Thursday, 26 April 2018

I wouldn't strike you off the map

Yianna Terzi
Oniro Mou

We all have a hobby. Some of us like painting, or dancing or archery. Some of us are into flashmobbing, or the Wombles. Some of us follow the Hothouse Flowers around on tour. Some people like taking off their shirt and banging their head. All of these people are, of course, massive losers who need to GET A LIFE.

I on the other hand am different. I live life to the full, with conviction and purpose. See, when I'm not tending to my collection of MP3s of Eurovision entries over the years, or my extensive collection of sung local radio Jingles through the ages, I document, collect and catalogue video clips of Eurovision interval acts- ready to hand down to the next generation of Dickinsons.

There's 1984's "The Art of Drawing" where a picture moves because some dancers move it, like a Tony Hart VT only stretched over 15 miserable minutes and done in Luxemburg. There's 1989's William Tell overture when some tedious archery stunt goes wrong. In 2010 they made me stand up so we could "flashmob" to a Madcon album track, although most of our row "fuckedoff" to the bar instead.

When we hosted in 1975, making good use of the things that we found, we booked the bloody Wombles to fill the gap- and then in 1988 the Irish were so broke having won every year for what felt like a decade, they just stuck on a clip of the Hothouse Flowers singing in various locations in Europe- but given they were singing their hit "Don't go" it didn't quite deliver the tourist boost the countries had all hoped for.

Most years though we don't get high octane post-apocolypotic stomp, or the launch of a global dance phenonenon, or even the President's son in law doing an eight minute nationalistic rock number- we get searingly dreary local people from what's left of their publicly funded arts sector wailing interpretative twaddle about their nation's history and culture whilst Europe nips back to the kitchen to fill up the Doritos ready for the scoreathon. Most years- especially now they have to do three of them to cover the semis- the interval acts are rubbish.

So imagine my surprise when it was revealed that instead of entering what they usually enter- an Ouzo soaked slice of hellenic stilleto-pop to intersperse amongst the balkan ballads, ERT have effectively entered what amounts to an interminable interval act. "The song tells a special story", warbles the press blurb. "Being away from her home country, Yianna felt the need to write a tribute song to express her gratitude and admiration- an imaginary dialogue between Greece and its people". Good grief. I mean I feel all sort of needs that last three minutes when I'm away from home too but a) I try not to involve other people in them and b) I don't write waily meandering folk songs that don't even have a proper middle eight about them.

Yianna Terzi
I suppose it's the economy, stupid. In 2010 the Greeks were so skint they handed the whole business of song picking to Universal Music Europe, and then stuck their National Final in the Hellenic equivalent of Westfield, with an tiny audience of customers bored queuing in TK Maxx. Look closely and you won't even see any proper speakers- the sound was piped through the shopping centre PA system as she mimed in the dark.

Yet despite this tawdry tale of euro-austerity, "Aphrodisiac" was completely brilliant and the kind of song that could only exist in Eurovision- upbeat, modern, melodic, punchy, quintessentially Greek bouzouki pop. That's how you do austerity. You rhyme "disiac" with "maniac". What you don't do is disqualify 2 entries from your National Final for not being Greek enough, chuck another two out because they can't afford the 20k deposit and leave yourself with what sounds like a wounded vole crying for help in a branch of Dolcis accompanied by the music they pipe into the toilets at Athens airport (departure side).

Here's a betting tip for you. This won't even get full marks from Cyprus. Opa!