europe”. I can follow your train of thought when you say that there’s an “unhinged (…) balance of power in the EU”. There’s no equality among member states. However I disagree that the events from the 9th of November, 1989 up to the 3rd of October, 1990 are the reason why the EU is in such a dismal state. There’s more to it: outdated economic models, efficiency slowed down by the EU’s unability to make progess, …. Most problems are homemade.

        You also said that you find it difficult to cope with the local mentality. That’s why I assumed you’re lacking the empathy for people in the East. If that was a wrong conclusion I had drawn, then perhaps I made a mistake.

        Like I already said to Morgan, the fall of the iron curtain means something to my family and me.

        • Interestingly, at least before 1990 many people in Denmark thought of the EU (or EEC as it was then called) as a very French project.

        • I do see the points you made. Please allow me 3 small remarks.

          1. I think that we all agree that the fall of the Iron Curtian was a good thing. Whatever probelms we might face now, the situation now is much better for everyone than what we had before 1989.
          2. A lot of the stagnation in the EU is down to Berlin blocking resonable progress imo. We can still see that in the Berlin reaction to all the interesting ideas Mr. Macron has come up with.
          3. I think that we can have empathy with everyone irrespective if we find people’s mentalities easy to handle or not.

        • And I’d be happy if Dimi told me some Greek history lessons. Oxi did so when I visited Thessaloniki, and I was very grateful. :)

  14. We’ve got another hung parliament in Spain. I guess that it is time to learn how to work in coalitions now. And I have a question: Is the Catalonia issue partly responsible for the rise of obnoxious VOX? Is anyone from Spain here who could tell me?

  15. Nicola Caligiore will be leaving RAI. I fear this might not be good news for eurovision and its popularity in Italy since he was a big fan:
    http://esct2019.storage.googleapis.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/wsi-imageoptim-niccaligiore-1-600×600.jpg?x80666

    • Huge loss. Italy has been the 2nd best (and my favourite) country this past decade and it feels he was a big part behind it. Sad he/they never got the win they deserved.

    • It’s bad news indeed. Let’s hope that it won’t affect the quality of Italy’s entries.
      Thank you, Mr Caligiore and all the best for the future.

    • Well, maybe they will get their stagings finally right now. San Remo will keep on serving quality songs as usual for RAI and their ESC expeditions.

      • true, the only “decent” staging is also the one I personally dislike the most (2015) but almost all other lives, considering the songs we knew beforehand, were disappointing or a mismatch and ending up costing Italy (and a possible win in 2019); now let’s not forget through a lot of that era the Italian delegation had to chose who to send to the contest, and not necessarily the SR winner, which can be different with the new delegation, leading to more “out there” entries (something only Italians get but that wouldn’t work in esc, etc): not all SR entries are good, including some that do well

        • Portion of great entries is still remarkably higher in Sanremo than in any of national finals or ESC. Still you are right. Italy has managed to bring serious Italo horror ESC stage -11, -12, -14 and -15, worst of that lot being the 4 star hotel lobby jazz of -11.
          If you ask me, they lost potential winner in -17 too.

          • maybe but Salvador was still probably to win both set of votes, it didn’t have any genre competition when Italy had more fun and cheeky entries to compete with, Moldova or even Romania… so even with a good live (or one that made more sense than gorilla, which worked in the realm of three nights SR but not for the casual European viewer), I’m not sure they’d have won. Whereas 2019 was very open, the winner was 3rd jury and 2nd televote only… it was an easy year to grab for many, and the “we didnt screw the live with a good song and very charismatic singer also have bookmakers with us going in” ended up winning

            • Don’t find Duncan charismatic at all, more like pin up boy for chic nerdiness, a bit awkward and a bit clumsy – in that sense very 2019. But you are right, they didn’t mess it up. Song is very strong as was the performance.
              As for Sobral, sure, he would have been a tough one to beat. It was a huge ESC juggernaut, backed by fantastic PR campaign, you really had to give in to it. Casual ESC viewers knew it before hand as Sobral’s story was the only one worth click hungry media’s attention all around Europe. It’s a stand out song in the context of ESC, and it took us all by surprise like Lordi. No one saw it coming, but it did came and cleaned the table :-)

        • I think that Marco’s simple staging and stylish suit were just perfect. :)

  16. As the German saying goes: Mr Farage set off roaring like a lion but ended up as Mr. Johnson’s bedside carpet. LOL

  17. Here is the full word:
    Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz

  18. Btw. my aunt was in Berlin some days ago. Here is a postcard she bought:

  19. Ok, I think we start…. The first potential song for Ukraine Vidbir 2020, OHITVA – “Wonder” :

  20. I don’t listen to jazz that much, but while cooking I had a re-listen to one of my favourite albums within the genre: Jazz på svenska (Jazz in Swedish) by Jan Johansson. It is based on Swedish folk melodies.

    If you like relaxed, laid-back jazz with just piano and double bass, you should check it out :)

  21. Off topic, something that made me very happy today!

    Finnish Kaija Saariaho, my favourite contemporary composer has been voted the greatest living composer by 174 composers for BBC Music Magazine’s December 2019 issue.
    174 composers were to name five composers from throughout history who they considered to be the greatest, according to four main criteria: originality, impact, craftsmanship and enjoyability.

    This is how top 10 looks like:

    1. Johann Sebastian Bach
    2. Igor Stravinsky
    3. Ludwig van Beethoven
    4. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    5. Claude Debussy
    6. Gyorgy Ligeti
    7. Gustav Mahler
    8. Richard Wagner
    9. Maurice Ravel
    10. Claudio Monteverdi

    Kaija Saariaho became 17th and along category ”living” she wins also category ”female”, of course.

    I have recommended Saariaho and especially her operas many times to Anders, hope this wonderful piece of news gives him the final push needed!

    (Sibelius became 12th, which is not bad at all. )

     

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