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I’m Your Biggest Fan: Eurovision super fan who even brought it to his wedding – and claims UK has biggest fan club of them all

Alasdair has been a fan of Eurovision since he was a kid (Pictures: Getty/Alasdair Rendall)

The superfan is a brilliant specimen.

For eons we’ve worshipped at the altars of sports stars, pop stars, actors, fictional characters, collectibles, art, cars, and just about anything else we can relate to, share with others or simply connect with in some way.

Also known as a ‘fanatic’ (but, let’s face it, ‘fan’ is much more sexy), these superfans have travelled the globe to support their chosen love – and we’ve tracked down some of the most die-hard and dedicated.

Each week we’ll bring you the story of one keen punter who has dedicated their life and time (and money, so.much.money) to supporting someone or something – simply because it brings them immeasurable joy. And that’s what life’s about, right?

Welcome to Metro.co.uk’s super fun weekly series, I’m Your Biggest Fan.

Eurovision fans run dedicated but they may not come as diehard as Alasdair Rendall, who has dedicated his life to the annual song contest ever since he was a child.

The parliamentary press officer runs the national Eurovision fanclub, which boasts more than 1,500 members and spends his year celebrating the upcoming event well in advance of finals week.

Alasdair goes to the yearly event without fail – here he is at 2017’s Kyiv contest (Picture: Supplied)

This year he’ll jet over to Tel Aviv, however that is a trip that sums up 12 months of parties, events, conventions and trips for Eurovision.

His love spills over into his personal life, after he married a similarly dedicated superfan and at their wedding 2000 UK competitor Nicki French performed.

Most of us might just gather around the TV for the live shows, but Alasdair, who’s in his 30s, goes above and beyond.

So, Alasdair – you’re the president of the UK Eurovision fan club, how did you first get involved in that?

It’s been going since 1984 and is Europe-wide, we’re the UK branch. I’ve been a member since I was nine-years-old.

My mother paid for my membership as a present. She was a fan, my grandad was a fan. It’s passed down the family – I watched it in 1989 and was immediately hooked.

In 2015 I stood for election to be president and was successful. I got re-elected last year, so here I am.

What was it about Eurovision that got you for life?

It’s so unique, watching this thing on television with all these people singing in these exotic languages I hadn’t heard before; these new songs. I was always fascinated by languages and music so it brings those two together.

You’ll find him draped in the Union Jack (Picture: Supplied)

The first competition I went to was in 1998 in Birmingham, I was 16 at the time. Just to be there in the arena in your own country was amazing.

We imagine you’ve formed a pretty tight Eurovision friendship base?

It’s a massive social thing. Most of my circle of friends are people I’ve met in the Eurovision world.

We go every year, not just to the contest but events throughout the year. A load of us are going to Amsterdam this weekend.

There’s also parties in Berlin, the annual cruise in Finland, the preview parties, loads of parties. I run the UK’s largest Eurovision club night, Eurofest, which takes place four times a year, as well as the annual fan convention in October. It’s a year-round event.

With Conchita Wurst who won in 2014 (Picture: Supplied)

When it gets to the competition time, there is all the admin, like sorting tickets for fans and organising the UK fan party on the Thursday of Eurovision week; promoting various events taking place in the UK and social media publicity. I do quite a lot of interviews to promote the fan club, too. It’s fairly constant.

The UK hasn’t done particular well over the past 15 years but we’ve got the biggest fan club there is and probably more fan events that take place than in any other country.

Why do you think the UK is so mad for it, even though we’re, er, not very good?

I think there is a bit of tradition there. We’ve been taking part so long it’s become part of our culture.

It’s hard to say, it’s just…I think we like competition. We’re the sort of country that loves any excuse to watch the World Cup or Olympics. People have described Eurovision as the World Cup of music. People like any excuse to get involved in a competition and support our country no matter how they do.

This year’s Eurovision takes place in Tel Aviv (Picture: AP)

And you’re going to this year’s final in Tel Aviv. What’s it like being in that arena?

It’s impossible to describe the atmosphere when you’re sitting in the arena and the Eurovision theme starts and you’re there in the heart of things.

It’s a social atmosphere as well, getting off the plane in whatever host city you’re in and within five minutes of arriving in the terminal you’ve bumped into someone you’ve not seen since last year. It’s catching up with old friends, parties every night. The cities by and large embrace it so stuff is going on every day. It a week long really fun experience.

It’s also a music competition and all the hardcore Eurovision fans are music fans as well, we’re listening to songs we enjoy, seeing singers we’ve come to know and love. So there’s that side of it as well.

The event is a sea of flags, as 2018’s Lisbon arena shows (Picture: Supplied)

It’s got bigger and bigger, even in the last, from when I first went in ’98, that was the biggest contest to date, but how its evolved it’s grown and grown. It’s one of these things that’s mushroomed due to the internet and social media. Constant discussions online.

We used to get a club magazine four times a year then on Eurovision week you’d phone a number and got an answerphone message with the latest updates. Now it’s constant and the fan community is growing and growing, we’re getting younger people following the contest. It’s become this huge event. The standard has improved as well.

A lot of the winning songs have become hits – like Conchita Wurst, songs that became number one all over Europe.

Can you pick a stand out Eurovision moment?

Conchita Wurst’s victory a few years ago was a great atmosphere. We had her perform at our club night a couple months’ previously and to see her perform in a small club in Vauxhall, then see her in Copenhagen sing and win the trophy – that was a special moment.

And you had a Eurovision-themed wedding, with someone from the competition performing?

Nicki French, who represented the UK in 2000, is a good friend of mine and my husband, and we invited her to come and sing at our wedding. There was a Eurovision theme as well, and we had tables named after UK host venues.

My husband thought he was a big fan until he met me.

Do Eurovision fans collect anything, per se?

I’ve got videos of the national finals and all the performances since it began, but it’s not the kind of thing that you collect memorabilia for.

When it comes to costumes, people think it’s going to be a big thing. There are people who are dressing up but it’s a sea of flags. I’ll go draped in the Union Jack and take flags of the countries of songs I like that year.

It’s a forest of flags you have to walk through. Everyone does support their own country as well as their favourite songs from whatever country that is.

Million-dollar question – who do you think is going to win this year?

I think the winner is going to be between Netherlands, Sweden and Italy but my personal favourite song is from the Czech Republic.

I’m Your Biggest Fan is a weekly series that deep dives into the world of fandoms, via the people who worship the hardest. Check back in next Thursday to check out the latest aficionado.

Want to get involved in I’m Your Biggest Fan?

If you’ve got a rather brilliant obsession – from Game of Thrones to My Little Pony – and want to share the reasons why, get in touch!

Covered in tattoos of your favourite soapie star? Perhaps you sold the house to satisfy your obsession with Christmas.

Whatever it is, we would love to know your story.

Email us celebtips@metro.co.uk, call 020 3615 2145 or visit our Submit Stuff page with a bit about what you’ve done, with some pictures to back it up. You’ll have to be prepared to be interviewed and deep dive into the fandom – but that’s the fun part, right?

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