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Eurovision – the answer ! May 14, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in General Bloggery.

Well after all our successes and the recent hype about the Eurovision revival in Ireland, we fell firmly flat on our post-traditional, non popular musical arses in Helsinki on the weekend. Last ! The first time Ireland has ever come last ! If it wasn’t for my cousin’s, brother-in-laws, dog minder’s postman’s mother in Tirana, we wouldn’t have got any points at all !

So where did it all go wrong ? Well before we get into the heavy analysis and the ins and outs of bloc voting and bad performances, I must say I agree with John Waters – the man who penned our entry the other night. I don’t think it’s bloc(k) voting, I don’t think it was necessarily a bad performance (although the sound was shite) but the man has a point about these “new” countries finding their feet and expressing their new found musical freedom in a brand of pop that has long since seen its best days in “the West”.

A quick glance at the scoreboard the other day would give credence to my madness. Look at the top 10 versus the bottom 10. Ireland, UK, Sweden, Portugal, Spain … all what you might call places where Western pop culture has had more of an exposure than the East finished near the bottom. A top 10 which included several new countries like Serbia, Armenia, Bosnia, Montenegro etc. If someone can’t pick a pattern out of that then I’d question their sanity. The fact that Ireland was Paddy last (ha ha) out of the last countries shows that they (the producers of our entries) might not have fully cottoned on to this musical appreciation pattern. We used to, until recently, pick our Eurovision entry from the appalling ‘You’re not a Star’ programme for Jaysis sake.

Take Ireland’s wins in the nineties for example – several of the Eastern European countries that competed the other night weren’t in existence and their music was similarly suffering under older regimes … so Messrs Logan and McGettigan et al. had a clear run at it – in my opinion the Eastern countries that were in the competition gravitated towards the Western music as a defiance of the lack of their own musical expression.

Jump forward twenty years or so and the likes of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia and Belarus are now free to express their music and other parts of their culture in any way they wish – and they love it ! This happy-clappy, jumping around like a mad man, backing dancer drumming fest is the new thing in what the East considers cool music – sure it’s no wonder they love it ! Musically, they know what they like … it’s not James Blunt or the Sugababes that rocks their boat – tis the likes of the hyped up, souped up, camped up, stone mad, leppin’ around eejitry we saw in Helsinki – and sure who could envy or blame them. Welcome to Europe lads ! Even the Germans are caught in a bit of a time warp – enter the Hoff and the jaysis Kelly family !

As an interesting appendage, stuck in the middle of all this and consistently performing well is the country that bridges East and West – Turkey. This is one country where the diaspora really do ring in and vote for their motherland. Germany, Switzerland and the UK all gave the Turks 12 points … and I thought the Paddies were to be found in numbers all over the globe – obviously Jack Ryan’s slop house in Belgrade and The Foggy Dew bar in Montenegro don’t get the right channel !  Either that or they were keeping the head down.

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