Thursday, February 11, 2010


I see Pete Waterman's been put in charge of this year's Eurovision entry.

Is there much point in doing this anymore. We didn't take it seriously for years, mocked our European neighbours and turned the whole thing into a high camp carnival and then when we start coming bottom it can't possibly be our fault but the fact that Eastern European's block vote for each other.

Well that may be true, but the difference is, they do take it seriously. To some countries it's a matter of national pride, rather than being a nation joke. It's just another in a long line of things that have to be seen as ironic and can't just be enjoyed for what they are. It's not even that I'm a huge fan - I only like the scoring, but all this guilty pleasure business has ruined music.

You can't just like ELO. Your love for them is either the love that dare not speak it's name or you're dismissed as a crank who knows nothing about music.

Some years ago - and TT you'll remember this - I had a boss who lived in a fantasy world. He shared a cleaner with Sharon Stone (despite her living in LA and he in Rotherhithe), he once helped Tony Bennett go house-hunting, his aunt was Crossroads muppet Amy Turtle, he was the film critic for Time Out, his late father was the first man in the UK to have a successful hand transplant and he single-handedly managed to change the liquor laws in Aberystwyth, among many, many other things.

One of these other things was that he once found himself sitting next to Terry Hall on a bar stool and they got to talking and the upshot was he put together this album of the stars of the day doing versions of past Eurovision-winning songs called A Song For Eurotrash. He even managed to get Bananarama to reform!

All utter tosh of course; except this one's actually true. I recently tracked this CD down on eBay just to make sure I wasn't suffering from false memory syndrome. It's all there in the foreword. The bar stool, Terry Hall, blah, blah, blah. It's long, long out of print but does have some interesting numbers. It's tie in with Eurotrash, the long forgotten Friday-night let's laugh at Johnny Foreigner post-pub car crash campathon hosted by arms behind back lollipop-headed frog Antoine De Caunes, and it's exactly this kind of thing that has done for the Eurovision Song Contest.

But who's complaining? Here's Terry Hall & Sinead O'Connor.


Chris Hughes said...

I have that CD. I don't really like it, as it's full of things like Kenickie doing an "ironic" "dark" version of Save All Your Kisses For Me and things like that. I really only bought it (from an amazing second-hand record shop in Bath) for Bananarama's version of Waterloo.

The Pete Waterman thing will be a disaster. Much as I love him, he hasn't had any kind of musical success in over a decade. It's this outdated idea that Eurovision should be high camp that ended in the Scooch debacle. They seemed to be on the right track last year (and the new voting system helped) so I don't know why we're going back to kitsch pop.

Cocktails said...

You're right. Britain will never be any good at Eurovision because no one takes it seriously. And this is because the UK sees itself as the god-given world authority on music and therefore shouldn't even HAVE to take this sort of thing seriously. Well, thats my theory anyway.

Five-Centres said...

You might be right Cocktails, but we did take it seriously once upon a time. At least, I think we did.

Cocktails said...

Yes, before other countries started taking it more seriously.

Eurovision is like the Olympics - only former communist and fascist nations with something to prove and countries with chips of their shoulders care. Note attitude of China and Australia to these things compared to the UK or Spain.

Mondo said...

Eurovision just seems a redundant pointless parade now.

I'd prefer if they still used established acts (like when Lulu, Cliff, Clodah used to do the honours).

Any ex-Spice Girl would do, well any except Posh

Helen said...

I hated the Eurovision for years, but find myself strangely drawn to it now.
I found that Terry/Sinead track a few years ago on youtube and really like it, but I'm a big fan of both of them anyway, especially Terry who I've been in love with since about 1978.

Bright Ambassador said...

What's the point in entering if we're not going to take it seriously? Does Alex Ferguson enter Manchester United into two league competitions and two cup competitions if he doesn't want to win them all? Of course he doesn't.

No good will come of this Pete Waterman thing. As has already been said, we were on the right track last year, now they're going to undo all the good work. They should get people like Xenomania involved along with established acts, like Girls Aloud.
Take That are big in Europe so they'd carry a lot of weight. Because it's seen as a bit of an embarrasment no-one any good will touch it with a bargepole.

Sorry for going off on one. I like it too much, see?

Ishouldbeworking said...

Getting Pete Waterman involved seems a strangely mixed message to be giving out. A sort of 'We're leagues above this ridiculous bunfight, but nevertheless can we get one of the most successful EVER producers of frothy, chirpy pop music on board? If we win we can use it as further proof of his populist genius, and if we lose we can say we were only being ironic anyway and that's why we got the old has-been in the first place."

Five-Centres said...

I think that just about nails it!

TimT said...

Thanks for reminding me of our glorious former leader. I wonder where he is now?

Oh, and you forgot about the totally original magazine he launched (which lasted one issue), and the film school interview with Dicky Attenborough, and the Icelandic starlet he was acting as Svengali for...

Simon said...

I bought that album when it came out (but as been covered elsewhere I do like a good cover version) and it is as good a reminder of any of the variable quality of the Eurovision song even not in the original form.

Maybe we should just automatically enter whatever the highest placed UK song in the charts is on the day the entries close. At least that way the "voters" get something to kep rather than just another premium rate call on the phone bill.

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