Saturday, 18 May 2013

Euphoria

It is, apparently, Rwanda Day, and some kind of mega-celebration is happening at the curiously-named Troxy in Limehouse. I'm not altogether sure what beef we have with Rwanda these days, but police are obviously expecting pretty major demonstrations, because you can't move for panda vans and men in high viz jackets waking around with sniffer dogs. 

Of course, far more important than Rwanda Day is today's Eurovision Song Contest, and I'm currently hot-footing it across London to our house (seemingly with a shedload of camp men in fancy dress) for our annual party, where I expect the top five countries to be Russia, Denmark, Azerbaijan, Sweden and the Ukraine.  Obviously I'd like Holland to win, primarily for being brave enough to enter a genuinely moving song, but I somehow can't see that happening. 

Brother Edward is actually there, in Malmo, and called me from an Internet cafe to say that the Danes were rather arrogantly assuming that victory was already theirs. Their song ticks all the right boxes, but does so in a rather clinical, almost cynical manner. I hope they come second.

Bonnie Tyler, for all her loveliness, has a song which lacks punch and will come 16th I should think. It struck me, whilst watching the semi-finals, that the UK is actually far too arrogant to win the competition.  What we systematically fail to realise is that it is not enough to enter a well-known singer barking her way through a semi-decent song, whilst a group of backing vocalists sway to Arlene Phillips' uninspired and tired old 'ography. A Eurovision song needs spectacle. To quote the song from Gypsy, "you gotta get a gimmick." However much you might want Eurovision to be "relevant" and "cool," it's not and it never will be. It's a big old, glitzy, escapist camp-fest. To excel you need to invest in the full package; a great (and utterly instant) song, a great vocalist and, most crucially, a unique gimmick. I'm talking shadow puppets, mini ice-rinks or a floor covered in 16,000 carnations. Bonnie standing in front of a pretend rock band of session singers won't cut it. People will walk away from this competition remembering the giant who brought the Ukraine's singer onto the stage, or the man hanging upside down in a perspex box!  
 
Eurovision doesn't need to be relevant because it has it's very own genre; one which most European countries understand - primarily because they wrote the rule book. The UK and France will never win if we refuse to adhere to everyone else's standards. To win, like in all art forms, you need to respect (and love) the genre, which is why Ben Elton will never write a decent musical. Trying to make Eurovision cool is like adding a rock beat to Mozart. It's unnecessary and ultimately futile. Its uncoolness makes it cool. The winning Eurovision Song is perfection within this crazy world and until we learn this fact, we'll continue to enter turkeys.

I think I just saw a corpse at Bank Station. The sight has troubled me. One of the platforms had been sealed off, and as I walked past, I saw a young man, holding a small bag, lying absolutely motionless on the floor on his side. What troubled me most was the fact that no-one was tending to him. An LU woman was standing above him saying "move along, please, there's nothing to see here..." If he wasn't already dead, why was no one trying to revive him, and if he didn't need reviving, why had the entire platform been closed off? 

I found the sight so distressing that I got on the wrong tube and headed south instead of north. I was in Kennington before I realised my mistake, and had added at least 20 minutes to my journey, making me in danger of arriving late to my own party! I'm really angry with myself, but am in Highgate now, so all I can do is wish you all a very camp and enjoyable evening. And if you're not watching Eurovision, why aren't you?

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