SHARE
COPY LINK

EUROVISION

WATCH: Germany picks heartfelt ode to dead father as Eurovision song

Singer and songwriter Michael Schulte will represent Germany on May 12th in Lisbon.

WATCH: Germany picks heartfelt ode to dead father as Eurovision song
Photo: DPA

After a string of last place loses in the Eurovision Song Contest, Germany has chosen a new hopeful for this year’s contest, to be held on May 12th in Lisbon, Portugal.

Michael Schulte, 27, whose videos have been clicked more than a million times on YouTube, is entering the contest with the English-language song, “Let Me Walk Alone,” a ballad which he co-wrote in memory of his father who died when he was 13.

Schulte has been dubbed a German Ed Sheeran due to his signature style of jeans and a T-shirt, as well as a mass of curly hair. He took the stage on Thursday evening to sing the ballad, accompanied by piano and strings.

Both the TV viewers, as well as the 100-member Eurovision jury and 20 international music judges, gave Schulte a maximum score of 12 for his performance. This year’s decision captured 2.17 million viewers, slightly more than the 3.14 million from last year.

Over 400 hopefuls from Germany entered the Eurovision song contest this year, according to the Eurovision website. The country is the only one to submit a song every year since the competition began in 1956.

While Germany has gained a notorious reputation for placing last in the contest on several occasions, it has also won twice, in 1982 and 2010.

MUSIC

Dancing like there’s no Covid: first German nightclub reopens in Leipzig

For techno enthusiast Philipp Koegler, it almost felt like a normal Saturday night again as he joined 200 fellow revellers at "Distillery", the first German nightclub to reopen since the start of the pandemic.

Dancing like there's no Covid: first German nightclub reopens in Leipzig
A file photo of a disco ball in a night club. Photo: dpa-Zentralbild | Britta Pedersen

“Tonight, there are no rules,” the almost 30-year-old told AFP, whipping off his mask on his way to the dance floor.

Despite more than a year of closures forced by the coronavirus, it didn’t take long for the thumping beats, low lights and buzzing crowds to reawaken the much-missed club atmosphere.

“It feels like I’ve come back after being away on vacation for a week,” Koegler beamed.

But of course there are some rules to restarting the party, even in Germany where coronavirus infections have declined steadily in recent weeks as the pace of vaccinations has picked up.

The Distillery club in the eastern city of Leipzig, which bills itself as the oldest techno venue in Germany’s former Communist east, is taking part in a pilot project supported by scientists from the Max Planck institute and the local university hospital.

Just 200 club-goers are allowed in instead of the usual 600 and each person must take two different kinds of coronavirus tests earlier in the day, with entry granted only if they test negative both times.

Once inside, the masks can come off and revellers don’t have to socially distance.

Each participant also agrees to being re-tested a week later, to uncover potential infections despite the precautions taken.

READ MORE: 

Organisers hope the project can serve as a blueprint for further club re-openings to help the hard-hit sector back on its feet after a devastating year.

Although several venues in Germany experimented with open-air parties, club-goer Konny said it “just isn’t the same”.

“In the club, you’re in a different world,” she said.

Growing influence

Distillery manager Steffen Kache expressed pride at being the first club in the country to reopen indoors.

“Everyone is jealous,” he told AFP.

Kache said that if there has been an upside to the pandemic closures, it was that politicians had woken up to the social and economic importance of Germany’s vibrant club culture.

Lawmakers last month agreed to reclassify nightclubs as cultural institutions rather than entertainment venues, putting them on a par with
theatres and museums to provide more protection and tax benefits.

Germany’s nightlife capital Berlin alone – home to iconic clubs Berghain, KitKat and Tresor – usually attracts tens of thousands of foreign visitors each year who generate over a billion euros in revenues.   

Many observers fear that when the pandemic dust has settled, not all of Germany’s clubs will have survived the lengthy shutdowns.

The collaboration with local authorities that made Distillery’s pilot project possible was “unthinkable before the crisis”, Kache said, and evidence of a “reconciliation” between underground club culture and the political establishment.

He said he hoped the next step would be “the nationwide reopening of cultural spots and clubs, without Covid restrictions”.

SHOW COMMENTS