Sunday, 10 May 2009

Countdown to Eurovision

The annual outbreak of nationalist musical chauvinism is imminent! Yes, 2009's Eurovision Song Contest will be hitting our screens next weekend with the usual mix of the kitsch, the crap, and the obscure. This year Jade Ewen's flying the flag for this sceptered isle. Alas like most UK entries of the recent past it is insipid and dull but for all Eurovision-loving patriots it's a case of our entry, right or wrong.

Having previewed all 42 entries it seems bland is a recurring theme this year. There are no outright pisstakes like Ireland's
Dustin the Turkey or Spain's Rodolfo Chikilikuatre's utterly dire Baila el Chiki Chiki. The nearest we come to it is the Czech Republic's offering, Gipsy.cz's Aven Romale. For some reason the guy comes across to me as the bastard offspring of Eminem and Sparks - and not in a good way.

There's something of a 50s motif going on with the
Belgian and German entries - but in all likelihood plucky little Belgium will capture votes with its mix of cheese and nostalgia. Ireland have gone for Sinead Mulvey and Black Daisy with Et Cetera. Best described as a mix of The Go-Gos and Hepburn, but with a dashing of extra twee, it might go down okay with emo-type yoofs. The Belarus entry, Eyes That Never Lie with the beautiful Peter Elfimov is a nice slice of 1980s European sub-poodle rock. Visually the most outstanding video award goes to Bosnia's Regina and their Bistra Voda - the red flags, the iconography, the uniforms - it's enough to melt my iron-hard bolshevik heart.

But for me there's only one stand out song in this competition, and it's the Finns with Waldo's People and
Lose Control. What can I say? Crappy eurodisco gets me every time:



Will it win?

Eurovision fans will recall Terry Wogan's decision to resign live on air last year and he blamed the Medvedev-Putin-Gazprom axis for ruining this once fine competition. It was the opinion of our Tel and not a few other commentators that Russia will forever now hoover up the votes of East European states on pain of having the gas turned off. The great powers of Eurovision - the UK, Spain, France and Germany are now also-rans doomed to fight shy of glory for at least a generation. As it turns out this argument is completely absurd. Facts are the East European music business takes Eurovision far more seriously than we do in the UK. In 2008 we entered Andy Abrahams, who was a complete unknown to the British, never mind international public. Russia's winning entry was from Dima Bilan, who happens to be one of the country's top international artists with a fan base across Eastern Europe - and Russia is not alone in this. So why should we be surprised East Europeans vote for each other when their entries have name recognition across the region? Wouldn't we in Britain be more inclined to vote for the French if Vanessa Paradis was singing their entry?

Anyway, we'll see how it plays next Saturday. No doubt I'll be exhausted from Unite's
March for Jobs but I'm sure energy can be mustered for some live tweeting and what not.

14 comments:

Anton Vowl said...

Nothing will ever top Guildo hat euch Liebe. Finest Eurovision moment ever, mad hairy German clambering over the balcony...

TGRWorzel said...

Wogan had a fair point. Its how the world works, unfortunately.

Eurovision seems to have had little to do with music in recent years, much more reflective of European politics.

Certainly won't be the same this year without Wogans commentary.

Phil BC said...

I don't know about Graham Norton narrating the contest. He did used to be funny but he's about as challenging as a Blue Peter presenter. Good job we have twitter this year to supply some alternate commentary.

TGRWorzel said...

Hadn't thought of that Phil BC. It could be quite entertaining, twittering whilst watching Eurovision. Must do it !

andy newman said...

Sureluy the reason that Eastern Europenas states vote for each other is that they share a lot of culture?

It has alsways struck me as a rather unpleanat sense of entotlement that has led the UK to assume that we woudl get votes, despite entries not tuned to the cultural preferences of the voters.

Rob said...

My problem with what Wogan is saying is that it has a mildly racist type of here comes the red tide of foreigners tinge to it. Moreover, there's an assumption embedded in what he says that whilst 'we' Western Europeans don't take Eurovision seriously, all these tribal Eastern Europeans are motivated solely by their politico-tribal loyalties.

But surely an equally legitimate reason for Eastern Europeans to vote for Eastern Europeans is that they like the same type of music? I mean, none of us can claim a priveleged insight into people's reasons for voting, but doesn't the more likely explanation simply seem to be that people vote for what they like, and people coming from a similar cultural milieu like the same stuff.

Wogan can't acknowledge this because he takes his particular - Western European - conceptions of what constitutes 'good' music and then treats them as if they are a universal framework. On this reading, people can't possibly be voting for Eastern European music because they like it, because it doesn't like up to the objective, universal standard of Western European music.

Now, the reason I suspect this goes unsaid is because it reveals the true logic of the Wogan position. Essentially, the problem is simply that a hoarde of foreigners has been 'let into the club' and they are voting for their inferior(?) culture.

I think the victory of Lordi kind of militates against the Eastern Europeans vote politically for other Eastern Europeans thesis.

Phil BC said...

Andy and Rob - you're both dead right in my book. Sadly we'll see the same old crap rear its head after this contest.

nationofduncan said...

Having previewed all 42 entries...Another busy day Phil?

Phil BC said...

Like you wouldn't believe!

Closet tankie said...

Yet more nationalistic rant on the British Road To Socialism! Lol.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

As promised, I'll be around here often and sending you some linkage juice for all your advice regarding the self-obsessed, deluded, mentally challenged coward.

Peace!

Phil BC said...

Cheers!

Will you be indulging Eurovision next week?

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

I used to do a spreadbetting thig maongst my comrades but alas, I am away in the carribean on my hols.

My money is on Georgia...

millie munro said...

I also liked Bistra Voda, my capitalist coeur was tickled by its lyrical communism ;)