You adore the Eurovision Song Contest and you say this totally without the kind of qualifiers that Brits usually add at this point. Such as ‘it’s so tragiclly kitsch’.
In fact, you are rather bemused by the fact that the British persist in regarding the thing as a monumental joke and yet follow programmes like Pop Idol with depressing sincerity. On both shows the musicianship these days is pretty good, but whereas the Eurovision entries are varied, interesting and sometimes quite original, the other shows are wall to wall bland.
The UK spectacular missing of the point is usually neatly encapsulated in their total inability to send a decent song along.
This year, we fielded the sort of entry we fondly imagine the Eurovision is full of. Except, of course, ours was better because we were doing it ironically. So we had people in flight attendant uniforms making suggestive remarks about champagne bottles, doing aeroplane impressions and singing about how they wanted to fly the flag over all the countries in Europe.
Fly the flag over all the countries in Europe? The flag? The flag?
Really, you were quite disappointed anyone voted for us at all after that rampant display of unrepentant imperialism.
The French entry, on the other hand, was funny. Since the French, year after year, have traditionally rather humourlessly sent women stubbornly singing ballads in French even when everybody had succumbed to doing it all in English, the fact that they did it in Franglais showed a proper entry into the spirit of things. And they wore pink PVC, were jolly, and it was a much better song all round.
But to really get the full beauty of it you had to be quite good at both English and French. You don’t think many people are that good at English or French. The default language of the tournament may be English, but the trick is to try and string together the English words which are universally recognised (‘love love love love love love love love’) in some kind of logical order rather than anything more sophisticated.
So nobody voted for it either. Except you.
Actually you are quite pleased that the rise of digital TV systems which allow translations and such seems to have encouraged people to start singing in their own language again.
The whole point, for you, of Eurovision is to enjoy a small lifting of the fog cutting the continent off from the UK, and this does not include having to pay attention to the words, which really don’t deserve it, particularly when they are written in someone’s second language. You positively enjoy listening to the other languages in fact.
This year you had your own awards for ‘ most random English lyric’ . Russia won hands down for some really ill-conceived ‘ummy’ rhymes and calling each other bitches. You are so proud. The UK came a close second though, which is really quite embarrassing when you think about it.
Anyway. You generally refuse to vote for anyone singing totally in English, although you streatched a point for Georgia this year because, although the song was a blatant rip off of Madonna’s Ray of Light, you did feel that the ethnic dancers pulled one back for national flag waving. Plus, the singer was, as a singer, rather better than Madonna, and you happen to like that song.
B was forced to vote for Romania, on the grounds that they were the only people singing in Russian.
But there’s a bit of good humoured patriotism and then there’s the Ukraine.
Who sent along a well known TV personality of the Dame Edna Everage type to do a bit of techno bopping.
Terry Wogan described it as incomprehensible, mainly because the entirety of the lyrics submitted for the Eurovision’s subtitlers to play with were pretty much ‘I want to see… Lasha Tumbai.’ Although the silver costumes complete with a hat with a large five pointed star and energetic dancing might have had something to do with that too.
You have visions of the BBC’s researchers running around and trying to find out who Lasha is in Ukrainian popular culture and why she’s a suitable person to sing about at Eurovision.
They should have ignored the spelling and had a go at imagining what it might mean if you are singing in English with a strong Ukrainian peasant accent and you don’t want to tip your hand too blatantly.
It’s supposed to stand for ‘I want to see… Russia goodbye.’
Which you find incredibly insulting not primarily to Russia, but to the competition, which sees itself as one of these goodwill hands across the border type affairs. And you also find mean spirited the the fact that they presumably deliberately set out to trick Europe into singing along.
So you were hugely relieved when Serbia won with a perfectly pleasant, well executed song sung in Serbian about love.