MUSIC MATTERS- Coventry Music Museum curator Pete Chambers heads to Downing Street to celebrate Eurovision - The Coventry Observer

MUSIC MATTERS- Coventry Music Museum curator Pete Chambers heads to Downing Street to celebrate Eurovision

Coventry Editorial 18th May, 2023   0

Coventry Music Museum Curator Pete Chambers BEM writes for the Observer.

Downing Street

WE all have bucket lists and wishes, and one of mine was to go through those huge iron gates and walk past all those machine gun toting police and take a stroll down Downing Street.

Imagine my surprise when my wife received an invitation to visit number 10! I was ecstatic, until I looked for the plus one?

I read it over and over and no plus one. My heart sank, then I checked another email and there was my invite, there in big letters: Pete Chambers BEM is invited to a reception at 10 Downing Street to celebrate Eurovision 2023, sequins and sparkles encouraged.

Not just the street, but the building itself – one of the country’s most iconic and historic buildings, and we are invited, wow.

So, we immediately booked the trains and hotel for the night and off we trotted last Wednesday to number 10.

Even our taxi driver was a little surprised when we asked to be taken to Downing Street.

He asked: “When you say you are going to Downing Street, do you mean to stand outside, you know you can’t go into the street right?”

I told him we had an invitation and he replied: “Wow – not many can say they have been in there.”

He was not wrong. So we jumped out of the taxi, queued at the gate with the other guests, gave our named showed our invites and ID and walked through those gates into the airport-style security and out into one of the world’s most famous streets.

We had the iconic picture taken at the door and in we went to a large hallway where we had to hand in our mobiles.

Then up the famous stairs festooned with photographs of previous Prime Ministers (that seemed to end with Theresa May).

We grabbed the handrail and imagining all the famous people that had touched it.

The place was amazing, like a palace and the canapes were pretty good too, we talked to lovely people who were part of the Points of Lights awards (Points of Light are outstanding individual volunteers – people who are making a change in their community).

Myself and my wife are previous winners of the award hence our invite.

Mid-conversation, there was excitement in the air, then suddenly Prime Minister Rishi Sunak jumped on the sparkly makeshift stage and made a passionate speech about Eurovision and Ukraine and introduced 60s legend Sandie Shaw (yes she had her shoes on) who of course won Eurovision for the UK for the first time in 1967.

That was followed by a powerful performance from Ruslana, Ukraine’s winner in 2004.

I had a fleeting conversation with Sandie, who understandably seemed less excited to meet me as I was to meet here.

Then after more canapes and more Euro hits, it was time to leave this remarkable place and back into the land of reality faster than you can say Dominic Cummings.

Definitely a day we will never forget and thanks to all who made it happen.

Well done Sweden for winning Eurovision and hard luck to the UK, normal service has been resumed.

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