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UK Magazine of the OGAE Eurovision Song Contest Fan Club,
(Journal De L'Organisation Générale Des Amateurs Eurovision)

OGAE (UK) 1998 "Friendly" Eurosong Convention.
Location: Manchester.
Date: 9-11th October 1998.

REPORT: More than 50 members travelled to Manchester's Hotel International (no relation to Dana!) for the annual OGAE (UK) Convention at which Ireland's 1992 winner, Linda Martin, was definately top of the bill! Delegates arrived on the Friday evening to be greeted with videos of 1981 - reliving those skirt ripping routines of Bucks Fizz - and the four way tie of 1969 which still continues to amaze and mystify as to how such a happening could take place!

After the first meal of the weekend the first OGAE (UK) Stars In Their Eurovision Eyes was held amid much laughter, well meaning humour and, above all, applause! First to take the stage was Germany's Leon with the infectious Planet of Blue and a near perfect dance routine that would even make the real Leon envious!

Germany also provided the second act with Mekado (aka Richard, Colette and John - or should that be Ri-Co-Jo?) belting out the fact that Wir Geben Ne Party, and party they did!. Paul Oscar 'flew' in from Iceland to re-enact those exciting days of Dublin 97 and Miin Hinsti Dans. Not wanting to be left out, several members of the audience joined Paul in an impromptu dance routine that was almost unbelievable!

Turning to a classy ballad, Croatia's Danijela, or James to friends, undressed once again while performing Neka Mi Ne Svane and certainly left the fans wanting more! In contrast, Chiara (aka Marcus) was intent on keeping her clothes on, although from time to time the secrets underneath the dress were clearly revealed. And with a few candles from the restaurant, those impromptu dancers surrounded Chiara to hear that, after all, they really were The One That I Love.

The lead singer of Mocedades, otherwise known as Desiree, took everyone back to the 1970's with a superb performance of Eres Tu. As in 1973, Spain looked like a strong contender but there were still four acts to follow. One of ESC's BIGGEST names, Celine (Richard) Dion was having some vocal difficulties with Ne Partez Pas San Moi. Vous, Vous, Vous ... fortunately the same didn't happen for Switzerland ten years ago.

By this time rumours were rife that Dana (Mark) International had just arrived at the hotel. Could it be true? Surely not! But as the strains of Diva commenced and the feathers entered the door, it became more than obvious that Dana had arrived. A strong Israeli contender who could possibly jeopardise Spanish chances! Azucar Moreno (aka Richard & Mark) made a brief entry but, as in 1990, they were plagued with continuing difficulties surrounding the backing track of Bandido. A possible sympathy vote was expected!

Finally Ruth (Andy) Jacott brought the show to a close with Verde, but surely the stage routine was that associated with Danijela!

The audience were now confronted with the task of selecting a winner and, as the votes were counted, it became apparent that Paul Oscar, Dana International and Mocedades were neck and neck. However, just avoiding a recount, Mocedades scrapped ahead to win the prestigious Celebration award. Desiree, a recent member of OGAE (UK) and originally from Norway, had clearly chosen a popular ESC entry and , as such, was congratulated the following evening by Linda Martin.

The Saturday morning saw the now customary record fair, plus the annual raffle which included some fantastic prizes. Most people went away happy, regardless of whether they had won or purchased that elusive CD! After a generous buffet, and thanks to Clive, the Eurovision Second Place Contest was held. Every entry, since 1975 to allow consistency in voting procedures, which had come second was compiled on video so that delegates could vote on their own personal favourites. Stirring memories which spanned more than 20 years, delegates were amazed at the quality of songs which had come close to winning, occassionally questioning why some excellent songs had been beaten by something more kitsch over the years! The majority of convention delegates were able to vote, and a summary of the songs and final placings can be found elsewhere on this web site. Suffice to say that Anabel Conde won for Spain, beating Poland's Edyta Gorniak by a mere 3 points and providing the convention with its second Spanish victory of the weekend!

There was just time to change for the evening meal, after which Vision editor, Gordon Lewis, welcomed Linda Martin on behalf of everyone present. Dressed in a spectacular emerald outfit with countless sequins, Linda began her faultless cabaret performance with Love Isn't Love (aka Framling) receiving rapturous applause from the assembled crowd.

Leading into Linda's own unique version of Saturday Night at the Movies, she then spoke about her entry which failed to win the Irish Eurosong in 1990. Johnny Logan had been convinced that All The People In The World was a Euro-winner, and Linda's superb convention performance of this song seemed to confirm this. Between Who's Sorry Now and I'm Gonna Get You Linda spoke about her album, the relaunch of her career by a management team who are also responsible for other Irish acts, such as Boyzone, and the 'new look' hairstyle which, revealed Linda's deep longing for her former length rather than her present style - but she still looked fabulous!

After singing Where The Boys Are Linda gave a very rare performance of her 1984 ESC entry Terminal 3 much to the delight of everyone present. Usually she feels that the song requires a full orchestra to maintain the overall style, but on this occassion Linda used a suitable backing track to provide her fans with this special treat. Love Letters and When You Walk In The Room were followed by the traditional Irish song Carrickfergus which Linda performed without accompaniment whatsoever. She also dedicated this song to OGAE (UK) member Francis Aiken, from Northern Ireland, and his father who were both at the convention. Once again this confirmed Linda's ability to provide her audience with those extra special moments which enhance her totally professional performaces.

A little Self Control became the order of the night as Linda started to bring the cabaret to a close. And the only song that could finish the night was, of course, Linda's 1992 winning song Why Me?. With a near silent audience, further ecstatic applause followed the final note as it slowly faded away. It had been a great show and, as always, proves once again that Eurovision winners are sadly overlooked far too often. Linda is certainly a winner, as far as OGAE fans are concerned, and she did not disappoint! Unlike previous years there was no disco, but Linda was more than happy to stay and chat to everyone until the early hours. A few then continued to chat with each other while some, nearly exhausted with alcohol and tiredness staggered to their rooms.

Sunday arrived all too quickly, but provided the opportunity to watch a reprise of 1998 before the inevitable time came to say goodbye. Once again the convention had proved to be a huge success, mainly due to the appearance of Linda Martin, but also from the total commitment shown by organisers Richard & Clive to whom OGAE (UK) extends a sincere word of thanks!

As for next year? Well, plans are already in hand for both the 1999 and Year 2000 conventions. Watch this web site for news!

© OGAE (UK) / Mad Hack Gif Pilgrims Web Services 1999