If someone told my young self what I cooked for my tea tonight, my response would definitely have been “Yeuck, no way!” Even my teenage self and probably mid-twenties self would have reacted the same; and what is this terrible dish I served up tonight? Liver, a bain of children’s lives, we’re told it’s good for us, certainly the version dished up at school dinners wasn’t!
Mind, I still wouldn’t particularly want liver and onions old-fashioned British style, mine has tomatoes, oregano, garlic, paprika, a generous slosh of red wine and a dod of double cream in there. Sometimes I have it with rice, tonight it was accompanied by sweet potato mash and broccoli. Scrumptious! Oh, and some more of the red wine to wash it down. My young self would not have known what to make of my plate, how times change.
And tonight when I pop along to Stramash, I wouldn’t dream of having a cider, whereas twenty years ago ale would have been my last resort. Umm, it’s over three weeks since I was in Stramash (wow, yeah, that long), there was a very nice new ale from Stewart’s, I do hope it’s there again. Tonight it should be Chris Buckley with the Handsome House Band, then at ten it’s that dynamic, edgy duo The Scat Rats, yay! It’s a fine weekend when I get to see them twice!
They were on the four o’clock slot at Whistlebinkies again yesterday. Now that afternoons are shorter before the darkness descends and temperatures have finally dropped, more folk seem inclined to seek a warm pub much earlier on. Binkies is well placed for people coming or going from the town, music from four is a good enticement to have another drink, especially when it’s this good! Last week Jed Potts & Nicole Smit were dishing up the goodies, and I do believe they’ll be back next Saturday at four, sweet!
I suppose I should do the washing up before I head along. It won’t get done when I get back in, that’s for sure, so I’ll bid you adieu.
It’s been a week since Logan’s Close released Heart-shaped Jacuzzi, today I realised I’d been whistling it as I headed home from the Farmers Market (just a couple of bits from it over and over and over again). Oh, I inadvertently hum and whistle a lot, only realising I’m doing it when someone gives me a look. People don’t whistle so much anymore, at least not around here, hardly at all I’d say, which is a shame, well, I think it is.
This week saw more new Edinburgh music splash into the streams, yesterday Jed Potts & The Hillman Hunters released a new album Swashbucklin’ (also available in solid form, CD and vinyl). Their gig next week that’s part of the Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival Autumn Series is now the official album launch show, coincidental timing I gather, at least it saves on organising another show for it (it does seem that the album release date is possibly a tad earlier than expected?) The show is at Leith Dockers Club on Thursday 3rd November; I have no idea where Leith Dockers Club is, presumably in Leith, but am definitely considering getting a ticket.
Mr Potts will be playing at Stramash this evening as part of Nicole & The Backup Crew, unusually they’re playing the seven o’clock slot, yes, I shall be trotting along. I’ll be back there on Sunday evening too for the Handsome House Jam; the Handsome House Band play on the first and last Sundays of the month and invite a guest musician to jam with them – on Sunday it’s Carl Marah, yay! So glad I wondered who the guest was this week, I often don’t think to check.
And as if that wasn’t enough fun for one weekend, Monday night Stramash have the Moanin’ Bones on at ten o’clock at their Hallowe’en Haunted House Party. It’s been a wee while since I last saw them, well looking forward to that! I may even get spookified for the occasion.
Meanwhile back at the Close …… their December show at Sneaky Pete’s sold out a few days ago, but our lads aren’t going to have anyone miss out on their juicy goodness – Logan’s Close will be back in Sneaky’s the following evening (so thats Tuesday 13th) to do it all again!
It’s oot, Heart-shaped Jacuzzi is out there (on all good music streaming sites), the brand new single from Logan’s Close and, in my opinion, it’s rather damn fine. I had a first listen as soon as it launched as I headed from Binkies down to Stramash at midnight – not a complete coincidence that I wasn’t in a noisy pub just then! I mentioned in my last post that the Scat Rats were playing at Stramash Friday night, this week they also played Whistlebinkies late Thursday night and after midnight Carl was in Stramash with The Buccaneers (Scotty was there with a beer). Busy lads!
I reckon Heart-shaped Jacuzzi is set in the same district as Never Bloom and Mock Marble Linoleum, these folk are neighbours, bumping shoulders in the street unaware; facades of chirpiness hide creeping despair, each numbed by feelings of inadequacy and inevitabilities that are seem unescapable. The songs are like a voyeuristic camera sweeping through the neighbourhood spying on their little worlds; I see the last riff of Mock Marble Linoleum as a montage of his day, ending with him setting out again into the night, the camera pans away from him, swooping up through an upstairs window to the first strains of Babe Station. 《BTW this is one of those very late night train of thoughts that I climbed on-board and went with. Just a personal, moosed up idea inspired by the music of LC and a lack of sleep》
It’s now another day in the Close, another house to peer in, who lives in this one? The intro suggests early 70s sitcom with a slightly creepy edge, then those last two chords, uh oh, “Stale beard…” and Scott paints the scene for us. Messrs Marah and Rough always have great lyrics and even when they’re on the bleak side, there’s still a lightness and wit; and the arrangements of their music combine with their words perfectly to enhance whatever scene or story is unfolding. Here Scott is letting us in on how disillusioned the wife is feeling about her husband and how her life has turned out, “golden days distant memories for you”.
Scott’s vocals are as gorgeous as ever, like a coarse velvet (ok, that may sound odd, if I ever think of a better description I’ll edit it), narrating the wife’s turmoil, almost like her own subconscious dispassionately assessing her life choices. The discord builds up with some dark moody guitar, the keyboards reappear, finally the thoughts break back in, everything is swirling around building up and up (okay, I haven’t yet deciphered all the words in this part of the song yet, but I reckon safe to say, the lady is not in a good place, the video really can’t come out soon enough!) then it all cuts out to a sparse guitar ending, plaintive, but our lady has survived to, hopefully, move on.
Plenty of keyboards in this one, plenty space too. The production on this is brilliant, so much the LC sound (definitely worth the Hamburg trip to get it right). The lads do like a tempo change or two, well, they help with scene-shifting, cutting to another camera. Talking about cameras, on first hearing this I thought, oo, another Lynchian tune but on further listens it’s more Edgar Wright to me (a game I play, matching music with film directors).
Of course Heart-shaped Jacuzzi gets 5 stars from me, heck it can have a few more!
October already! Ah, but September ended on a couple of fine notes! First off, last Tuesday evening Fur were back in town, yay! This time at The Mash House, not a place I’ve seen a band at before, Fringe shows yes, in different rooms there. A friend said they weren’t keen on it as a music venue and having now been, I kinda get what they meant; not that there’s anything particularly bad about it, it’s just got no appeal. I will say that the bar there is quite nice and reasonably priced.
Fur were as brilliant as ever and the crowd were really up for it. I spotted Mr Rough across the room, so I moseyed over to say hi, and as there was a bit of breeze from a nearby air conditioning vent (very warm venue) I stayed on that side; there were also fewer giants in front of me there. It was a very fine gig but the announced last song was indeed the last song, no encores, no Can’t Help Falling in Love, the band were all there ready come back on except Murray, no one seemed to know where he’d gone! No sign of him, so the lights came up and that was that, an odd end (I gather he was not feeling well). Shame.
Friday I was all set for more music, even if I had to go over to Glasgow for it. It must be at least fifteen years or so since I last went through to Glasgow to see a band, I don’t know Glasgow at all – this was gonna be interesting. The venue was St Luke’s & The Winged Ox, the band The Strange Blue Dreams with support from Logan’s Close, yeah okay, so, it looked easy to get to and LC said they’d put me on their guest list, yay. I had a wee printed out map and the return bus times, knew how long it should take me to get back to Buchanan Street bus station (to be double checked with how long it took me to find St Luke’s). It turns out that St Luke’s & The Winged Ox is just past the Barrowlands, funny how many bits looked familiar as I went by; heading back afterwards I stuck to the same route, but had a strong recall of a drunken discussion between two friends I was with after a Barrowlands gig, about which was the best way back ( I just tailed along behind them praying we’d make it in time otherwise it was an hour til the next one).
Oh, I do like St Luke’s, it’s an old church that’s been converted into a space for live entertainment and other events, one with a three quarters round balcony and the old organ pipes are a magnificent backdrop for the stage. There’s still the old pulpit at the side of the stage which became a booth for DJs Anna and Holly to spin some fine pieces of vinyl, some seriously good taste there! The Winged Ox part of the name is the bar adjacent to the venue room, a good sized bar with a kitchen, so a convenient place to eat before a show; reasonable bar prices too, and a very nice IPA! (there is a little bar with limited choice in the venue, best to head to the full bar)
Now, the evening itself, wow, The Strange Blue Dreams, yep definitely on the strange side, haunting, intense, infectious, so many retro sounds going on, hints of forgotten tunes, glimpses of older times, smoky dance halls. The band are all dapperly dressed in keeping with their stylish sound; a sound and look perfect for a David Lynch film.
The gig was to celebrate the release of their second album Simple Machine, well reader, I was so impressed with their brand of rock’n’roll I just had to buy it (on dvd), oh, and a copy of their first album too. If you’re on Spotify you can check them out.
Yes, now I’m getting round to Logan’s Close , so good to finally see the full band again. I noticed Scott went and changed into his stage attire, no scruffy Rat for this gig! Head attire for the evening was his heart-shaped sunglasses (Scott always has something on his head). Eleonora was first choice and they were off!
It was a short and sweet half hour set of deliciousness. Naturally they mentioned the album-in-waiting Heart-shaped Jacuzzi and played the title track; Dans Le Jardin was in there too. A couple or so escape me, but I do remember they played the now very familiar to me Gouching On The 33 and, of course, Babe Station, Hot Blondes In Your Area Tonight rounded off an excellent set.
I would have included a shot of Sean Keys, but as usual he was in a darker spot and the guy is never still for a second! My crappy phone camera is incapable of taking a decent photo of him. The drummer in the back was previous sticksman Alex, filling in for the evening as Gavin was away.
It was a great evening, even my trek back to the bus station was well-timed with just a few minutes to spare. After their set Carl was on merch stall duties, apparently because he was driving, so Scott was taking the opportunity to get bevied, no surprise there! I noticed the Live At Limbic TV CDs were getting some interest, as they should, an hour of juicy goodness for only a tenner? Bargain!
Oops, my blogging has slowed up some. No excuses, it’s not like there’s not stuff to write about. I will write something tomorrow but there’s a blues band, who are apparently rather good, starting very soon in Whistlebinkies, so here’s some titbits of what’s to come….
The Strange Blue Dreams celebrating the launch of their new album Simple Machine
Ah yes, maybe only a half hour support slot, but the lads packed in plenty of juicy goodies. And where is this unusual venue? It has the wonderful name of Saint Luke’s & The Winged Ox and it’s over west in Glasgow.
Ah yes, I was going in the right direction to get the bus home, phew.
It’s been an interesting week since I last posted, some bits sublime, some ridiculously weird, some totally unexpected; it’s all left me too bamboozled to put anything down ’til now. Let’s start where I finished last time, about to head to see See How They Run, I didn’t see it. We arrived rather late, my chum wasn’t fussed about seeing it so we saw Bodies, Bodies, Bodies instead (I still haven’t seen it yet but I shall). Yeah, umm, we should’ve just call it quits and gone to Stramash early, really I could not have cared less if all they’d all ended up dead (I don’t think we were the intended demographic for it).
At least after that particular ridiculous, there was the sublime Nicole & the Backup Crew to pick us back up, and she was wearing another unitard, oh my (I’ve seen her wearing one before, I get it, very comfy, like a onesie but with sexy sass). Stramash was jumping, a great crowd. After midnight The Buccaneers took over, the crowd kept dancing, it was a lot of fun but I called it a night after the first set, hey, beauty sleep is required if I’m to stay so handsome!
A last minute decision saw me heading to the cinema on Tuesday night to see Clerks III, I hadn’t been aware it was even out, just as well I flicked right through the list! The first time I saw Clerks I was not impressed, then some time later I saw it again, much better, I loved Clerks II; I’m sure I have them both on dvd somewhere. If I can find them I can have a Clerks Day, watch them both then see Clerks III again. I enjoyed it but its definitely just one for the fans, quite poignant at times and it really points out how old we’ve all gotten (wow, Dante looks sooo young in clips from the first film!).
Sad news, Accordion Ryan has now left Edinburgh, he’s taken his two bags and accordion to Vienna. Good news, Ryan enjoyed Edinburgh and his Fringe experience so much that he may well be back next year, yay.
Wednesday saw me back at Legends for another blues evening. I missed the first band but arrived just as Jed Potts & The Hillman Hunters took to the stage; or in my head as they became, The Janitors, the mild-mannered janitor (as previously explained in this blog), the cooler slightly edgier janitor and the janitor you really wouldn’t mess with (yes, my mind does wander down some strange paths). As brilliant as ever and I do believe there was mention of an album coming soon?!
Headliners were The Cinelli Brothers who have just won The 2022 UK Blues Challenge, needless to say they were pretty damn fine – but my mind went for another walk…… Okay, so at the time it was very funny, I wasn’t drunk or nothing, I mean no disrespect, but come on, I bet I’m not the only who’s looked at the drummer and thought “porn star”. He had the ‘tache, the hair style, the satin shirt; actually I blame the guitarist/keyboard guy (they all sang various songs) he started it with his odd vaguely eighties trousers with a pattern that reminded me of curtains my Mum had in her kitchen years ago (probably the eighties). Then the other two band members, tiger print shirt and blue tinted glasses, paisley shirt and a hat straight from the seventies; obviously the director and producer of the porn movies. Like I said, they were great, it was a great evening – the deflated blow-up doll lying abandoned in the Cowgate made for a bizarre ending.
That wasn’t the bizarrest part of my week though. Oh, I had a good idea that the gig on Thursday would be different – I had no idea how different it would be! Firstly, it was in the Banshee Labyrinth, not a pub I frequent (just in August for the odd Free Fringe show, usually in the cinema room), well named as I wandered what was obviously the long way round to find the right room. Just about another dozen souls had found their way there to see Nestter Donuts with support from Diogo Augusto, and the trip began.
Loud doesn’t come close, ear-splitting, the backing track for Diogo Augusto was intense, I’ve never done it before, but thank god for a spare tissue to stick in my ears. The guitar was pretty low in the mix so was hard to made out a lot of the time, maybe if he’d just turned down that infernal backing track. Aside from the music he seemed quite a funny Portuguese chap, definitely preferred the stand-up bits, haha. I realised it did seem like some odd Free Fringe show I’d stumbled upon; the headline act stripping down to his undies at the side of the stage to put on his leopard print unitard did nothing to dispel this thought (personally I reckon Ms Smit wears a unitard much better than Mr Donuts).
Nestter Donuts was another solo act, he sings while playing electric guitar, bass drum and high hat; he has two large Spanish fans as stage adornments (trying for a kinky boudoir look?!) He describes his music as flamenco trash, a fair description, there’s flamenco stylings in his singing and guitar. There’s also a lot of bizarre, like getting an audience member up to sing the words for his song Meow Meow (those are all the words and boy, did she go for it, obviously a fan). A strange act that somehow compels you to keep watching, thank god I was able to avert my eyes away at the end, most of the few there did – he’d pulled the unitard down and his undies, yes, deliberately! Ye gods! Ridiculously unexpected that was.
More sad news, the Scat Rats won’t be playing Binkies after the Fur gig on Tuesday night, good news is it’s the Willie Dug Duo, or at least that’s what Binkies have their website, hmmm. Unexpected good news, I should be picking up a new toy that I bought on EBay tomorrow. One of those quick ganders that threw up a beauty, I won’t actually say what it is, don’t want to jinx it, maybe I’ve already done so by just mentioning it. Yes, it’s paid for but you do hear things.
Anyway, my tea’s almost ready, I can smell it, yum.
Today has seen bright sunshine and blue skies over Edinburgh, very chilly with it, as the forecast predicted. Annoyingly they got it very wrong for yesterday morning! The forecast had promised snow from the early hours, some heavy, awoke all expectant and excited I did – bloody none! And I’d come back up on Thursday for it. Well, and also to avoid Eunice, that’s Storm Eunice (who came up with Eunice?! What sort of name is that for a storm?).
I was down in deepest, dampest Yorkshire again. Very damp indeed, not much time was spent out-of-doors, it was ‘orrible! The few hours of fine were spent wandering round Hebden Bridge, note to self, some shops are closed Tuesdays as well as Mondays. Still a tasty lunch was had and a few purchases made, I do like Hebden Bridge, and there’s usually a fine calibre of busker in the Square.
Naturally, my choice of travelling audio accompaniment included my new Logan’s Close Live CD, at 63 minutes its perfect for the last legs down and up. In the gathering dusk I hurtled across the moors to Scott letting rip on I Want You, followed by the classic ListenTo Your Mother – that’s when the low fuel light started flashing (yeah, yeah, mother, make sure there’s plenty in the tank, I know); after that first, oh bugger, I reasoned there was actually around 40 miles worth left so no worries. On the homeward leg it takes about an hour to get from Abington services (junction 13 off the M74) to home, that is, without slowcoaches on the road; so perfect, with a second playing for Eleanora as I pulled up.
Eleanora is a bouncing upbeat babe of a tune, a catchy infectious earworm so it is! Everything a good Logan’s Close song should be, and also something slightly new, different but still undeniably LC. Sean Keys’ (that’s what he gets called, anyway) keyboards are at times reminiscent of Jon Lord on early Deep Purple, noticeably so on Mock Marble Linoleum. I’ll admit it’s taken me a while to get into this track, my original take was “fine but nothing special”, I’d like to update that, Mock Marble Linoleum is fine and dandy, like a mid 70s rock opus, swirling keyboards, grand majestic riffs, Scott going for it, yeah, it is pretty special.
Paralysed is a whirling dervish of a tune with Carl taking lead vocals this time. This lady who “reached inside and stripped you of your core” sounds like AC/DC’s Soul Stripper; two very different songs but the same female lineage (in my head, anyway). Gallus Laces is great, a lackadaisical swing and hook to it, love Scott and Carl’s vocals together on the chorus.
Probably (at least at time of writing this) my favourite track is Babe Station, from the opening drumbeats, sultry keyboards, offhand guitar, and then Mr Marah plaintively narrates the girl’s nightlife; the spacious sleaziness and Carl’s vocals almost echoey, with added Scott on backing, omg, it’s like sliding into a hazy drug-addled dream state! I’ve also had the pleasure of hearing The Scat Rats take on this song a number of times ❤
Mind, Give It To Me is a very close second on this, right from Sean’s piano intro and Scott’s and Carl’s harmonies; the guitar sound, the space, more beautiful desolation from the lads. I Want You is always near the top spot at any gig but the competition is tough here, even with Sean back on the piano and Scott’s sublime vocals. It would be hard to place all fifteen tracks in an order of preference, really, after my top five I couldn’t separate the others. God, I love this CD! Will this recording, this moment in time, ever be made available to anyone else? I don’t know, but if it is, no self-respecting LC fan would be without it!
I finally got round to seeing Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings on Wednesday night – the last evening showing of it at Cineworld. It’s only been showing for about, oo, five or six weeks! I actually knew nothing about it, hadn’t seen any adverts or previews, I hadn’t even noticed it was a Marvel film, yeah! How? I know! Just the poster and the title pulled me in and I’m so glad I went.
Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings is not a brilliant film, but it is really enjoyable (great fight scenes) and, as I had only just found out it’s part of the Marvel-verse, a tad befuddling when Trevor the Scouser turned up in it. If you’re now wondering who Trevor the Scouser is, you either haven’t seen all the Marvel films or you weren’t paying attention when you did. I recognised him straightaway and my brain was whirring trying to remember the details, thankfully he gave a long flashback exposition to fill all the blanks. There’s a number of long exposition speeches with accompanying flashback scenes in this film, possibly annoying to some; the lead-ups to them are a tad trite, but then I came to the conclusion that it was intended that way and went with it.
I thoroughly enjoyed the story, it is quite unusual these days to see a mainstream film without being aware of any of the plotline beforehand. I wish now I’d seen it earlier so I could have gone back and watched it again; and how good to see Michelle Yeoh on screen, such serenity! The actress playing Shang-Chi’s friend Katy was bugging me as she seemed familiar but, no, it wouldn’t come. Turns out it was her voice I knew, she played Sisu in Raya And The Last Dragon that I saw back in May, she is Awkwafina an American actor and rapper and I reckon she’d be a great laugh on a night out!
The following evening saw me back in the cinema for the latest Bond movie, No Time To Die. Well, its a Bond movie with all that entails – great villains played by class actors (Rami Malik and Christoph Waltz), beautiful ladies (I particularly liked Paloma played by Ana de Armas), the team back in Blighty (including of course Miss Moneypenny played by, the more beautiful than ever, Naomie Harris), a great theme song and musical score with an added bonus of We Have All The Time In The World woven through it. Oh, and a plotline that necessitates plenty of international travels, of course! I liked it, one of the better recent Bond movies for me, though I’m not sure about where the franchise will go next!?
Last night (yes! out three nights in a row!) I was in the Voodoo Rooms to see The Eclectic Electric Ukulele Blues Band, I was intrigued by the name and had to check them out. The fact that Willie Dug and the Cosmic Gents were the Support may have nudged my decision to go. Just as well the support were excellent, ’cause the EEUBB were rather uninspiring. Oh, the main guy had some fancy electric ukes but they were just an average pub blues band, nothing to write home about! If they didn’t have the word Ukulele in the name it would hardly have registered that two of the band were playing ukes, but I guess it helps intrigue the punters in, like it did me.
A lovely surprise bonus to the support band was one Carl Marah! Didn’t see that one coming! I hope he didn’t feel too comfy there, to lose a drummer or bass player is one thing but …….. Nah, he wouldn’t. But he would promise, and I quote, “a big ol’ bauble banger Xmas bonanza”, yay! A Logan’s Close Yuletide Special, can’t wait!
I shall leave you with pics (taken with my new phone, I’m sorry!) of The Scat Rats doing their thang…….
Just time for a quick catch up before I head off for a wee while, bags are packed, ukulele by the door so I won’t forget it. Yay, I did get to see Free Guy again! Still great on second watch. I also got to see the Aretha Franklin biopic Respect, like wow, WOW!! Jennifer Hudson is sooo good. The film ended at the time when she recorded the live album Amazing Grace, the recording of which was filmed, a film I saw two years ago in the Filmhouse, sweet!
This week I luckily spotted that The Green Knight was on at the Filmhouse, a “last chance to see” Facebook post . It’s a re-telling of Gawain and the Green Knight, in this version Gawain is played by Dev Patel (the reason I wanted to see it, he’s getting better and better as he ages). Sumptuous and kinda arty, lots to enjoy, but I did feel it lacked a bit towards the end.
Stramash have very kindly released a lot of gig dates for October and November, so there’s Jed Potts, the Kennedy’s Project and Willie Dug to look forward to, and yay, the Scat Rats (aka Messrs Marah and Rough) will be back, and, double yay, not until after I’m back in toun. Ah, thinking of the Close, I recently went on a coastal meander and popped by Dunbar, look what I found, yay!
Just a jog away from Dunbar is Belhaven Bay, plenty sand, sea and surf. Oh yeah, the surf was up! A great place just to idle a while, shame I didn’t discover it midsummer, ah well. Beach Boys songs swam around in my head as I strolled across the sand; it struck me that it could well have been the Beach Boys sound that heavily influenced the Scat Rats if they’d spent more time on the beach…..
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!