Sunday, 13 May 2007


Well the deadline for GCSE coursework has passed and it has all been marked and posted. Some students leave at the end of this week, some at the end of next reducing my workload considerably.

Last night I introduced Sarah to the concept of the Eurovision Song Contest. There are three distinct types of act, Europop, national folk music or weird.
You have to remember not to take the whole thing too seriously. Of all the acts my favourite was Lithuania (Love or Leave by 4Fun) while Sarah preferred the Latvian entry (Bonapart IV by Questa Notte). There were some very strange sights including a man dressed as a women in silver bodysuit with a large star on his head, a man wearing pink running circuits around the stage while singing, a song that each verse was sung in a different language to try and get votes from all the countries and, who can forget, a group pretending to be flight attendants.
The commentary is also well worth listening to as Terry Wogan gets more and more critical and comical about the acts as time goes by. His descriptions of the French entry were hilarious. Just when you think that the evening can't get anymore hilarious the voting starts. All of the old friendships and rivals are displayed for the world to see. So The Former Yugoslav Republic (FYR) of Serbia got max mum points from FYR of Bosnia, FYR Macedonia, FYR Slovenia, FYR Montenegro and FYR Croatia as well as countries nearby such as Hungary, Austria and Switzerland. There is also a Scandinavia voting block (Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Iceland), the Baltic voting block (Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia), the Russian voting block (Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Armenia, Georgia). There are also some old hatreds, Greece never votes for bitter rivals Turkey etc. The whole geopolitics or the area are exposed by a singing contest!

The UK and Ireland not being in any particular voting block did badly with the UK coming 23rd and Ireland 24th. Sadly as UK are one of the big 4 TV markets they automatically qualify and do not need to go through the semi finals. The rest of Western Europe did badly as well. Finland came 17th, Sweden came 18th, Germany came 19th, Spain came 20th and France came 22nd. This also does not take into account that Iceland, Denmark, Switzerland, Holland, Portugal, Norway, Andorra, Belgium and Austria were eliminated at the semi-finals. The best way to look at it is to thank Malta for their 12 points without which we would have done worse.

So to win next year we need to find a female singer who was migrated from Serbia to the UK as next years entry. Half the song needs to be in Serbian and the other half English. This means that all of the old Yugoslav block of votes will give us some votes and we will finish mid-table. About the best we can every hope for. We could also follow the Italian example when a few years back Italy came in a terrible position with a song and performance by one of their most treasured singer-songwriters, Enrico Ruggeri so they took their ball and well home, refusing to play with Eurovision any more. They accused their fellow broadcasters of catering to the masses' lack of musical sophistication and of politicized voting.

It could be argues that countries that are close by have the same musical tastes and culture and thus score their neighbours highly but the variety of acts preformed by countries means that this argument does not really hold true.

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