Monday, March 14, 2005
I'm out of here, get me a celebrity
I have been giving much thought lately to the subject of euroscepticism in Britain. I've come to the conclusion that a major cause is a factor ignored by the political pundits. It is that many British people, especially younger people, regard Europe as somewhere rather naff.
Mention Europe to the chattering classes and they think of the Tuscan hills. Mention Europe to many young people and they think of the Cheeky Girls. This view of Europe was captured expertly in the Fast Show's pastiche of a Mediterranean TV station, Chanel 9 ("Buono estente!").
These prejudices will be reinforced as another edition of the Eurovision Song Contest comes round. The final (in Kiev on 19th and 21st May) must now be held on two nights to accommodate a record 40 entrants.
Just as Western Europe was getting bored with this contest and began to turn it into an irony-fest, the Berlin Wall came down and all the former communist countries clamoured to take part. One suspects this was not quite what Mikhail Gorbachev had in mind. Last night, for example, the people of Hungary exercised their new democratic rights by choosing their country's Eurovision entrant from twelve dismal hopefuls.
In Britain, one senses that, since the nul points awarded to our embarrassing entry Jemini in 2003, we've finally given up. This view is confirmed by a look at the recent heats to determine this year's British entry.
The winner is some nonentity called Javine with a song called Touch My Fire, a strange melange of R&B-lite and Arabic-sounding rhythms, which sounds like a rejected idea for one of Geri Halliwell's B-sides. The lyrics are banal beyond belief. Read them and weep.
Javine, however, is more than just a permatanned face. Following her victory, she offered this wisdom:
"Music can be what ever you want it to be and to see all these different countries coming together on one night and hearing all their different influences is a great experience. Ultimately one country will win which brings intensity to the whole show. For my performance I will be singing and dancing to the best of my ability, I will be taking the audience on a fantastic ride!"What is she on about? When I watch Eurovision, I expect an orgy of kitsch, not a profound statement on the human condition.
The only surprise of the British heats was that Javine narrowly beat the favourite Katie Price into second place. Price is better known as 'Jordan', a topless model with artificially enhanced assets who was last seen stranded in the Australian jungle in the tacky 'reality TV' show I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here. A pity Jordan lost, since her singing voice sounds like a Spice Girl on helium.
Despite this, will I still waste another evening watching the Eurovision finals and wallowing in schlock? You bet.