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Eurovision May 12, 2011

Posted by Fiona in Uncategorized.

On Tuesday night, I watched the first semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest.

If you’re in the UK, the concept of doing so is probably a little bit foreign to you: deliberately watching the acts that don’t even make the Eurovision final?  On purpose?  Without the added temperance of a bottle of wine and Graham Norton (who, it must be remembered, is good but shan’t ever be as good as Sir Terry)?  Eurovision, is, after all, something that if British people watch they do it with a sense of superiority.  European music is a bit like going back in time.  Don’t forget: we’re responsible for the Beatles.

I’m a bit of a Europhile in general: I think being part of the European Union is a great thing for the UK and the single market is a phenomenal piece of co-operation, no matter how much I’m currently regretting having to revise for an exam on it.  The EU is a fairly left-leaning organisation, and even if I don’t agree with it on everything I think what it’s trying to do is admirable and I utterly refute the idea that it’s trying to make Europe homogenous.  I’m perfectly secure in my national identity, thanks.

I would support the UK joining the Euro even though I’m well aware of all of the arguments against it.  (The Euro is like religion and tarot cards: the moment some types of people discover you subscribe to it, they suddenly seem to assume you’re a bit simple and just parrot what you’ve been told by People In Positions Of Authority.  Remember the Irritating Liberal?)  Personally, I think we should have joined the Euro in about 2007, but I can understand why we didn’t.  I think the ECJ needs a kick up the proverbial and a beginner’s course on the separation of powers and how to form sentences with fewer than ten clauses, but you can’t have everything.

Unrelated to all of that, though, I love Eurovision.  Yes it’s all political, everyone votes for their friends and We Get Saddled With The Cost (did you know this is the first time since the late 90s, I think, that Italy has had a Eurovision entry, and yet it still pays for quite a bit portion along with the Big Four?) but it’s one of those occasions that I love like I love Last Night of the Proms.  Last Night of the Proms is great because we get to sing Rule Britannia in our living rooms and feel kind of a little bit proud to be part of this sort of tradition.  Eurovision is the same only on a broader scale.  As a British person, as someone living in England, I don’t feel like a European very often and I think that’s very sad because that’s a hell of a lot of culture and all round good fun to miss out on.  It’s also very different to the kind of music I usually listen to out of choice, and generally hear every day, so that’s kind of refreshing.

On a personal level, I watch  Eurovision with people who know a lot about it.  They can name the last ten winners.  They met the production manager at a trade show two years ago and know what kinds of lighting desk are probably being used.  We play spot the techie, marvel at the sprinting abilities of the cameramen, discuss the layout of the green room.  (Did you know how they get all the instruments and bits of set and what have you in exactly the right place?  Several highly trained stage crews, and lasers from the ceiling.  Actual LASERS.)

We get a group of us over, eat dinner together, pile onto the sofa and rank the contestants based on how far they’ll go.  Tell each other how much better Spain’s entry was a year ago.  Gleefully gang up on the Dutch friend and wonder how on earth Switzerland managed to stay neutral if they present themselves as a nation like that.

This evening is the second semi-final, and we’re doing it again.  And that’s why I love Eurovision.  It’s idiosyncratic, there’s nothing else quite like it, and its idisyncracies fit quite well with mine.

The Irish entry still need a smack and a darkened room, though.



1. Dickie - May 12, 2011

“Personally, I think we should have joined the Euro in about 2007”

Judging by current and recent events, I think that deciding not to join was the best thing Gordon Brown ever did. A single currency, without unified fiscal policy and a non-optimal currency area, was never gonna turn out well. Joining would’ve made life so much more difficult for us after the banking crisis; the UK wouldn’t have been able to devalue its currency, which was (is) pretty helpful.

Also, I read this account of the Irish dealings with the ECB recently, and, well, it aint pretty. The Irish basically got royally shafted by the ECB (with help from America). It’ll be interesting to see if anyone leaves in the next year or so; or if the Euro project will even survive.

2. teacherface - May 12, 2011

*ignores all the politics*
Jedward. I’ve had people tell me that “this is Eurovision, where kitsch, camp and crazy is the name of the game. So in a bizarre way, Jedward are the perfect choice…”
I hope Serbia win, their entry is happy, fun and 60s inspired 😀

3. Fiona - May 12, 2011

Belgium should have gone through. The Belgian entry was my favourite. If there’s one thing Eurovision is missing, it’s good a cappella.

4. teacherface - May 13, 2011

Oh yes, really enjoyed that too and completely disagreed with the commentator who said something about them being awful. Not true!

5. Clare - May 26, 2011

watched Eurovision for the first time *ever* last week… well. whenever it was on. Days kind of blur into each other at the moment.

I loved it 🙂 So much fun. I agree about Jedward, although I did (shameful confession face) actually quite enjoy their song…….


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