Saturday, May 16, 2009

Drive-by Eurovision update

Sorry about the light posting from my side of things recently, but there have been unpleasant kinds of workplace-related stress that have been keeping me out of the blogging mood recently.

But, as a brief missive from my world....

While revising an essay on the late (and much mourned) J. G. Ballard, I've kept a little window open in the corner of my screen with a live broadcast from the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest, which has become one of those odd-but-wonderful discoveries since moving here eight years ago. I think I've seen most of them live since then, and I've actually had strong opinions about some of the acts in a few of them, which puts me light-years ahead (or behind, depending on how you see these things) of about 99% of people born in the USA. It also signals my, one might argue, as the Germans would say, Integrationsbereitschaft.

Anyway, as usual, most of the music is garbage, but that's sort of beside the point. The show, (even on a tiny Windows Media window) is the thing.

And this year is about as satisfying as ever. Which means: mostly junk, but a few bright spots.

The best things I've seen so far have been Estonia, Germany and Turkey.

Estonia's entry was kind of a standard Enya-with-a-beat number, but, compared to the rest, it came across with an appealing musical flexibilty: you could have added a bridge consisting of anything from ancient Celtic to modern death-metal and it would have worked. A bit standard, but not offensive and rather tuneful.

Opinions are divided in this household about 'Miss Kiss Kiss Bang', the German entry. The Wife is dead-set against. Me, I'm in a more patriotic frame of mind. As usual. I mean...I'm far from a fan of that kind of music, but still: it stands out from the crowd and The Germans have been trying the genre trick recently (swing in 2009, country in 2006), which hasn't worked very well in terms of results, but, still, I'm glad to see them experimenting with something interesting and international. Our Dita was hardly as spectacular as the hype would lead you to believe, but I think this had a certain quality. And, you know, the Finns managed the genre thing a few years ago. Different genre, but still....

Turkey presented, as usual, the kind of Islamic image that comes across well: the sexy version, which so rarely gets a look in. A solid song, nice presentation. I was all for their win a few years ago. But I think they're beginning to get a bit repetitive.

France: nice, classy, melancholy bit dull. Hardly the kind of thing to keep pace with madly hopping Moldovans.

Norway...WTF?! Finnland...WTF? Sweden...WTF? Sorry, the Scandinavians are disappointing this year.

As for the British entry...well, the singer's story--as offered by German TV as a rags-to-riches classic--was far more interesting than the song itself. Andrew Lloyd Webber? Sorry... Nice voice, Jade, but find a better songwriter. The key change at about 2:15 is especially predictable.

This was all written before the results were revealed. I would like to think that Germany had a chance.

But I'm not holding my breath.

Not sure if I'll stay up for the results. I need my rest.

I have a shooting competition tomorrow morning.

[UPDATE] After 5 countries' votes. Norway. Norway? That was shit.

[UPDATE] I'm in the midst of gaining European citizenship. I'm...reconsidering.


Dale said...

"Enya with a beat" -- heh.

I've heard that band! x1000

Thanks for this. It looks promising and interesting as an avenue for finding the music that, in three or ten years, I would have been saying "why didn't I find this sooner?"

Geoff Coupe said...

Wot? No mention of the Ukraine entry? We loved it - and the video, which involves lots of molten chocolate being poured over naked bodies (both male and female), is even better!

We did enjoy "Miss Kiss Kiss Bang", in part for the silver pants and that amazingly-engineered corset on miss Dita von Teese, but it was hardly Eurovision material. It was, however, pure Eurotrash, and excellently done.

mikeovswinton, shocked said...

What! Didn't "My lovely horse" win?

J. Carter Wood said...

Geoff: Oh, the chocolate dipping is just divine...but it's by far the best thing going there. A bit...sub-par Christina Aguilera, I thought.

But I tend to have difficulties with musical tastes east of the old Iron Curtain. Nothing personal...but I just can't get there somehow.

Yes, I thought the silver pants were a plus. The corset, not so much (I find overly exaggerated hip-waist ratios...disturbing).

But, yes, there is a good side to Eurotrash. And there were plenty of examples of that on display tonight. Interestingly, I ran across something that suggested that the 'Miss Kiss Kiss Bang' duo seem to be having more success stateside....

My suggestion for the German entry next time: forget trying to hide that you're German.

Maybe authenticity works...

Break out those Dirndls!

Mike: I had to google your comment. Father Ted's not that well known in these parts.

But no, sad to disappoint, it didn't have a chance.

Dale: You might also find this an avenue for finding the music to avoid for the next century...

But if we can provide a service, we're happy in any case.

The Wife said...

May I just state that the Swedish entry was a cheap and cheesy rip-off of "Nessun Dorma."

mikeovswinton said...

It was better than Father Dick Burns' by a mile. Incidentally, I have a CD of buendische songs from the Hamburg singewettstreiten of the 60's. "My lovely horse" (with the Eurovision B side tune) bears an uncanny melodic resemblence to a song called "Mein kleines boot" (please correct the German at will) sung, I think, by a group of Nerother Wandervoegel.

The Wife said...

Mike, you mean them guys?

They're located not too far away from here - though I couldn't find references "Mein kleines Boot" anywhere.

And, being totally plebeian meself, I'm not too keen on their aristocratic structure.

mikeovswinton said...

Can't work your links, but I'd guess so. They still have half the site of the Burg Waldeck in the Hunsruck, I believe (the other half belongs to a more general bundisher group). There's a thing there in September called the Peter Rohland Singewettstreit that's quite interesting to see.
The song was done by their "Order of Vandals", and you can get it on the Thorofon CD "Ueber meiner Heomat fruehling", which, though not my ususal sort of listening, is worth a spin.
There is an argument, and its a serious one, that the German student movement of the 60s actually arose out of folk song festivals held at the Waldeck in the early 60s.

The Wife said...

Mike, Mike, Mike - as always I'm flattened and flummoxed by your eclectic tastes and interests ....