Thursday, 8 May 2014

Why Austria needs to win Eurovision

My back hurts today. I wonder if it's because I've done too many stretches. I went running before lunch and the whole of my lower back went into spasm. What's that all that about?

I've spent the day orchestrating Brass. It's mind-numbing work, which I have to do at speed to get my mind to a stage where I can focus on Invisible Voices. The process of orchestration for me is a series of stages, the first of which is to get everything splurged onto the page. That's the process which is the most tiring. Sometimes you get on a roll, and can't get the notes down quickly enough. Other times I realise I'm just marking the bars with any old rubbish.

After this stage, things become a great deal more refreshing as everything gets finessed, and slowly comes into focus. The third stage is to put the piece away, ideally for as long as possible to gain a bit of objectivity, because the fourth stage is thinning things down. Making sure there isn't a single bar which isn't necessary;  not a single note which is in conflict with any other. The earlier you do stages one to three, the better the work becomes in the long run. And Brass needs to be perfect.

It was the second semi-final of Eurovision tonight and I was looking forward to it all day. Jem came over to watch it with us and we looked very carefully to see if we could see Brother Edward and Sascha there in the actual audience in Copenhagen.

The stand out performance was plainly Austria, which is being performed by a bearded trans-woman with a fabulous look and a devastatingly beautiful voice.

I think it would be surprising if she didn't win. Russia, Ukraine and Belarus are all trying to schedule advert breaks to coincide with her performance, because the promotion of a trans-person goes against everything their arcane laws stand for. The question, of course, becomes, would one be allowed to vote for a trans-performer in Russia, because surely voting for one is tantamount to promoting one?  Will police track down all the names of people who voted for Austria and try to arrest them I wonder?

Never underestimate the power of Eurovision. Just as you thought it was becoming an out-dated camp-fest, it becomes a political hot potato, and the battle lines this year have been well-and-truly drawn.

I'd go as far as to say that Austria NEEDS to win this competition; not just because it's a great song, sung by a country which has never won before, but because the win would send an incredibly strong message to Eastern European countries who ought to be dragged into the 21st Century. And be under no illusion, countries like Russia and the Ukraine set great store by their performance at Eurovision. When the iron curtain existed, the competition was seen as a shining example of the unified, free West and Russia watched on with great envy. If Austria wins, Russia recoils.

So even if you don't watch the show itself, I do suggest you vote. This is another one of those landmark events where, if Austria wins, you'll always remember where you were!

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