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 had...well...style. 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 song...but...um...a 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.