Having landed last night, I wanted to make sure that I visited the accreditation centre before doing any sightseeing today. Everything went smoothly and the hosts appear to be pulling out all the stops to impress visitors.
On the way there and back I tried to blend into the hustle of Baku. However, being a tall, pale chap in shorts, the locals clearly had my number as they called out ‘welcome!’ to me from across the street. It’s a grand place, a mixture of Istanbul, Kiev and Dubai. Like any boomtown, the principal activity seems to be welding.
Anyway, enough of the the Judith Chalmers stuff. Here’s what you can expect from Sofabet over the next few weeks, as well as a handy set of links to our country-by-country pre-rehearsal analysis of the leading contenders.
If you followed us in Dusseldorf last year, you can expect something very similar this time around. For the first and second rehearsals, I will post a review once all the day’s rehearsals are finished. Baku’s remoteness may be frustrating for those looking to attend the contest, but for blog readers the four-hour time difference means that a local 7pm-ish finish to each day’s rehearsals will enable these summaries to appear by the mid-afternoon back in the UK.
I may also send off a rare, standalone tweet if I feel like something particularly significant occurs during the day. Therefore, it may be a useful time to start following Sofabet on Twitter if you don’t already do so. However, the best way to ask me questions will be through the comments section of Sofabet, as usual. I will endeavour to answer these, though please bear with me.
It’s worth reading again my advice on interpreting the blogs, one of my top ten tips articles written before the 2010 contest. To summarise: don’t get too carried away by early reports; bear in mind the predilections and biases already expressed on each site; and most importantly, use video footage to form your own opinion.
At this stage, it looks like it may well be an open year, though with rehearsals everything is seen in a whole new light based on who is getting the staging right or wrong. Nonetheless, if you want to remind yourself of my own thoughts and biases, here in alphabetical order are my pre-rehearsal articles on the leading contenders: