If you can’t win, lose spectacularly!

I don’t know about you, but personally I really enjoyed Eurovision 2021, well done to the Netherlands for pulling it off so well! The staging of Eurovision can never be easy, but all the extra faff whilst keeping up the spectacularity of it too? It was a real triumph after the last year and all it’s toils, people coming together and working towards a unifying goal. The cheers and support in the room when James Newman decided to stand up and own his nul points clearly showed the solidarity felt by all those there. The tension as the results of the public vote locked one country after another into their final scores; the shock, the disbelief, the elation on display was electric (probably the biggest surprise for me was the lack of public votes for Malta, only 47 points!). I just really didn’t want the Swiss song to win, so that was my moment of joy, I quite fancied France to win, but hey, I’m happy Italy took it home.

Afterwards, on Sunday the autopsy began, too late of course for the Sunday papers, but online the vultures were up and circling around, by Monday the pitchforks were out. You could be forgiven for thinking the UK, as a one, hates Eurovision if you look at the comments on social media – funny how the haters always shout the loudest, or seem to, the rest of us just don’t really bother responding to their bile, like it would change their minds, ha! They’re not the smartest bunch but they are often very egotistical. Dearies, Europe doesn’t hate you, Europe voted for songs they liked, Europe was indifferent to the UK entry, to say Europe hates us is rather conceited to think they think that much about us!

Many were taking our nul points very personally. Why didn’t the UK get anything from the Judges Panels? Well, there were 26 countries competing in the Final and each panel had 10 scores to award, so every time 16 countries received nul points; it’s not that inconceivable that at least one country won’t get any points. Germany and Spain didn’t make it to double figures, and they got nul points from the Public same as us. I really felt for the Netherlands – our genial hosts and they didn’t muster any love from the Public. I wonder, are the Press and social media in other countries as bad as ours? Looking for someone to blame for a poor showing. Brexit, of course, was mentioned time and time again as the reason for all the “hate”, as one wag said, “Some people would blame Brexit for it raining in a British summer”, he’s right, they would.

There’s always the moan that it’s all political now (duh, it’s been political for ages), and, oh, those countries always vote for their neighbours (agreed Greece and Cyprus always get full marks from each other). So it couldn’t just be that songs on the continent get heard more widely? The singers and bands chosen to represent their countries will also be popular in neighbouring countries, the songs will have had plenty of radio airtime spreading them far and wide. Watching how the scores panned out I actually think there was less political voting than there’s ever been, this was Eurovision back on, people were just voting for what they liked. The UK song only made 22nd on my score sheet! It wasn’t good Eurovision fare, it wasn’t ticking many of the necessary boxes (like, how could I give much for what he was wearing?! performance ok, panache, none).

The boxes? Well, this year I had boxes for the song, the visuals (outfit and backgrounds), the performance and pazzazz; out of 15 each for the first three, 5 points max for pazzazz, so a total of 50 to go for. No, Eurovision isn’t just about the songs, it’s about the spectacle, the look, performance, a special sparkle, well it is for me. A great song may not shine because of a poor performance, but a poor song delivered with oomph and panache can soar. As Billy Flynn sings in Chicago, “Give ’em the old razzle dazzle, razzle dazzle ’em.” Yes, I do happen to take my scoring seriously, go ahead, my friends always ribbed me about it. I also make little notes about particulars….

Russia had, “Ye gods! The start!” Norway got, “Captain Sensible with wings and devil guards” Germany has a scrawled,”Yay! Sparkly ukulele, quirky, tap dancing” (see there’s performance and pazzazz there), Finland was, “V different, a good moshing song.” I took snapshots of the telly showing the results of the Judges scores and the Final scores, and I noted the Public scores. Interesting facts that appeared before my eyes – Greece performed 10th and then came 10th with the Judges, Public and Overall (I broke the run with 7th); the Netherlands did the same in 23rd (24th for me). My top 3? Portugal 3rd, Malta 2nd and France 1st.

So can the UK ever win again? Not while they try to write a Eurovision song, just a good pop song would be better. And not sung by the usual type, go for someone fun, known in Europe, not a ballad, good old rock’n’roll, a toe-tapper. If we have to go big and ballady, then get Jack Savoretti to do it! Come on, Candlelight would have been perfect! Otherwise, I reckon I know a great wee band who write cracking songs with wide appeal, a throwback sound of the 60s beloved by many on the continent as the band’s trips over to Germany, Italy and Netherlands can attest. Hey, and when Scotland gets independence, if Scotland wants it’s own Eurovision entry, the lads would be the perfect choice. Would they do it? Hmmm. See, I’m ready for it, Eurovision goes psychedelic!

Groovy, baby!

Fifteen minutes to go!!!

Oo I’m so excited and I just can’t hide it 😆 Been playing old Eurovision favourites on Spotify the last two days. Just got a pizza in, sad news it wasn’t Alex at Moratti, glad news he will be back! My take on a Maltese rabbit tapas dish is ready, merguez sausages, a venison thingy, tzatziki, more yogurt based dips, a mixed salad, garlic bread and alcohol. I’m ready! Oh, and score sheet printed out too.

Good luck to all participants, may the best song win! Don’t worry, it won’t be the UK and I’m fine with that. It’s much easier to enjoy when you accept the inevitable 😊

They’re back, well, 2 out of 3, anyways

How nice to see the lights back on inside The Waverley as I strolled past yesterday evening! Mind, whilst it was good to see the pubs on the Royal Mile open again, it looked kinda sad, the few occupied tables in each one. A few more establishments have followed on The Scotsman’s Lounge example and built large wooden structures for their outdoor clientele, these looked quite busy, well, it was quite a pleasant evening. Yes, even though it was a Monday night, folk were out to celebrate the latest easing of restrictions, ironic that most were drinking outside rather than inside. The pubs with little or no space for outdoor drinkers must have been rather pissed off!

The Grassmarket was feeling it bit more like it’s old self, a few gaggles of shrieking females, drunken friends hugging each other goodbye, a lass sat crying while her mates tried to console her. Yeah, almost like the old days, well, nights, almost, the pubs had to close by half past ten.

I did check that half ten was correct on the BBC newsite on my mobile – just in from there, the Edinburgh Tattoo has been cancelled again. Despite spending a lot of time and effort to make it work this year, the organisers have said the financial risks are too great and could have put the entire future of the Tattoo in jeopardy. Sad but not really surprising news.

Other news, it’s Eurovision on Saturday, yay! The first semi-final is on telly tonight, the second on Thursday, guess I’ll have a good ganders at those, then probably be very disappointed about songs that don’t make it through to the Final. I have to share these pics with you, taken on Saturday, this high street shop seems to be embracing a retro Eurovision style (the young shop assistant couldn’t figure what was so amusing about these dresses and why I was taking photos of them, bless).

2020, ironically the year Eurovision wasn’t

Eurovision may have been cancelled this year but you’d hardly know it from today’s radio and telly in the UK. As I tap this out Nicole is on telly singing A Little Peace (Ein bißchen Frieden) – only the umpteenth time I’ve heard it today! Not that I mind, by halfway through I’ll be singing along again.

This evening I’m indulging myself with prosecco and pear juice, they do go together rather well (and if the prosecco is too dry, pear juice is a good antidote). Well, I deserved a treat after all the tidying round and cleaning I did today. Just because I had no one coming round this year didn’t mean I was gonna let standards slip, ok, so they’re not that high anyway but I always have a massive clean round before Eurovision. Right from Graham Norton’s Radio 2 show this morning I’ve been cleaning, singing and dancing, sometimes all at the same time!

Ah, Graham Norton, a worthy successor to Terry Wogan. So it wasn’t officially a competition but I still raised my glass to Sir Tel at the ninth snippet, Sweden’s song, I believe. Why the ninth? Well, when handing over the baton to Graham, Sir Tel advised young Graham to pace himself by not having his first drink of the evening until the ninth song. So, now every year at the ninth, Graham raises a toast to Sir Tel, it’s quite poignant actually. This evening I thought Graham was very sweet and eloquent when the hosts spoke to him, I heartily agreed with him about how great the show was going, an impressive production in these extraordinary circumstances.

Eurovision is feelgood tv (even during the voting) and especially this year with the personal messages from each performer after their song snippet. I’d like to think folk feel a stronger camaraderie with their fellow Europeans after sharing all this music; a celebration of musical differences and similarities, an insight into nations’ souls. The mass love-in of all the performers singing Love Shine A Light was great touch in this time of musicians putting out stuff from their own spaces (often bedrooms, I’ve noticed!)

Mind, we in the UK often wonder why we can’t send a decent song that reflects us now, our songs do tend to be on the naff, dated side. Do other nations feel the same about their entries? Do the Finns, Moldovans or Germans consider their songs reflect them well? My recipe for UK success is Jack Savoretti; my eurika moment came the first time I heard Candlelight, a perfect Eurovision song and a voice to penetrate the hardest of hearts. I’m sure he probably has something that would be perfect – and not written to be a Eurovision song, important methinks.

Tonight we only heard short blasts of each song (blasts almost literally in some cases) so we missed out on costume changes, key changes, great powerful endings from soft beginnings, all staples of Eurovision and it’s associated drinking games. But, going on just the snippets I observed I liked France, Belgium, North Macedonia, Austria and Armenia, with additional mentions for the Italian guy’s voice and the Finnish lad’s blue jacket. Who knows what might have been?!

Tomorrow I intend to look for the ukulele chords for Alexander Rybak’s Fairytale, I rather like it hearing it again today, possibly playable. Today’s find was Boom Bang-a-Bang by Lulu, a couple of tricky chords but I might be able by next May!

Good night, peeps! Stay safe!