It was with a heavy heart and a sigh of disbelief of what was happening that the TV was turned from stabbing a man in the chest in GTA IV to that most unholy of unholies, the most tortuous event surely to befall Europe since the Spanish Inquisition. The Eurovision Song Contest.
Held in Belgrade, that sunny tourist spot most famous for... Well hosting the Eurovision 2008 song contest.
A musical extravaganza followed, as long as extravaganzas are meant to make you want to rip your eyes from their stalks and crush them under the foot of euro trash, puss heavy and laden with bad song lyrics and worse dance routines exuding from their very cores. It was fair to say that I was not looking forwards to the next few hours.
There were several unremarkable entries. Fortunately I missed the UK's entry, whilst still fixing my optic nerves back together gaffer tape (don't ask about the ears), along with several other Nation's attempts at song, due to my home repair style first aid. This meant I was only to view the last two thirds of the 'competition'. What a two thirds they were. Entirely three quarters too much for my liking, and if 'negative amounts of watching eurovision' were a real currency, I would be on the phone to my non-existent currency dealer to order in my life savings worth.
There were however some points worthy of note. When I say note, I mean the type of note that is so unremarkable, its like being mentioned on a blog that no-one reads entitled "Game Over", or something equally obscure. So here is quite a suitable place really.
Artist: Pirates of the Sea
Song: Wolves of the Sea
When there is a 75% similarity 'twixt the name of the artist and the song, you know its going to be a rocky ride. There may be more than just a hint of the self titled about it but you have to give them points for trying. Like the kid who always puts his feet in the paint at finger painting class. They tried. One thing Latvia's brave citizens certainly kept in mind when voting for these guys must have been strategy. Their thought process could be summed up thusly.
'Pirates are cool. We have Pirates in our song. People will see that we have pirates and that we must also therefore be cool. This will make us win.'
Latvia, I'm afraid to report, did not win, despite having a Captain Hook. They did however have pirates, which as we all know makes them cool.
Artist: Sébastien Tellier
Having a song named after an infamous lady of the night is probably not the best way to go in such family orientated 'entertainment', but that, like never winning a war, is not enough to stop the French. The French are good at one thing worthy of note in this backwater page on the Internet of the future though. That is acquiring cool points. Not the type of online cool points that nerds fight over to determine who is the best video games player, but the type of cool points that exist in the real world and count for something. Cool points that are not an oxymoron. I have made a running total of their score for this years entry.
Actual song which does not induce vomiting: 25 cool points.
5 Bearded lady backing singers: 5 coolpoints each, for a total of 25.
Arriving on-stage in a Golf Cart: 50 cool points.
100 cool points. Count them on your hands and toes if you wish, the maths is irrefutably sound. With 100 cool points you could do anything! Buy a watermelon, raise a feral child or even come 19th in the Eurovision. The possibilities it seems, are limited.
Song: Secret Combination
The mindset of the nation of Greece's voters may be equally transparent in strategic terms, due to what can only be described as an unsubtle rip-off of Britney Spears. One would be forgiven for thinking that it is actually Britney Spears. I thought it was a sneaky trick by Greece to hire in the shaven headed mad thing to perform, then make with the old switcharoo backstage and get in the patsy performer to bask in the glory that rightfully belongs to the erstwhile flasher of parts. Apparently, this is not so. Thankfully at that.
Of the song lyrics? Well they are mostly about this particular Spears-a-like's 'secret combination', presumably combination of love, perhaps of chastity belt combination lock, but more likely to be 4 red bull and vodkas in the club, allowing her to become drunk enough to perform on request the dance routine to the un/lucky man she has taken home for the evening. Dirty thing.
Artist: Rodolfo Chikilicuatre
Song: Baila el Chiki
Some things are best left untranslated. The lyrics to this song are such a thing. I do not need to know what they are, I do not care what they are. They would probably loose some of the inherent magic that no doubt was intertwined into them by some sort of 'quill of Mozart' that must have been used to pen them. I made out two lines in the entire song from my less than basic Spanish. El breakidance. El Robocop. Both were accompanied by dancing so fluid and professional it could have been the Royal Ballet and I would not have been able to tell the two apart. My personal favourite of the competition.
Genius. Unadulterated, pure as the driven snow, genius. Any man that carries around a child's guitar strapped over his shoulder like a serious instrument of music has my respect. A man in an obviously unmatched to facial hair Elvis wig? Even better. Combine the two in some unholy trinity along with the skill of playing the guitar with your nose, or perhaps a mismatched waistcoat and shirt, and there is a thing worthy of adoration. Religions would pay for material like that.
Artist: Dima Bilan
What struck me first about the Russian, and winning, entry was that it was boring and crap.
That perhaps is a little harsh. Harsh on the words boring and crap. To equate them to the Russian entry would be to equate a campfire to a thousand suns. It was a complete non-event. I am sure there are many Russians out there who would disagree. Fortunately none of them read this page. Also, they are wrong.
Enough of the song though, onto the performers.
The violinist. The violinist with the rubber left leg. Perhaps both his legs are rubber, I do not profess to know whether or not he strapped a splint to one of them to give some semblance of being able to remain upright. As you can see from the picture, the trio lost all use of their legs beneath the knee towards the end of the performance. Maybe selling their souls for a rigged turnout eats away at your basic motor neurone control from the ground up. I can only ponder.
The ice skater. An ice skater? I can see they could be mistaken for a dancer, perhaps by the blind. Maybe even by the dead. They were terrible too. A worrying trend with the Russian entry.
The singer was so bland I don't even remember anything about him/her.
One final point though. Since when was Russia in Europe? Is there some false advertising going on here like the World Series in baseball? The world series that coincidentally enough, the USA has won every year, due to other teams not being allowed to compete? Perhaps just plain not giving a damn? Well its worked, because now an entry from outside Europe has won the Eurovision song contest. I hope the blood money was worth it Putin.
GTA IV was switched back to rather hastily.