Fans in focus: Katja's story14 August 2013 at 18:13 CEST
Continuing our focus on the fans of Europe's favourite TV show, we turn now to Slovenia and to Katja's touching story. She wrote it herself and this is what she had to say:
"The Eurovision Song Contest has been one of my childhood traditions. My first memories go back to 1993-1995, when I was 4-6 years old, but the first time I remember watching the contest was in 1996 and I haven't missed a contest ever since. In 1999 I remember skipping into the living room, counting down the minutes until the contest would start and I remember being fascinated by the whole contest in 2001 and almost becoming a fan already then. But it wasn't until 2003, when I became a full-blooded fan. So in 2003 I was 14. Completely insecure, socially awkward and extremely nerdy (I even had both glasses AND braces, so I personified typical nerds from US teen movies) and without any sense of fashion. Living in a dysfunctional family and bullied by everyone in school my life was…eh, interesting to say the least. I was a major fan of a pop group Bepop (Slovenian National Final 2003), which was getting out of fashion in my school during that time, so I was bullied even more. However, in May 2003 something completely crazy happened. 2 days before Eurovision in Riga I saw the preview show where entries would be presented one by one. I had read before that the Swedish song had been voted as the worst entry of the contest by a Latvian newspaper, so I was like: “Hmmm, wonder how it sounds then.”
And then came the song. I immediately said: “Ehm, are those Latvian journalists deaf? This is the best song of the year!” It was stuck in my head later on and during the night I wanted the Swedes to win. They eventually finished 5th and I was happy. Afterwards I purchassed the official CD of the contest, which I was playing like mad in my CD player and Fame’s song was the first I played on repeat and learned by heart (other faves were Iceland and Spain btw). A new Eurovision-fan was born! Later on, in the summer and autumn I started exploring Sweden more and more. First I found out that the Swedish selection was called Melodifestivalen and I became a fan of A*Teens and Alcazar as well. And during that time I started picking up some Swedish words, but it wasn’t until late summer 2004, after my first Stockholm trip with my father, that I decided to learn Swedish for real. I was a proud member of some online communities back then and I was curiously entering the Eurovision-world.
"I could be someone, I could be anyone"
By entering Eurovision-world I suddenly realised I wasn't going to be bullied here. I could be someone, I could be anyone. That gave me power to really learn the Swedish language and to properly discover a language talent that I had hidden in me all the time. Eurovision made me tolerant, made me embrace the gay world which I'm proud to promote and advocate to the (often) homophobic environment around me. My Eurovision-love grew stronger and stronger and I can place myself as a Nordic schlagerfan as I, apart from Eurovision, adore schlager music and Nordic national finals (I have a big collection of both Eurovision material and Scandinavian National Final CDs and DVDs and I also tend to listen to artists with National Final & Eurovision experience, such as Carola, Lena PH, Nanne, Charlotte Perrelli, Elisabeth Andreassen, Måns Zelmerlöw, Pall Oskar, Fame, Tooji, ...), but I really like quirky pop girls such as Lena, Krista Siegfrids or Getter Jaani as well.
In 2010 I passed TISUS, which gave me a qualification in the Swedish language to be able to study in Sweden. And I’ve seen the Melodifestivalen final twice live in Globen so far. All thanks to Fame. I’m well aware of the fact that this song may be hated among some Eurovision fan-circles (I heard certain individuals saying it was “contrived and banal schlager-cheese”), but to me it means A LOT. It will have a special place in my heart for life and I hope I get the chance to meet both Jessica and Magnus together (I met Magnus 6 years ago, but only briefly) and tell them what impact their song had on my life and me as a person. The same story happened with the Danish entry In A Moment Like This by Chanee & N'evergreen which encouraged me to start exploring more of Dansk Melodi Grand Prix and learn Danish back in 2010 (which I now speak at an intermediate level) and with the Norwegian entry Stay by Tooji, which encouraged me to start exploring more of Melodi Grand Prix and learn Bokmål Norwegian (which I can make myself understood in at the moment).
I have yet to see the Eurovision Song Contest live, I hope it will be as soon as possible, but my dream is even crazier than that - I want to take part myself OR to be involved with the Eurovision Song Contest (a commentator, a blogger, a journalist or to be the one responsible for my country's selection, sort of like Christer Björkman is in Sweden), and considering my knowledge and me being both young and actively involved with the Eurovision-fanworld I think I could provide some good entries and hopefully some good results as well. But that is a bit OTT to say and not really realistic, but hey - a girl can dream!"