Sunday, 11 May 2014

Eurovision? Will someone please

explain this "Eurovision" thing to me?
Anyone who knows me will also know that I am no lover of "pop" music. I am not particularly musical. I cannot sing in tune - but I do know when I am not singing in tune and when other people are not singing in tune. I can read music but I cannot play a musical instrument - or even strum a guitar.
I probably have a greater musical sense than the Senior Cat. He makes no claim to be musical. My mother used to complain that he had two left feet and could not dance. (The latter part of that statement is true. He cannot dance.) I can often correctly guess whether a piece of music is by Bach, Beethoven, Handel or Mozart - but I have no idea how I know because I rarely listen to music. I listen to words instead. Our house is largely silent. We prefer it that way.
This year the Eurovision thing has proved to be more of an event here in Australia because an Australian was invited to perform (but not compete). There has been a fuss about this. I don't doubt that Jessica Mauboys is a nice girl. Is she talented? I have no idea. The preliminaries to her actual song were apparently cringe-worthy even by our standards.
I wonder what would happen if someone entered the contest with a song that was actually a song that people could learn - a sort of Greensleeves or a Scarborough Fair for the 21st C? I have a feeling that it would be ignored. I am not too sure whether this Eurovision thing is actually about music or whether it is about performance. The two are not necessarily the same thing.
I think the Senior Cat is even more bewildered than I am. What, he wants to know, is the fuss all about?  This was hard to explain. I made an attempt of sorts - difficult because I don't understand the ins and outs of it at all.
He thought about it for a while and then said, "But nobody I have ever heard of has ever won this thing."
"Yes they have," I told him. I reached back far into time and did an internet check. Yes, I was right. "ABBA won it in 1974."
I had to explain about ABBA. He agreed he could remember hearing about them.
"But 1974 is forty years ago - almost as old as the Beatles."
True - but at least he knows about the Beatles. I can remember when they were considered to be outrageous simply because of the length of their hair.
It seems to me that a lot has happened in the fifty years since the Beatles and the forty years since ABBA winning Eurovision. I have been watching my Twitter time line as I wrote this because even I knew the contest had to be close to the end.
I don't care for the music but it makes me happy that the world of pop music can choose a bearded drag queen as the winner. Who will win forty years from now?


Anonymous said...

Cat, I am into pop and rock music, and the only good things to appear at Eurovision was Abba, and the half time entertainment in Ireland one year ... Enya and Micheal Flattely.

Vanessa Gebbie said...

I love love Eurovision... most of the time, singing has not a lot to do with it - it is spectacle, and madness, lights and special effects. Last nights winner could certainly sing - she was stunnning - but also, much of the voting was an anti Russian protest, following some homophobe Russian politician labelling her as a pervert. The world can unite - even on a stage!

Philip C James said...

Tee hee, of course Australia can't perform in the Eurovision Song Contest, silly! It's part of Australasia not Europe. Whereas Israel CAN perform in the Eurovision Song Contest because, um, it's part of the Middle East not Europe.

*Goes to sit in a dark room*

Philip C James said...

If Clausewitz had lived to witness the Eurovision Song Contest, he would probably have revised "War is the continuation of Diplomacy by other means" to the more politically correct "Eurovision is the continuation of War in Europe by other means." It's an annual settling of old national and regional scores and reinforcement of auld alliances ;-)

Miriam Drori said...

Israel can participate because it belongs to the European TV club (or whatever it's called). I used to enjoy the excitement of Eurovision. Now I can't be bothered with it. It all boils down to politics.

Anonymous said...

No one watches Eurovision for the music...Ireland has won more times than any other country because for a long time they didn't get it and kept putting good songs in...almost bankrupted the country (the winner hosts the next Eurovision). It is camp and political and shiny with bling and national costumes and sometimes important things happen. Riverdance happened as the halfway entertainment in 1990 and was a crucial part of the shift in popular perception. The Irish might still be a suspect community, bombers and terrorists, but overnight the edge had been rubbed away when we were seen to have an art form that everyone could appreciate. I think something important happened on Saturday night about sex and gender and the labels we put in people...

catdownunder said...

Ah Vanessa you are all confirming my view that Eurovision is about spectacle and politics not music! Riverdance was surely the thing that really made Irish music popular again?
I suspect Miriam that Israel is a bit like Australia - not quite one thing or the other. We most certainly aren't Asian but we aren't in Europe either. (Which should make you think Philip - we are not, as successive Prime Minister's have liked to claim "part of the Asian region". They simply don't accept us as such.)
And yes Judy, even I can tolerate Enya and MF.