1956: Eurovision was created, a contest to define the best musical act of Europe
When I was young and innocent I used to love watching it, but then I grew older and became a teenager. Eurovision suddenly felt very silly and uncool, to a boy who was wearing long hair, big glasses, and dirty jeans with holes, listening to Nirvana, looking like a fool but thinking the rest of the world was foolish.
So I forgot all about Eurovison, and some things that should not have been forgotten were lost. History became legend. Legend became myth.
And then came 2006, my future wife and Lordi, and a new adventure began in London. Jen, my then not yet wife, had never watched the Eurovision song contest, as she comes from the lands in the west across the big sea, where the shadow of Eurovision does not reach. So we decided to organise a Eurovision song contest night.
I was not prepared for what came next, it was kitsch, weird, glamorous, and somehow so European.
The BBC presenter of the show, Terry Wogan, definitely thought it was all a great joke and that the contest is rigged. He was hilarious.
Indeed, the UK seems to always send either rubbish acts or aging pop stars that have been lost to music for decades, and therefore it does not stand a chance of winning. But this probably just saves them from the embarrassment of losing while taking it seriously, when obviously the whole world knows that British music is the best in the world. Which actually is exactly the UK’s attitude to Europe generally: we’re coming but… only because you asked, so we are just going to bring a pack of crisps and make jokes about your quiches and silly cakes. But do give us some of that chocolate cake. Mmm that’s not a bad cake, but mine (if I made one) is so much better.
Errr sorry I digress…
2006 was the year that Lordi won!!! Lordi is a weird heavy metal band from Finland wearing elaborate monster costumes. And for those who haven’t seen that act you can watch it here.
After Lordi and their song “Hard Rock Hallelujah,” I rejoined the cult of Eurovision.
Since then we have had some great songs, this year was no exception.
A Danish song won, and actually I think it was probably the nicest and catchiest song of the night. So no complaints there. My wife thought it was no good though, she still has no European musical ear, but if I sing that song often to her enough she may actually develop a taste for it, or kick me out of the house.
But I was (and always am) rooting for the weird ones, like the Dracula act from Romania, which was actually hilarious and great music at the same time. And the Greeks, who were wearing dresses and proclaiming that alcohol is free (or should be free). Free alcohol: always a winner.
Oh and here are some of the greatest Euroenglish (or Google Translate English, as my wife calls them) lyrics from the night:
The shoes I am wearing today — one is called love, the other is called faith.
Just like tomorrow, she is always one day away.
Treat us wrong and tell us what is right.
No air, no pride — that’s why birds don’t fly.
I feed you my love.
You have got to love it, it is fun and sometimes even hilarious (voluntarily and involuntarily so), sometimes (overly) sincere and heartfelt.
And I for one love to watch it with my American partner, make some good food and actually grade all the different acts.
As I told Jen, this is actually the only thing she can vote for here in Europe. Now that’s European democracy in action.
So I will continue watching my precious Eurovision even if some think it may all be a big joke.