My confession is…that I love the annual Eurovision Song Contest. Oh, I can’t wait! Just a few more days to the Grand Final. I know you think I’m a sophisticated guy – Huh? You had your doubts? .
Well, my confession is that I really, really, really do like the annual Eurovision Song Contest – dozens of nations singing together in one huge event, and watched by quadrillions. Yes, I do like it, and I’m proud to say so. The Eurovision Song Contest with its lavish, no-expense-spared production and huge stages that rival anything on the planet, is fantastic!
‘Ha! hold my Brain; be still my beating Heart.’
Zelmane, by William Mountfort, 1705
I know, I know, there are some who will say the music is puerile, the lyrics are sterile, and the production is prehensile [sic]. But, I understand it differently. You see, the Eurovision Song Contest was never about the music, the lyrics and performance. Oh no! It it something much more subtle.
We’ve all seen those movies about individuals or gangs that settle their ‘turf’ differences with a ‘dance off’.
And watched those tv programs where cooks compete against each other in a ‘bake off’.
‘They’ve got four languages in Belgium…and they’re singing in an imaginary one. The very essence of the Euro.’ (Despite being a ‘made-up’ language’ they very nearly won the contest). Terry Wogan
The Eurovision Song Contest is where the loud and the quiet, the ‘Federation’ and ‘Klingons’ (and others, of course), nations with quadrillions of people and those who number just 31,448 people (good for you, San Marino) take part, and give it everything they’ve got in one glorious ‘sing off’!
Yes, the Eurovision Song Contest is a ‘sing off’.
Ofcourse, there will be winners and losers, and the former will laud the event as a great occasion of peace, celebration and vision, and the latter will decry it as riddled with politics etc. But, it is good!
Russia, God bless them. Who can forget their 2012 entrants: Buranovskiye Babushki – a group of ‘grannies’ from Udmurtia (see the photo/header). They were superb. In national dress, singing away, all ‘lovey dovey’, and maslyanitsa wouldn’t melt in their mouths. The lyrics? Oh yes: ‘I will be putting a white tablecloth, I will be waiting for kids coming back home. The dough is rising joyously. And my heart is cheering. Party for everybody! Dance!’. I want more of that. Well done Babushka! Well done Russia.
Wunderbar! [I know that’s German, but I didn’t want to leave them out’. I do like Angela Merkel].
But, it turned sour in 2013, amid the ‘Where did the ten points that were meant for Russia, go?’ controversy. I like to call it Euro-gate [pun intended].
‘You’ve got four dancers, for whom modern dance stopped about 30 years ago.’ Terry Wogan talking about a dancing troupe who featured in 2006, as part of the Malta entry.
But, it was serious for the Russian government. Their spokesman, Sergei Lavrov, who is their Foreign Minister, the guy who explains how provocative a European defence system is (emphasis on ‘defence’, Mr Lavrov) and how peaceful the Russian Government are at taking over the Crimea (emphasis on ‘taking over’) responded. I’m not sure if they are going to point missiles at this years contest, but he said, ‘The outrageous action at Eurovision regarding the Russian contestant will not go unanswered,’ he warned. My goodness me. A threat? But hey, this is the Eurovision Song Contest, so let’s just set those words to music, take a deep breath and carry on regardless. It’s a ‘sing off’, remember.
And then, in 2014 Conchita Wurst, a drag-queen/cross-dresser, sporting facial hair, sort of Guy Fawkes-style won the contest for Austria. Oh dear, the Russian government wasn’t pleased, and threatened to walk away from the contest in future years. They didn’t. Hoorah! And the ‘sing off’ continues. Well, it’s better than fighting!
‘Boom boom boom! …more boom boom boom! I want more boom boom boom!’,
Bubba in the movie ‘The Jazz Singer’
Ofcourse, I’m singling out the Russian government, not it’s people. The Russian ‘grannies’, Buranovskiye Babushki were really good, and it is reckoned that this years Russian entrant may come second, if not win! I hope he does. It will show everyone that rhetoric, bombs and threats are not needed. Those are the puerile, sterile and prehensile [sic] things, not the Eurovision Song Contest.
Ofcourse, I’m aware that I see things differently looking from this side of ‘the fence’ than the Russian government, and they see things differently to me. But, hey ho, the ‘sing off’ continues, we’re talking, there are no bad guys at the Eurovision Song Contest, thank God, so let’s just sing!
Ofcourse, I want everyone to win (- ‘Come on Britain,’), but that’s not possible. But, it’s the taking part that counts. It’s fun! It’s entertaining! What more do you want?
‘There’s not enough silliness in the world. Eurovision helps to keep it balanced.’
The Eurovision Song Contest is a wonderful slice of the vision that Europe is becoming. One continent that settles its trouble by singing to each other. [Blows nose, wipes eyes, and composes himself. Far too emotional for a Brit. I apologise.]