Friday, 4 June 2010
Eurovision - Another Dismal Display
It’s the third time the UK have come bottom of the competition in the last eight years, a place usually reserved for Norway and I think it is now abundantly clear that we have no business entering this competition. Italy, another great musical nation, realised this years ago and has steadfastly refused to participate ever since.
The fact is that this event has not been a ‘Song Contest’, as advertised by its title, for some time and has become a gruesome parody of its former self where national interests prevail over any appreciation of musical prowess. The fact that we have been churning out substandard songs performed by inexperienced singers doesn’t help, but there is more at work here.
Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the old Communist Bloc has splintered into numerous independent countries, all of whom now claim the right to enter the competition in their own right. This has moved the centre of gravity of Eurovision culture eastwards and it has become clear that the cultural divide between the UK and the rest of the ‘new’ Europe has widened significantly. Not that it wasn’t wide to start with, after all Britain has been at war with France on and off for centuries, has crossed swords with Germany twice in the last hundred years and spent the cold war eyeing Russia and the Eastern Bloc warily – rivalries that continue into the various sports arenas to this day.
Traditionally, the UK has tended to align itself culturally not with Europe, but with the USA and North America generally both in lifestyle and music. We have more in common with US popular music than Romanian folk tunes so it is inevitable that our style does not always go down well with a European audience, even if we could come up with a half decent tune.
So, we have two choices. Either we adopt the Italian solution and drop out of the contest completely or we go for bust and devise songs based around eastern European folk tunes with a bit of grafted on hip-hop and silly costumes. Even then, as the UK has few political allies in continental Europe, there really is no hope so I guess the former is the best option. It seems we have more in common with the Italians than I thought.