Hejsan Hejsan! If you're just tuning in be sure to read my Welcome Back intro to get you up-to-date. Got it? Good. Let's start with a trip down memory lane, and cover some bits and pieces of the past 9 months!
But let me first send a BIG THANK YOU for the warm welcome I got in this country! They even put my name on their chairs. It's really too kind of them!
My first trip here was already in July. I came down here to meet the RTP team, and of course have some fish! You will notice that we eat quite a lot down here...........
That day also involved a visit to the venue. Red Hot Chili Peppers were kind enough to play the night I was here.
I also decided to pick up an old girlfriend of mine. Sorry, I mean, a girl that is my friend! Melanie Cagnon was my pyro coordinator at the 150 year anniversary of Cinco de Mayo that I did in Mexico a couple of years ago.
Born and raised in Canada, but has been living in Portugal the past 15 years. Find an Executive Head of Production Assitant - CHECK! We ate fish that night by the way..........
If you ever come to Portugal, you HAVE to eat their crispy baby pork! OMG!!!!!!!! Here is Tobias together with our Deputy Executive Producer Carla Bugalho whom was the Head of Delegation for Portugal in Kiev last year, and Diogo Cobral,whom is our Head of Precurement and IMS manager. I almost forgot, Carla is our Show Producer as well!
We started off in an office with a river view at the RTP Headquarters. Well....... I had river view!
But before we knew it, we were out of space - here demonstrated by Diogo, his right hand and left foot, Paulo Cruz and our Deputy Executive Producer Paulo Resende. Paulo is my closest boss, so I have to be nice to him all the time........horrible.........
Anyway, we managed to score gold! We got access to a couple of huge rooms at the Portuguese Pavilion, right next to the venue, and moved in there early 2018.
Besides a great location and great space, it came with a pretty awesome 120 meter long balcony on the second floor. Horrible view huh?
We have great living conditions as well! This is our house, in the middle of the street, or roundabout if you like. We've been staying in apartments here since October last year. 5 minute walk to the river, 12 minute walk to the venue, and a 3 minute walk to the Mojito bar that stays open till 03:00 every night!
This allows us to have very romantic breakfasts at home! Here is Tobias with our Logistics Manager Erik Blomdahl, enjoying an early morning gourmet feast at my place.
But there are days when we are just too lazy to cook in the morning. We found a place on the way to the office where you can pop in and get a breakfast for 2,5€. Here demonstrated by our Head Rigger Johannes Schau and Tobias. People here thought that we are REALLY weird having breakfast outside in February. We thought, 14° = a really nice summer day in Finland!
But why stop there! Going to the beach in early March wasn't that bad either!
There has been a fair amount of travel during pre production. Besides going back and forth to Lisbon, me and Tobias went to London to visit the PLASA show. Besides chasing new toys and having meetings with manufacturers, I also squeezed in hosting the KOI at Apollo!
Next stop was Los Angeles. Meetings, meetings, meetings and then I found a proper star to pass out next to.
I also found a traditional Eurovision cowboy!
Funny enough, it actually took me 13 Eurovision productions before I made it to the EBU headquarters in Geneva!
What better way to spend your wedding anniversary than with the most romantic Lighting Designer in the world? I know, there isn't one! So I went to Bergamo with our LD Jerry Appelt! We did have time to visit Clay Paky too, in between taking romantic selfies!
Next stop - Las Vegas and the LDI show. And wouldn't you know! I found a chair with my name on it here too!
Besides meetings, meetings and meetings, I also had the pleasure to go and see Celine Dion. She is from Canada, just as Melanie, difference is that one of them is working the show, the other one won it! 30 years ago this year, to be precise!
We managed to squeeze in a quick break for Christmas, and then it was back to Portugal for a first production workshop with all our suppliers. Here is our set designer Florian Wieder explaining his creation.
Hard work must be rewarded with good food!
And how on earth can you have a meeting about IT if there is not proper steak and stuff involved? Here with Hapmus Rosenqvist and Axel Ekbladh from TPO.
More crispy baby pork! How else would I celebrate the birthday of my wife, Joan Lyman, who is also Executive Production Assitant, especially since I chose a romantic lighting designer over her on our wedding anniversary? Here with our Executive Producer Joao Nuno Nogueira, or JNN as we call him in the Hip Hop world, Diogo and Melanie!
2018 is the year when we introduce Nutella Pizza to Eurovision! It was a trial and error that turned into a success! The jury consisted of myself, our Viewing Room Director Mattias Carlsson, our Contest Producer Christer Björkman and our Layout Manager Tobias Brodd, also known as the CAD-Muppet.
Next challange was to convince our Stage Directors Martin Kagemark and Marvin Dietmann. It went VERY well.
For reasons unknown to humanity, Mattias has celebrated his birthday around 10 times so far in the project. It started off with Martin Kagemark needing an excuse to order dessert, and then it just rolled on. The staff at various restaurants around town are utterly confused over this behaviour, since quite many of us now are up to multiple birthday celebrations in just a couple of months.
We have three ways to go to the venue from our apartment. If you choose the river walk, you can eat breakfast like a Björkman!
And in the river, there is water, and in water lives lobster, and lobsters are evil, so they must be eaten!
Unless you happen to pass a place that sells crispy baby pork of course!
Here is an old Eurovision veteran re entering the wonderful world of Eurovision after a couple of years in absence! Tarmo Krimm is our Technical Director for broadcast!
Jerry has not given up his hopes for an AAA pass to this show, so he takes every moment to be friendly to Andi Schmitz, who is the Head of Accreditation and Security from EBU.
Here's another veteran back on the job! Matthias Rau returns as Head of Lighting and is also Jerry's Gaffer. Always a pleasure to have you on the team buddy! We are forming a band, and this will be our record cover, just so you know. Well...... at least that was the plan up till Germany kicked Sweden out of the Olympic Hockey tournament. Now I don't like Germans anymore!
In late January, we went to see the test build of one of the total 56 ribs that we have in our set design. The biggest ones are 13 meters tall when erected! We will come back and cover staging, and all other departments later!
I promisse you! I'm almost done with the food postings!
Ok, last food recomendation for today! You HAVE to try the oysters if you come here! OMG! Salty and fresh, and to die for!
Back to work! At the end of January we had the Allocation Draw, which is where we draw what country will be in which Semi Final.
This is also where the Mayor from last year's host city hands over the honor to host Eurovision to the Mayor for the next city. So why not take a selfie with Vitali Klitschko, Mayor of Kiev, and three time heavyweight world champion in boxing.
And in between all this food and travel, there have of course been countless hours of planning and scheduling to have everything in perfect shape for April 04, our first day of load in! And THAT day is something that we will cover tomorrow!
Feeding the donkey sponge cake as they say in Portugal!