Sunday, May 22, 2005

Nil points

So, another year, another Eurovision. I don't know why I watch it. I wince the whole way through. And I tell myself every year that this time, I'm not going to bother. But then May comes around and I'm glued.

Of course, since the Iron Curtain came down, there are 39 countries competing, so the competition is not the same as it was in the glory days of Dana and Jonny Logan. The Communists should have warned us back in the late 90's that when the Soviet empire collapsed there would be an outpouring of high-pitched euro-pop music, set to synthetically programmed jungle drums, swarming into the West. Maybe we wouldn't have been so keen to see the spread of democracy. But it's too late now. Eurovision has gone Balkan.

Of course, it was never 100% a Western European competition. What IS Israel doing in Eurovision?? There has to be more to it than providing Jewish primary schools with new Hebrew songs for their choirs to sing each year. (Do you remember the acute embarrassment of singing "Abanibi" and "Kan Noladati" in front of our parents every year?) And where would we be, as a community, without "Hallelujah" and, my personal favourite, "Oleh Oleh"?

Actually, I shouldn't complain too much about Israel's place in the contest. Firstly, it puts paid to the myth that Jewish girls are a bit plain. (Let's face it, she won 4th place on Saturday because she looked stunning). And it gives me an extra country to support. Which is just as well, given the past two year's UK entries. (Just don't tell Norman Tebbit. Dual loyalties, and all that). I'm not the only one to hedge my bets this way. LB called me before he went out (toasting the Arsenal, of course) and asked me to text an extra vote for Israel for him. Before he'd even heard the song. (What do you mean Jewish conspiracy?) It's our little way of waving the blue and white flag without having to stick our necks out too much. And I love watching the fallout in the Israeli press when Israel wins. All that squabbling among the religious lobby as they try to ban the evil secularists from using public buildings to stage the contest.

Crucially though, backing Israel as well as the UK immediately doubles your chances of backing the winner. Thinking about it logically, now that Eurovision is completely pan-European we should make more of our geographical heritage. On the basis that my great-grandparents were, between the eight of them, from Lithuania, Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Romania and Latvia I'm in with a massive chance of backing the winner. And we're only talking three generations. Okay, it has to be said that there are now no remaining links with any of those countries. And my family didn't exactly part company on positive terms. But maybe that's all the more reason to back them now. They owe us. And the music is frighteningly familiar. Was is just me, or was the Croatian entry this year bizarrely similar to Yom Zeh Mechubad. The one you sing in a round?

In the end though, the bookies favourite won. So despite my national/religious/familial links with eight participating countries, I can't claim any connection with the winning country. Although, I think my Dad might well have an A level in Ancient Greek. Does that count?

3 Comments:

Anonymous Baldricka said...

I thought the only reason people watch it is to listen to Terry Wogan! He was fabulous last night!

5:30 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear R

Having read your blog, i must say i found it somewhat amusing, some very valid points.

Thank you too Baldricka i'm somewhat flattered, although sadly even i'm becoming more comical and sceptical about Eurovision, but it appeals to the masses as does my Radio show.
Keep up the good work for Queen and Country R.
T Wogan

5:23 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear R

Having read your blog, i must say i found it somewhat amusing, some very valid points.

Thank you too Baldricka i'm somewhat flattered, although sadly even i'm becoming more comical and sceptical about Eurovision, but it appeals to the masses as does my Radio show.
Keep up the good work for Queen and Country R.
T Wogan

5:24 pm  

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