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Last Updated: Sunday, 13 May 2007, 07:54 GMT 08:54 UK
'Why I love Eurovision glamour'
Alec Parkin in his replica Scooch outfit
Alec flew to Bangkok to have his Scooch suit specially made
Alec Parkin, 27, from Manchester, is a huge Eurovision fan who was shocked to read so many negative comments on the BBC's Have your Say debate on the Eurovision song contest.

He got in touch, from Helsinki, to tell the other side of the story.

Quite what it is about the Eurovision that gets to me, I just don't know.

At first, I loved being able to warble away in foreign tongues and loved the whole European concept.

I have always been one for travelling and experiencing music and culture from other countries.

As a family, we derided the awful tunes and the even worse dance routines, we mocked every technical glitch as a sign of complete incompetence on the part of our European rivals.

Secretly, however, I was impressed by it all. It's nothing if not glamorous, more so today than in previous years.

Everything is put into an entry. It doesn't always work, quite often it fails miserably but it's a spectacle reminiscent of a West End show, and I'm totally addicted.

This is my third visit - it can be hard getting tickets and the time off work - but it's most definitely worth it.

Making your mind up

I have to admit, when I watched "Making Your Mind Up" in which the UK selected our entry for the final, I was devastated that Cyndi didn't get through.

I felt we had a great song with a fantastic performer on our hands. Even, dare I say it, a possible winner.

However, Scooch played to probably the largest contingent in the Eurovision community, and that is the "camp camp". How could they fail?
I just couldn't let the opportunity pass me by to glam up for the final.

"Flying the Flag" ticks all the boxes; catchy tune, a routine which was undoubtedly replicated at many a party last night, glitz, glamour, and the all-important innuendo.

I picked myself up and resolved to throw my support behind the song.

I don't go for the UK entry just because I'm British, I go for a song I like.

This year, however, was an exception, I am a longhaul cabin crew member for a major British carrier so I just couldn't let the opportunity pass me by to glam up for the final.

Scooch suit

Immediately before flying out to Helsinki for the contest, I requested a trip to Sydney via Bangkok, with the specific intention of getting myself a "Scooch suit" made by a tailor.

Locating a tailor who felt he was up to the job was no easy task; countless e-mails resulted in negative responses, (either the silver trim was a problem or the cuffs were too difficult...) but eventually I found someone up to the job.

The day after arriving in Bangkok, I visited the tailor, armed with as many Scooch images as I could find, to explain what I wanted.

The poor man was remarkably unfazed by the whole thing.

He saw the Union Jacks and thought it might be a national dress.
Scooch performing in the Eurovision song contest
British act Scooch only scored 19 points with their song

I headed on to Sydney, returning three days later for a fitting, to which I dragged along a colleague for honest advice.

After much alteration, bemused looks and a heated debate over whether certain details could be achieved, my suit was ready, complete with shirt, tie and cummerbund.

There was a moment of panic when the group was spotted at various events in Helsinki wearing a pink version of the outfit.

I had visions of it all going horribly wrong - me sat beside a nonplussed Finn silently questioning my taste in clothes - but fortunately blue won through and I didn't make a complete fool of myself.

Rousing performance

So, last night. I was decidedly up-beat following the final dress-rehearsal.

Scooch had received a much better reaction than in previous outings and the audience seemed to enjoy it all.

It was a definite disadvantage that we came right after Ukraine's Verka Seduchka, who, irrespective of your feelings on the song, put on a rousing performance and whipped up the spectators.

I have vague recollections of standing up and dancing all the way through, flying my pink Union Jack flag

The performance on the night was great and again, the song was received well in the hall.

I have vague recollections of standing up and dancing all the way through, flying my pink Union Jack - which subsequently disappeared. Whoever took it, I'd quite like it back, there's next year to think of, you know!

The outfit was very well received altogether; many spectators asked to have their photo taken with me and it generated much conversation on my journey into the arena.

Post-show, I had intended to hit the town but exhaustion from the week got the better of me and I retired relatively early at 3.30am. Though I did rather enjoy the attention I got waiting in the taxi queue!

Politics

And what of the result?

Well, to be expected, unfortunately.

I had hoped that the European "camp camp" might appreciate the song, and the performance, as much as the UK audience did back in March.

Things do seem to be getting more political and I really do wonder if we would ever stand a chance of winning.

Serbian entry
Marija Serifovic, 23, from Serbia won the contest

However, I'm glad Serbia managed to beat Ukraine and at least a decent song won.

I had fears after last year that the focus was shifting from the song to the performance - the spectacle - so it's good to see a strong song, performed simply and in a language that is not English, pull through and attract the attention it deserves.

This seemed to be the general feeling of those seated around me, although there was natural disappointment that their respective countries did not succeed, the audience appreciated the winner.

But as I write this, I do wonder how on earth I'll manage getting to Belgrade in 2008. And what will I wear....?





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