It’s that time again, when the topic of Europe is in everyone’s minds.
There’s political shenanigans and Machevelian manouvering aplenty as our near-neighbours’ national stereotypes and dubious affiliations are called into play in an attempt to gain our votes. But enough of the EU referendum - instead, in the run-up to Eurovision this Saturday, let’s enjoy some of the great musical moments of the past 60 years.
In times of yore, Eurovision had a rule insisting that contestants sang in the language native to the country they were representing. Which was a bit of an unfair advantage for English-speaking nations. However, Massiel got around this for Spain in 1968 with their ‘La La La’ - that’s the title. And, pretty much, the lyrics.
Ah, there was a time when Royaume-Uni got more than nil points - when we had talented songwriters and bouncy, catchy tunes. Oh, and gimmicks. Like that time when the Bucks Fizz boys whipped the skirts off Cheryl Baker and The Other One. Different times. In the words of Spinal Tap, what’s wrong with being sexy?
But Eurovision is all about the ladies. We all know about the 2014 triumph of Austria’s bearded housefrau superstar Conchita Wurst, but tend to forget about Buranovskiye Babushki - Russia’s troupe of singing grandmothers and their highly danceable 2012 tune ‘Party For Everybody’ which finished second. With any money raised going towards rebuilding their church, it’s one of those rare, heart-warming stories.
Another tune to warm the cockles was the singing milkmaids who formed Poland’s largely forgettable entry from 2014… sorry, what was that you were saying?
Eurovision is traditionally hosted by the previous year’s winners. It also costs a fortune to put on. Just ask seven-time winners Ireland. So sometimes it seems that the best bet is to pen a surefire losing hit. How about a death-metal gruntfest by a bunch of guys clad like extras from ‘Dungeons and Dragons: the Movie’. That’s sure to lose, right?
This year the UK has a catchy enough tune performed by kids’ TV presenters-in-waiting, Joe and Jake. However, they’ll face stiff competition from a naked Belarusian flanked by his army of wolves.
In the words of Eurovision presenting legend Terry Wogan: “Hold on. Be strong. Just cling to the wreckage. It will be over soon.”