(we’ll never hit the heights of 2006 though)
Vision! Europe! Gentle mockery of other cultures rooted in British Imperialist sentiments of superiority! All these things and more are upon us as we mortals prepare ourselves for the annual telecommunications nightmare-crap pop music combo, so it’s basically like trying to organise a group trip to G-A-Y Late in central London involving thirty-seven friends and only communicating through AOL Messenger. With Austria selected as the host venue simply on the merits of one performer’s admittedly kick-ass dress-beard combination (which apparently reflects well on their home country’s economic resource, logistical prowess and general interest in hosting such a shindig), we’re hurtling towards a night of (probably literally) gay abandonment on May 23rd, conveniently a few days after my exams.
And with that in mind, I’d like to get the ball rolling by poking fun at some foreign people guilty of the crime of doing a thing they enjoy / are financially obligated to give a go from my high horse here in the United ‘we’ve not produced a listenable music act since Iggy Pop’ Kingdom. From some of the bigger nations, highlights include Italy’s attempts to make pottery sexy, although apparently not even the power of suave men in suits wearing translucent red Ray-Bans can overcome the fact that pottery is basically handling unnervingly malleable elephant dung on a merry-go-round. There’s also Spain’s entry, which looks like a cross between the endless wheat fields and edgy colouring of the film 300, and that bit towards the start of Lara Croft: Tomb Raider: Underworld where you’re assaulted by tigers for no apparent reason and have to faff about equipping your shotgun as you scuttle to safety; interestingly, Spain’s entry has the musical qualities of the sound of tigers ripping apart human flesh carefully blended with the expletives streaming from the pre-pubescent player because they’re about to die and haven’t saved in three hours of gameplay. Good show, Spain.
But, as ever, the smaller countries are the stars of the show: Armenia’s entry, for instance, manages to combine loosely Victorian photography, a singer who looks a bit like Jennifer Lawrence, the imagery of a My Chemical Romance video, and all on a set approximately the size of Shrek’s outhouse. Or Belarus, which includes both sci-fi versions of pointed elf ears, and a woman sitting in the lower half of an hourglass as it fills with sand, making the whole thing feel like a particularly unsuccessful attempt at a three-way cosplay mashup involving The Lord of the Rings, YuGiOh, and Tron, and we can all understand why that’s not become a staple of conventions the world over.
There are also a few nice Internet references dotted throughout the entries: FYR Macedonia have apparently entered a Draw My Life video that got horny and really into nature, so it’s basically Shane Dawson crossed with Irish poet WB Yeats; and the Israeli effort, especially the group dancing scenes, looks like a rather effective parody of the music videos from the excellent Diary Of A Badman YouTube series.
As is perhaps emblematic of this, and wider society’s, inability to create anything both artistic and original, there are two entries called ‘Warrior’: Malta’s, which looks like it has me and my fellow London Rioters playing all the instruments; and Georgia’s, which is probably meant to be about empowering women, but kinda falls short when it makes its falconer into a Dominatrix, and its Inuit hunter into a walking advertisement for a Primark offer in which you get two free Shiba Inus and a uselessly small quiver of arrows with every faux fur coat bought this Spring/Summer season.
But despite my many-claused criticisms of everything vaguely Eurovision-shaped, it’s genuinely one of my favourite events of the year: I take it about as seriously as the film Airplane! takes itself, so nothing in beyond my vague and unamusing criticisms, but there are always a few gems that are genuinely good songs, and the annual feel-good / feel-just-plain-weird story, which this year comes from Finland. Again. God, I love Finland. So bring on May, and its annual celebration of things of which I can take the piss!