The coming Saturday (23rd May) sees the 60th Eurovision Song Contest, this year hosted by Austria. The reason for the contest was to try to bring together the war ravaged countries of Europe and from very humble beginnings the live televised event now boasts a worldwide audience of up to 600 million viewers. Many world famous artists have taken part in the competition: Lulu, Sandie Shaw, Cliff Richard, The Shadows and Olivia Newton-John amongst others have represented the UK as well as Abba, Celine Dion and Julio Inglesias for Sweden, Switzerland and Spain respectively. Up until 1990, the United Kingdom had a respectable record and was rarely out of the top 3 but since then, with the exception of Katrina and the Waves’ entry in 1997, it’s been a bit of a struggle. This has been reflected in the UK’s choice of representative, either a has-been, a never-was or a never-likely-to-be.
Watching the event was a must for my household in the late 60s through to the early eighties, especially the awarding of points. For an event that was meant to be a way to bring countries together, it was evident by the voting process at least that it was a means of rewarding your friends and publicly snubbing your enemies, irrespective of the merits of their respective entries. I’ve not watched it in ages but, given recent winners and contestants, it seems to be more of a freak show than a song contest. For all its faults though, the Eurovision Song Contest was responsible for bringing Abba to the attention of the world, something for which I’m very thankful.
Had this week’s covers from Sweden and Germany been entered in the Eurovision Song Contest how would they have fared? Would it be “douze points” or the dreaded “null point”? You decide.
Until next time, bing-a-bong and toodle pip!