A week after Dima Bilan won the contest for Russia and Andy Abraham finished joint last, the UK is still talking about the result and what the Brits should do next. However, one man claims to have the answer.
In this week’s issue of The Spectator magazine, columnist Rod Liddle gives his view of how the UK can win the contest again.
“Here’s my suggestion: the people of Europe voted, en masse, for the sorts of songs they liked best, precisely as they were meant to do. And the sorts of songs they liked best, with which they were most familiar, came from within their own cultures, or within cultures from which they had received, for good or bad reasons, perpetual exposure over a large number of years. That’s why everybody voted the way they did. “
“The UK’s song was a piece of savvy, soul-inflected 12-bar blues; that’s what we usually do for the Eurovision, sometimes witlessly, sometimes — as with Andy Abrahams — with a degree of panache. But the one thing none of the countries east of the Oder-Neisse line have is a tradition of 12-bar blues. It may, up to a point, form the basis of our pop music, but it is an alien, disconcerting life-form in Chisinau and Belgrade and Vilnius. Over there, they like stuff in a minor key, the melodic extension of the Imam’s wail or the pobodny liturgies of the Russian Orthodox Church. Go to any eastern European capital and you will hear it blaring out of the taxi cab, or your hotel reception or the local restaurant; this endless hyperbolic, overwrought, desperately cheesy minor-key tune affixed to an unequivocally 1980s backdrop and beat.”
The article continues, “It is being suggested that the UK — and quite a few other western European countries — will no longer take part in the song contest, although I would guess that the BBC will resist the demand to quit, seeing that nine million people tuned in last week. The argument seems to be that for political reasons, the western European countries will never win again. What was once a contest between the British 12-bar pap and the French/Belgian/Luxembourgeois sultry chanteuse has been somehow hijacked. Certainly, that’s how the votes had it last week. Fine: the Eurovision Song Contest is quite clearly stupid, its participants devoid of talent and an embarrassment to all concerned. But let’s not pretend that the voting is political.”
Rod concludes, “If we take part next year, here’s the way to win. Choose someone swarthy and hirsute — preferably a woman — and shove her in the sort of dress worn by Joan Sims in the early Carry On comedies. Ensure that she does not shave her armpits. Give her a song in a minor key wedded to a moronic 4/4 disco beat but which begins with a sort of quasi-spiritual ululating. Let the chorus be along the lines of ‘Life Ees Good!’ or ‘We Are All Frentz!’ — and, from Riga to Baku, watch the votes roll in.”
In my view
His tongue may be firmly in his cheek, but Rod does (inadvertently perhaps) speak the truth when he says the voting isn’t political. Human nature dictates that people will like the familiar. The BBC is in a unique position. They can choose an act that will be known in every single participating country. No other country is able to do this. That is how we can win the contest again.The opinion expressed in "In my view" are those of the author and are not necessarily the one of EuroVisionary.com.