Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Curtains down, I’m laughing at the trial

Under The Ladder

You are so sexy BOM. Gonna make me crazy BOM. We’re gonna do the BOM BOM. Ain’t that amazing BOM.

Those were the days. In the past we've had all sorts of amusing throw away nonsense (BOM), but the other year Ukraine went all heavy; their entry recounted Stalin’s deportation of Crimean Tatars from their native Crimea. Jamala opened with these cheerful lines: “When strangers are coming, they come to your house; they kill you all inside [and say] ‘We’re not guilty, not guilty’.

Despite the fact that it didn't appear to have a tune, a powerful performance from Ukrainian Eurovision veteran Jamala fused with a truck of anti-Russian sentiment from across Europe meant BOM it won and last year BOM we were in Kyiv (not Kiev you uncultured oaf) for the festival of twaddle.

I don't actually believe that countries deliberately "throw" Eurovision because of the cost- but when they do win, it's quite the migraine. Denmark's "put them on an Island" effort in 2014 managed to cost them over $60m. After Norway spent $40m in 2010, NDR had to flog their rights to the World Cup to balance the books. And the Azerbis had to shell out the best part of $80m in 2012 by nicking the money from a fund that was meant to fix the country’s waterworks. Eurovision- it don't come cheap.

And it don't come easy. The organising committee resigned en mass in February. Ticket sales were a farcical ordeal. One of the main Kyiv airports closed for the weekend. There were questions about whether public tenders were properly offered, or offered at all, for the construction of the sound stage and the Eurovision village. And don't get me started again on the Russian withdrawal.

But don't mistake me, my love runs deeps. Despite all of the above, it happened. And for God's sake, to read the fan blogs you'd think the contest literally happened in the middle of an actual war zone. The lazy racism we saw embodied in the constant whining about the organisation and preparedness of a country whose GDP per capita is a twentieth (christ) of our own really ought to stop. It was great actually. There were flights, and beer stalls, and songs, and a TV programme. Three, actually. We didn't whine like this when it was held in a cow shed in Ireland.

This year then we're back to "normal", which for Ukraine means a clutch of throwaway nonsense- he's on top of a piano that's on fire, wearing daft contact lenses, terrible diction, etc. MELOVIN ("a combination of the holiday Halloween and the last name of the British fashion designer Alexander McQueen") sounds like something you treat sores with and the song is a sort of Eastern European top 40 pop rock thing that you might hear on Kyiv FM.

Like I said, I don't think anyone sets out to throw the contest, but listening to "Under the Ladder" you have to think that the Ukrainian televoters at least had one eye on funding some actual TV programmes next year. But I get it. "This year, as never before, Ukraine should be represented by strong-willed people who achieve their goals and dreams. I am fighting for our dream and independence, as well as our country". BOM!