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The Terry Wogan comedy evening
Eurovision Song Contest
Member Name: hogsflesh
Eurovision Song Contest
Date: 18/05/01, updated on 18/05/01 (207 review reads)
Disadvantages: the music
God, I love Eurovision. There's nothing quite like sitting around at home with friends and beer, watching through a growing haze of alcohol as each successive European nation humiliates itself. Music, I suppose, could be described as the great leveller, and since all the songs are equally bland and forgettable, I suppose that means that Europe, once the dominant cultural force in the world, is now completely redundant and should be put out of its misery as soon as possible.
It's probably the only chance Terry Wogan gets to shine all year, and you never even see his face. Like most right-minded people, I don't much like Terry Wogan. He's irritating as hell. But for one night a year he becomes my hero. The usual order is tipped on its head as Terry, king for a day, is allowed to rule the airwaves.
The real joy, of course, is listening to his state of inebriation develop as the evening progresses. Terry represents Britain, or more specifically, Britain's attitude to our European partners. He begins as cynical but polite. However, as he downs more and more whisky the facade slips, and he's willing to tolerate these foreigners less and less. By the end of the night he obviously wants to remind them who won the war, but is presumably restrained by fear of losing his job. Not that I'm xenophobic, but there's something strangely compelling about mindless prime-time entertainment that pokes fun at Europeans (Allo Allo being another good example).
Terry's scorn is especially apparent when he's talking about the presenters. As I'm sure we all know, whoever wins the contest hosts it the following year. This year the Danish presenters made what can only be described as the stupidest mistake in the history of mankind - they spoke in rhyming couplets. All night. Everything they said rhymed. Terry, understandably, wasn't having any of it. He could be heard snorting with derision many a time, and was unbelie
vably rude about the two presenters (he referred to them as Dr Death and the Tooth Fairy at one point - a reference to their ill-advised costumes. Terry seems to forget that he isn't exactly the picture of sartorial elegance himself).
And of course there's the voting. Those awful moments of silence as a whole continent waits to see if the satellite link-ups work properly. There's always a five-second gap between the presenter saying "hello, Lisbon, can you hear me?" and the guy on the other end of the line answering, then a hideous muddle as everyone starts talking at the same time, and then finally the scores being read out, with all the misunderstandings you might expect when people from all over Europe have to talk to each other in English. And of course there's the Europe-wide cringe when some oaf from one of the countries decides that he's going to enjoy his brief moment in the spotlight and starts to chat with the presenters, trying to make jokes and generally being quite the fool. Terry watches over it all, occasionally complaining that all the Scandinavian countries give each other the most votes.
Oh yeah, and there was lots of music. Unfortunately I don't remember any of it because it all sounded the same. Only Aqua, the half-time entertainment, stick in my head, and that's mainly because their stage act was quite racy.
When did Eurovision become so bland? What happened to the fun songs? All that Boom Bangabang bang stuff? I think part of the problem is that nowadays most countries sing in English, so writing a song that most of the audience won't understand but will still sound good is a lost art. When did the music become so dull? Does no one remember The Brotherhood of Man? Bucks Fizz? Abba? In those heady days success in the Eurovision could really lead on to a successful pop career. I don't remember seeing any of the recent winners after their Eurovision triumph. I suppose it'
s a bit like the Booker Prize these days - we all know it's there, but we don't care who wins. Obviously the music was always terrible, but I'm concerned that modern bad music isn't memorably bad, it's just bad.
A cause for concern is that eight countries were "relegated" this year, as they didn't get enough votes (including Ireland - I thought they always won?), so future versions are going to be sadly depleted. Well, however many countries are involved, I'll certainly be watching, if only for Terry. Sit back, get drunk, try and vote for the singer you fancy most, and then wait for next year.
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