It took me a while to think through the welcome party we had yesterday in Moscow. An amazing 2-(was it more)-hour show in the Russian capital marked the official opening of the European song contest 2009.

Stars such as Phillip Kirkorov, Alsu, the German popular band from the 70s Genghis Khan, and Lys Assia sang and made people forget at least for a while about the word economic crisis.

The winner of the 1991 Eurovision, the Swedish singer Carola also performed her hit from 2007 Invincible. The heart of the mountain, who brought Eurovision to Ukraine in 2004, the wild dancer Ukraine rocked the stage with her rhythm for the joy of the crazy mob.

t.A.t.U sang their hit from 2003 Ne ver’, ne boisya, ne prosi – the once rebellious girls now looked a bit more appeased. A more rebellious artist, though, went on stage to present her/his rebellious of the time “Viva la Diva” – yes, you know I mean Dana International. Other legendary artists went on stage to remind us of the good old days of Eurovision…

Well, watching all these singers, whatever they do, I can’t help thinking about Sir Terry Wogan and his brilliant witted comments in the 70s and 80s. So, think twice before you pack your suitcases for Moscow. As you know it is one of the most expensive cities in the world. Though it’s an amazing place and you might have the urge to drop in at the Palace.

I have recently spoken to a friend of mine, who lives in Moscow. She’s been working in the Russian capital for a year now and is also trying to bribe me into going to Moscow too. It’s such a paradise, she often says. I guess it’s true, but it’s also true that Moscow is of the most expensive cities in the world as well. Still, my friend assures me that you on live on about 1000 Euros per month, if you pay for bills, transport, etc, well, basically, live on the cheap and still okay.

As you are probably planning a Eurovision trip, you might be interested in some tips on how to financially survive in Moscow. Here is a piece of UNcommon sense to make your life easier in Moscow, if you still have any doubts whether to go or not.

  • coach surfing: CouchSurfing is a very popular method of travelling in staying abroad. It is a worldwide network for making connections between travellers, tourists, students, adventure-seekers… and local people in the places they visit.
  • hitch-hike: If you are a lover of hitch-hiking, this method will help you move round without paying. I know a person who got from Portugal to Ukraine hitch-hiking, but he is an extreme case. A way to travel better still is..
  • low-cost flights: you don’t need to be told that the second best way to travel is with a low-cost air company. (The ultimate best is the free trip, of course)
  • sandwiches to go: you can make your own sandwiches while in Moscow – buy and bring the lightest foods, suck as packed cheese, and you’ll make it!
  • volunteer as part of the Eurovision organisation: get in touch with the organisers of the contest. They might need volunteers. Chances grow if you speak more than two languages.
  • get something to do in Moscow: you should have already done this… at least a month before the show. Ideally, if you can afford a place to stay, you can combine a part-time job and watching the rehearsals.
  • drink a lot … and you won’t be able to care less where you are.
  • Have a go with Moscow famous museums, libraries and bookstores.. These are free places, where you can spend hours on end, not spending a single ruble, having some time away from the Press Centre.
  • don’t miss the countries’ parties every night – but choose carefully! Most countries offer food, but others rely on buffet only. Select the countries with the best PR and the most massive promo campaign – they are sure to spend money on the promo party at the Eurovision village as well
  • and finally…

  • marry a Russian girl / boy. If they are rich – all for the better! :)

Now you are equipped with all necessary skills and information for a successful survival in Moscow. Good luck!

The Georgian bee trio Bzikebi (The Wasps) won the sixth Junior Eurovision Song Contest minutes ago. With 154 points they bzzzed the competition away. The bees were magnificent on stage, in yellow and black, they performed a lovely typically childish yet very complex song. And the lyrics consists of a single word only – “bzzz”, performed with immaculate mixture of tones and melodies.

Congratulations, Georgia!

A quarter of an hour before the show in Lemesos you can cut the air with a knife – the hall is almost full, the performers are already backstage, with their make-up and stage constumes on, eager to start.

Who are you going to vote for? And who do you think will the winner be? I love the Georgian track, and Oliver from Belgium has a lovely song too! Ukraine has a great lively, pically children’s song, combined with a nice kids’ show… Well, I keep my fingers crossed for all the kids to be happy with what they will have done tonight!

Dustin the TurkeyThe fact that I’m a vegetarian has nothing to do with my choice for first interview for this Eurovision season. Because it’s far from surprising that I decided to turn to the true source of Eurovision inspiration. Driven by my zest to learn what’s behind Dustin’s grand success in Ireland, I asked him a couple of questions about Eurovision, music, life, and birds. Despite his hectic schedule he was very kind to answer them.

Hello there Dustin,

Congratulations for your victory and good luck with your promo tour and above all, with your participation in the Contest. You are one of the most impressive entrants in this-year’s Eurovision Song Contest. That’s why I’m eager to ask you how did it occur to you to take part in the European extravaganza?

Thank very much Tanya, very kind of you! I think you’re right I am most impressive. The reason I decided to enter is simply, the people of Ireland need me. We’ve a proud Eurovision history but for the last few years our acts have died a death out there, so it was obvious to all concerned that it was time to send an act that could not only sing well but was also very, very beautiful. So naturally I was the obvious choice.

My next query is, what do you see happening in Eurovision from a bird’s-eye view? Do you predict fur flying?

When you’re as talented and good looking as me you get used to some people being jealous, that’s fine by me. As for fur flying, if it happens I’ll be upset, not for me but for the millions of little kiddies for whom I’m a leader, role model, idol and hero. You see they find it so, so hard to understand how others don’t instantly see my genius. Being young and innocent they don’t understand how jealousy can be such a cruel mistress.

You are a major showbiz star, you have years of experience in TV together with Zig & Zag, you have your own entertainment show, you host Dustin’s Daily News… Won’t you miss all this?

I’ve no intention of quitting my TV life, I simply couldn’t do that to the children of Ireland, they’d be devastated, there’d be riots on the street. I am the air that they breath. That said if I got to have a go at a proper euro-wide showbiz lifestyle I’d be gone it a shot.

Your style is truly curious! It’s (on the brink of?) camp, yet catchy and sweet in its parody and criticism. Tell me, how do you think your performance in all its splendour and feathers can influence people’s voting? And if yes, why?

The key to my performance is the song itself. In many ways it’s more then just a song, it’s an anthem, an anthem for the new Europe. Many believe it’s a song that will heal the world of all it’s suffering and unite the people’s of the world. Me? I think it’s better than that, to be honest I never really imagined music could be as good and powerful as it is in my song.

Is your song an outspoken protest, or a helpless attempt at changing recent unfavourable developments in Eurovision? How do you relate camp style with neighbour voting?

I love Eurovision, I reject all notion of block votes and deal making, though if Bulgaria want to vote for Ireland, I’ll be sure to get Ireland to vote for Bulgaria.

You tend to release your albums right before Christmas. How do you feel during Christmas time, Dustin?

It’s not a great time for me or indeed any turkeys, I try to hide out somewhere that nobody pays any attention to or even looks at, so next year I should be safe enough in the European Parliament.

For all those people, birds and chicks, who don’t know you, can you tell us, what style of music has mostly influenced you during the years? The Emerald Isle is famous for its grand singers, such as Johnny Logan, U2, Linda Martin, Sinéad O’Connor, Enya, to name but a few. Do they whisper anything to you?

Andea Corr is forever whispering to me but for legal reasons I can’t reveal what she says. My main musical influence would be Bono, we’ve a lot in common, we’re both small little fellas with big dreams about helping others, neither of us can really sing and lots of people laugh along to our songs.

Tell me in the end, what can people learn from poultry? Not only as far as Eurovision is concerned, but in general.

They can learn that vegetarianism isn’t just for hippies.

And finally, Dustin, let me express my sincerest wish for success. I do hope that the European audience will appreciate true European music. You’re one of my personal favourites!

My pleasure Tanya, hope to see ya in Belgrade, GO ON YA GOOD THING!!!!!

There’s always this group of people, who are up against all holidays, but we want to make it clear now that we do NOT belong to this mob. We’d love to have a glass of wine anytime for any reason and parties keep us very much alive and kicking.

However, there’s this notable exception! What’s really the fuss on St. Valentine, we often wonder? Why does the world go mental on this day and embarks on a huge quest across seas of flirty, fluffy, feathery, and fleecy gifts painted in red? For my short experience on this planet, I’ve come up with a list of reasons why not to join in the common commotion and refuse to accept that day February 14 has anything to do with the red rivers of candies, chocolate, flowers, vibrators, underwear, and red(!) polar bear key-chains – all shaped like hearts or in heart-shaped boxes.

So here’s my six and a half reasons why I’d love to stay in bed on Saint Valentine’s:

  1. It’s February, people! Unless you live in the Southern hemisphere, it’s winter up here, and it’s snow and frost everywhere. So, I prefer to tuck myself under my crazy quilt and try to catch some more sleep.
  2. Those who are in love are so cheerful and merry, that those who are not look even more sulky and miserable. For this reason only, I’d love to stay at home and have my glass of wine contemplating the sparks of my imaginary fireplace.
  3. Pubs are packed as if they were giving away beverages for free. The waitress is never coming and she’s always forgotten something. Everybody’s shouting and kissing loud that I feel as if I were in the jungle.
  4. Waitresses and taxi drivers are human beings too: they have feelings, they love and are loved! And we should consider these facts! That’s why be understanding and stay in bed, so that waitresses won’t have to work till late and can meet the taxi drivers (who won’t have to drive till late) and enjoy the night together :)
  5. Staying at home means, above all, listening to your favourite music. Anywhere you go, they’ll play exactly what you don’t like, even if you’re in the pub you frequent (of course, if you can hear any music at all, given the noisy crowds in the paragraph above). Pubs get massively changed to attract people of all tastes, and this can pose a real threat to your ear and good mood.
  6. Staying in bed, you won’t have to buy one of these presents that face the inescapable fate – buried in a drawer, gathering dust for ages, forgotten by next Valentine. Better get a bottle of red wine in a jiffy and enjoy the effect of spirits on your and your partner’s good spirits.
    6 1/2. If you’ve been reading so far, you already know that the bed is the perfect place to spend Saint Valentine’s day. It guarantees a great time with your loved one, and can well be a kick-off of a fresh member of the gang. So, beware, too.

Ever thought of becoming a great music star? Impossible? Read on, and you’ll see that a music career is not a mission impossible today.

What follows is an offer of 5 top spots where your music talent, even though you might be unaware of it, can be recognized by specialists.

  1. Frequent the bathroom, not necessarily to take a shower. The acoustics of the pipes and the ambiance of the place guarantees fast fame.
  2. Go camping in the mountains. Encountering a bear can change your life for good, but it can also be the beginning of a glorious career in opera.
  3. Use any chance to line up with a crowd of strangers. Never mind why, queuing to get the best seats for tonight’s gig, or waiting for your hot meal in the canteen, make sure you shout loud. You never know if anyone’s looking for partners for their new band. Local gigs are the best first source of income…
  4. Flood the Internet with your last single. You’ve got nothing to lose. Only those, whose mobiles are off all the time, never end up with a flat battery. But.. never get the crucial calls…
  5. Finally, try singing while bungee-jumping. Improvisation in show biz, I tell you, is what’ll keep you way ahead of the mobs.