Tips for trash triumph for our Eurovision party

22 May 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Eurovision failures Blue criticise song contest: ‘It’s too political’.

“Don’t patronise me Nikolaj, I’m 51 not dead!” – Graham on the Eurovision host’s suggestion that some viewers may not understand hashtags (2014) “‘We are Slavic girls, we know how to use our charming beauty, now shake what your mama gave you.’ It’s essentially a feminist anthem.” – Graham gives his damning verdict on Poland’s raunchy Donatan & Cleo (2014) “Oh look it’s the Eiffel Tower!

Having finished a paltry eleventh place in 2011 and with all members declaring themselves bankrupt, Blue have decided to hit out at the Eurovision Song Contest on the eve of its 60th anniversary.But Russia has undergone a dramatic Eurovision reinvention and is now one of the favourites to win the competition, with an anthem appealing for peace and a new era of global tolerance. Regarding the likes of Dickens and Shakespeare, my expertise is limited to what was compulsory at school and what I’ve picked up through Gwyneth Paltrow movies.

Organisers of the geopolitical clash disguised as a music contest staged in Vienna have introduced “anti-booing technology” to avoid Polina Gagarina, Russia’s entry, suffering the same fate as her predecessors. The realisation the committee has invited Australia and not Austria into the competition will no doubt induce a bad case of Post-Traumatic Strauss Syndrome. Eurovision is more than just a song contest- its history tells us much about the way Europe has changed politically, culturally and economically since the mid-1950s, and how the changes have not always been for the best. Special sound reducers have been installed should the acrimony towards Russia’s continuing actions in the Ukraine be reflected in a repeat of the negative audience reaction described as “very embarrassing” by producers.

The taste of Eurovision defeat still leaves a bitter taste in Simon, Lee, Anthony and Duncan’s mouths, especially given that Lee recently became the final member of the group of to declare themselves bankrupt. Eurovision predates the formation of the European Economic Community (EEC) by several months, but came about from the same desire to bring the countries of Europe (or at least Western Europe) closer together and help prevent future wars. For years we’ve sniggered from the side lines as bearded divas named after a sausage (was Conchita Wurst’s winning ditty The Weiner Take It All?) and Finnish Goth metal bands who could be ahead of their time — or maybe just late — warbled and gyrated their way on to our screens from the other side of the globe. Eurovision was meant to be a stepping stone to past glories for the boys. “I just think there’s a lot of politics involved unfortunately,” Duncan James said. “You get certain countries voting for their neighbouring countries.

Countries that have close trade links with one another and take part in singing contests together, can’t really go to war against each other, can they? Vitaly Milonov, a leading St Petersburg lawmaker and the author of controversial legislation banning the spread of “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations” to minors, disowned Polina. “Don’t you dare soil Russia by hugging Euro-perverts,” said Milonov. Here’s Cezar, proving that just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should.” – Graham introduces Romania’s mildly terrifying Cezar (2013) “The song is called ‘Alcohol is Free’. The first contest, held in Lugano, Switzerland on 24th May 1956, saw just seven countries compete and for the first and only time each country was allowed two entries. A furious head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Cyrill, said he hoped Russia loses, warning that “all of those bearded singers” who “impose that which is repulsive to our culture” will come to Moscow for next year’s final if Europe chooses Gagarina. “We need to support lullabies and patriotic and spiritual songs.

It’s more of a political contest rather than voting on the song.” Whereas before the public had the sole choice over what country was awarded douze points, each participating nation now also has a jury of five music professionals who rank the various contestants. Ironically, in this pre-globalization era, there was more genuine cross-cultural fertilization in Europe than there is today, when globalization too often means Americanization. Polina, who will sing to an outer-space Gagarin-inspired backdrop, admitted that representing a country as diverse as Russia was “quite a burden for me.” She is flattered to have been named a bookies favourite. “I am a fatalist, and I am afraid of getting too many compliments and good words. She can do extraordinary things with her voice…not pleasant things but extraordinary.” – Graham presents Albania’s Eurovision entry Rona Nishliu (2012) “He looks like a nice boy who’s fallen in with the wrong lot, doesn’t he?” Graham reacts to Eric Saade’s performance of “Popular” for Sweden (2011) “It’s an unusual Eurovision this year. However, Blue seemed to criticise the juries, arguing that they were political: if you took away the juries’ decision, Blue would come fifth, not eleventh (hate to remind you boys, but coming fifth still doesn’t mean you’re a winner).

The gold lame boob tube and sequined thong is a look which doesn’t quite come off, but definitely gives the impression that it probably will later … for the entire band.) We’ve cackled at the terrible songs — you keep thinking it’ll turn into a tune … but it doesn’t. Indeed, in a broader world where music is becoming more and more like pornographic processed cheese (Hi, Beyonce), Eurovision celebrates the niche and unexpected. The quality of the songs was very high in Eurovision in its first twenty years-reflecting the richer cultural life that we had on the continent in the pre-neoliberal era.

Australia, invited to compete as one-off special as part of the show’s 60th anniversary celebrations, has taken the opportunity seriously, sending Guy Sebastian, a former winner of the Australian Idol competition to perform. Les Trente Glorieuses- but just how glorious on so many different levels the period 1945-1975 was, only became fully apparent with the passage of time. Poland’s Eurovision 2015 entry: Wheelchair user Monika Kuszyńska The UK’s entry, duo Electro Velvet, are 40-1 outsiders for the event, celebrating its 60th anniversary which, will be watched by an estimated 200m viewers worldwide. Swinging Britain, a happy, vibrant place to be under Harold Wilson’s progressive ‘old’ Labour government, won in 1967 and 1969, and should have won in 1968 too with the upbeat ‘Congratulations’; it’s claimed that Spanish dictator General Franco rigged the contest in Spain’s favor.The 1970s was another vintage decade for Eurovision.

Sir Terry Wogan, who quit presenting Eurovision for the BBC after 35 years, complaining that it had become fatally compromised by politics, said of last year’s winner, Wurst: “I have to say that he was in danger of turning Eurovision into a freak show rather than a farce. Beyond bearded transvestite Conchita Wurst’s winning performance last year, the 2007 runner-up was a Ukrainian drag queen who marched about in silver Dolce & Gabbana, hollering a gibberish folk-techno track. The Seventies started with a first win for Ireland, with the lovely ballad ‘All Kinds of Everything’, with the UK again doing well, finishing a close second. But if he wants to win Eurovision and put Australia on the European map, he’s going to have to embrace the camp exuberance of the competition and lower his tone. 1) There’s no such thing as a Eurovision fashion faux pas.

I have a strong enough sense of self-preservation not to suggest that the music is a standout part of Eurovision (admittedly, at times, it can be the worst). And along with the endless songs about broken heartage, the Eurovision canon includes artists examining topics like Facebook, passwords and free booze. It’s best to give the impression you’re endowed with the most prodigious organ outside Westminster Abbey. 2) The Eurovision contest demonstrates that knowing only three chords need not be a bar to a career in music. Clearly, having the charisma of a crash dummy and singing by ear through your nose, only enhances your chances of being a thunderous success. 5) The only social gaffe is to think that there are any social gaffes. For 2+2 = 3 reasons, this is to celebrate 60 years of Eurovision and the fact that Australia is such a great mate of the contest – with so many faithful viewers every year.

So this weekend, when the finals air on our TV screens, we can’t just sit on the sidelines and giggle about the lady who inexplicably sings opera-style in Armenia’s act. It’s imperative that you go for gold in the Fixed Smile Event even if being crushed to death by an amplifier or accidentally set on fire by the pyrotechnics. It was great to see the contest become a genuinely pan-European event, but sadly, the expansion of Eurovision coincided with the era of turbo-globalization, a period which has seen national cultural identities weakened, and the contest, despite the participation of new countries, is arguably not as interesting as it once was.

While there was some concern that Australia stumped for Australian Idol winner Guy Sebastian – and not someone cooler – to sing its song, three thoughts are comforting on this front: It is easy to view Eurovision as a cultural pestilence with an expensive light show: the musical equivalent of the Logies. Only a small minority of acts sing in their native tongues and instead of a genuinely European cultural experience, where we can learn something about other countries, we’ve got a competition in which too many of the contestants are trying desperately to sound and look American. Modern Eurovision has become a much-hyped high-cost television spectacular, watched by around 180 million people, but they don’t have anywhere near as much charm as the old contests had when the sets were creaky, and it was all about the songs and not the flashing lights.

Britain had an excellent record when its foreign policies were relatively peaceful, (the UK won it four times between 1967-81 and finished in the top four in every contest between 1967-78, but its last win was in 1997, the year Tony Blair – with his ‘liberal interventionist’ foreign policy, came to power. Budgie smugglers, bikinis, thongs, a smear of sunblock across the shnoz and an Akubra tilted at a rakish, Errol Flynn angle should just about cover the sartorial front. The UK has only had one top ten finish in Eurovision since 2003; and in the last three years, despite having reasonable enough songs, songs, has finished 25th, 19th and 17th.

If the UK does want to do well in Eurovision again the answer is clear: kick out the neocons and ‘liberal interventionists’ from the corridors of power and show Europe we’ve changed by putting Tony Blair on trial for war crimes. Or it is for something like the Olympics that takes up two weeks of your life and provides just as much heartbreak and disappointment as it does happy victorious moments.

The country won two years running in the late 1970s, at the time when Israel’s international image was fairly positive on account of the peace agreements with Egypt brokered by US President Jimmy Carter. But it has only won once since then, in 1998, a sign perhaps of how European attitudes to the country have changed in the light of Israel’s wars against Lebanon and Gaza, and the activities of the pro-Israel lobby in cheerleading for US-led wars against Israel’s ‘enemies‘. The advance in LGBT rights is an undoubted positive, but while we have gained equality in some important areas, at the same time economic inequalities have widened.

Because of the economic changes that have taken place since the late 70’s, the feelings of solidarity and comradeship between people are not as strong as they once were. Rugged ‘me first’ individualism and the rise of identity politics have led to more fragmented societies in Europe, particularly in countries where neoliberalism is most entrenched, such as Britain. Keith Walker, of Euronews, did though pick up on the irony ‘Israel who’s PM marched in Paris defending free speech, protests’ Hungary’s Eurovision entry’ Just imagine the furor if the Russian ambassador had intervened to try and get changes made in another country’s Eurovision entry.

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