This blog enjoys the Eurovision song contest – it is the only fault to which I admit. I was proud of the UK last night, because we gave 8 points to a group from Moldova who played bizarre rock while wearing nine foot pointy hats; they were accompanied, inexplicably, by a girl in a pointy hat riding a unicycle. It had the peculiar innocence of an old Soviet TV special. The moment I saw it, I said (out loud – I have witnesses); “British people will vote for this, just to take the piss”. And I was right. I am in tune with the warped sense of humour of my fellow countrymen.
Nadira tells me that the huge pointy hats are in fact traditional in Moldova. They obviously don’t have low bridges in Moldova. Or maybe the bridges have long triangular notches cut in them above the pavements. Wearing those hats on horseback, snow must have collected on top.
Italy took part in Eurovision for the first time in fifteen years, and obviously had forgotten the rules, because they entered a jazz musician and ensemble of genuine musical talent, who almost won. In the second half of the nineteenth century, Italy was united from a series of fractured states and provinces. They thus deprived themselves of about 72 first place votes in the Eurovision Song Contest. Splitting apart. like the Soviet Union or Yugoslavia, provides you with bucketfuls of interchangeable Eurovision votes between statelets. You see, Garibaldi and the Risorgimento weren’t thinking long term. They could have had Eurovision. They left only San Marino to give them twelve points. Which reminds me – why don’t the Papal States enter? Think of it – on second thoughts, I am not going there.
The whole event was very much less sexy from a heterosexual male viewpoint than in recent years. There were far less female singers and backing dancers; boy bands were a dominant theme. Those women who were on stage were comparatively demure, as were the camera angles (if Eurovision isn’t a perv-fest, what is it? It’s hardly a song contest).
Lena from Germany was an exception. Last year’s winner was demure and quirky, but she returned this year a smoking hot sex goddess. She looked as if she had spent the entire intervening year shagging. You will have noticed that I am not over-given to political correctness. But even I thought the message of her song, “Taken by a Stranger”, was somewhat dubious.
The UK again had an extremely cheap looking set and stage presentation. More disastrously, it sounded like we had the driver on the mixing desk. But we didn’t come last. I am happy to say I completely missed the existence of Blue when they were famous. I presume they used to be better?
Azerbaijan have been desperate to win for years – last year they spent more money on their entry than anyone had ever done before – and they finally made it with the most forgettable song of the evening. But they did provide attractive backing singers, so I was happy. Next year the event will take place in a country that seriously is not a democracy. I doubt Eurovision are that bothered. It is also worth noting that Azerbaijan, beyond argument, is in Asia. It is east of much of Iran.
Nonetheless, I suspect Azeri presenters may have a more comprehensible, indeed discernible, sense of humour than the Germans last night. And what was it with those dull intermissions about foreigners working in Germany? And why were they virtually all male? There was some unintended humour – they could only find a Moldovan window cleaner; and the UK was represented by a two hundred year old and improbably large rowing cox, when we glimpsed Simon Rattle in the background of another country’s feature – but mostly this was balls-achingly dull.
As was Graham Norton. He is so toned down. Ranging from silent to scarcely audible, he had plainly been told not to start taking the mickey until the voting started; the people reading the votes were effectively mocked, but why had the bands not been? Norton needs to be given four stiff vodkas before the start. Or better, chuck him and bring in Joan Rivers.