wiwibloggs has more than 40 correspondents from all around the world. We want to be as close to our readers as we can, so in the coming months we’ll be introducing you to everyone on the team. Today we’re talking to one of our London correspondents Chris Halpin.
Hey Chris! Could you tell us a bit about yourself?
Hi! I’m Chris. I’m 23 years old and I currently live in London in the UK, though I grew up in Manchester. I’m a journalism graduate, though I currently work as a manager for a retail company. I’m also, unsurprisingly, a huge Eurovision fan!
When did you start working on wiwibloggs and what’s your job here?
I started writing for wiwibloggs in May 2014 — only a couple of weeks after the contest finished! In terms of my role, I’m primarily a news writer, but I’ve also been very lucky to lead the Wiwi Jury for the Malta Eurovision Song Contest. I’m also in charge of the Wiwi Roundtable and have featured on the Wiwi Roundup a couple of times so far.
When did you become a Eurovision fan?
So, the first ESC that I remember is the 1997 contest. I was sitting at home in my lounge with my family as Katrina and the Waves performed and I was hooked from that moment. I spent the entire night commentating over Terry Wogan as the UK’s lead got bigger and bigger… I think it was a sense of national pride and a burgeoing love for the contest all mixed in to one! After that, I was hooked.
Which ESC song is your all-time favourite?
Ahhhhh! This is such a difficult question because I really have three! “Love Shine a Light” is my sentimental favourite and “Euphoria” holds a special place in my heart…but I think my all-time favourite is “Everyway That I Can” by Sertab Erener. It’s a bit of an oddball pick but I adore the live performance and Sertab is an incredible singer.
Favourite Eurovision memory?
The 2012 contest is a pretty special one for me. That was the first contest where I’d really followed the buildup – my first DMGP, Melodifestivalen, everything! So to be able to sit there and watch it all unfold over the semi finals and the final was great. Plus my favourite song of the contest won and did so in spectacular fashion, which was a great way to round out that year!
If you could change something about Eurovision, what would it be?
I don’t really know if there’s anything I really would change, to be honest. I think that there’s certainly reason to call for the EBU to be a lot harsher and to investigate “vote rigging” scandals a lot more, but I think that even some of the minor steps they made going in to 2014 have helped an awful lot. Ultimately, you’ll never be able to make everyone happy.
Do you have some Eurovision-related dream?
Ultimately, I’d love to work for the BBC production team in the build-up to and broadcast of the contest.
Through my studies at University and some other bits of work I’ve been able to do, I know that working in that area would be my ideal job full stop, but to be able to combine it with one of my biggest passions outside of work would be incredible!
In the short term, though, it’s my goal to be able to actually attend a contest…and everything looks to be in place for me to do that in Vienna in May!
Has being a Eurovision fan changed your life? How?
On a grand scale, probably not — but there are things that Eurovision has opened me up to that I’m very thankful for. My musical tastes used to be extremely limited, to the extent where it was pretty much just mainstream pop and that was that. But over the past few years I’ve grown to start to listen to so many different artists from all over Europe. Even if they’re not Eurovision artists, I wouldn’t have had that exposure to them if it weren’t for doing more research in to the European music scene because of ESC.
What kind of reaction do you get when you tell people that you are a Eurovision fanatic?
Most of my friends have just kind of accepted it as me being me by now! I do get some people who go on about how “it’s awful” and “the songs are so bad”, but by this point I just brush those comments off and let those people keep to their own opinions. Not worth the effort to get in to arguments if they’re going to be close-minded about it. Generally people just seem to take it as who I am and that’s a good thing as far as I’m concerned.
In your mind, what’s the greatest Eurovision injustice?
Two words: “Na Inat”. Enough said!
Do you have any hobbies outside of Eurovision?
I have a fair few – I’m really in to Formula One and I’m a pretty big gamer too. Currently I’m rocking Super Smash Bros and Pokémon on my 3DS. In theory, I also go to the gym but that’s very much just an “in theory” some of the time… I also blame my love of baking for taking time away from the gym (and being the reason I need to go there too).
What else you do in your free time?
Generally I just like hanging out with my friends, going out or to a friend’s house. My relationships with my friends are very important to me and I like being able to do things with them as much as I can.
What’s best about living in your country and in your city/town?
So, I’m originally from Manchester but currently I live in London. I like just how much there is to do in the country in general. Every city tends to have something cool hidden away. You get that a lot in London and the diversity that it has to offer in terms of culture is incredible. You’ll go out for one specific thing and end up finding really cool things along the way.
Where would you like to travel the most?
I love going to Paris and New York – they’re my two favourite places in the world that I’ve been to. I really want to go to Japan at some point soon too as I’m a pretty big Japanophile, but that will require a fair bit of saving up first!
What kind of music do you listen to besides Eurovision music?
There’s no real set agenda to what I listen to really. Certainly a lot of European artists feature high up on my list, like Laura Narhi and First Aid Kit. I’m still mainly a pop fan and I will listen to some of the more mainstream artists too, but my moods and what I want to listen to at any given point can change at any moment’s notice.
What is your favourite wiwibloggs article of all time?
Okay, so I’m a huge fan of RuPaul’s Drag Race and I have to admit that I was dying over our Eurovision GIFs post about it. In terms of my favourite article that I have done, I’d probably say my Germany wishlist is high up there. It’s one of those things where I was able to do some more research and discover some acts that I’d never really been exposed to and ended up loving even more than the ones I had down for the list in the first place! Also, my interview with Sophie DeBattista was great because it was the first interview I’d ever done for the website!
Do you have a message for wiwireaders?
Thank you for all the comments, the feedback and…well, everything in general! Keep on reading because I’m sure that with all your support we’ll keep on growing and growing as part of Team Wiwi!