Thursday, 3 May 2018

I’ll take care of your garden

Portugal
Cláudia Pascoal
O Jardim

My favourite months of the year are December, January, February and March. Why? Because me and Lorna (OK, just me) huddle round the interweb and watch as much of the National Final Season as possible, as country after country treats us to grainy, "buffering" footage of their most talented X-Factor rejects. And let me tell you- this year's Festival da Canção was a fucking corker.

That would of course be true if "corker" was Portuguese for a badly produced, soul destroying marathon of dirge featuring middle aged X Factor rejects ambling their way through "music characterized by mournful tunes and lyrics, often about the sea or the life of the poor, and infused with a characteristic sentiment of resignation, fatefulness and melancholia". Ding a fucking dong!

Cláudia Pascoal
Fifty years they've been in it on and off, and until last year they'd never done better than sixth. But something happened in 2017. On first inspection Salvador Sobral looked like a man in the middle of mid life crisis asleep in Euston station that's missed the last train to Tring on a Tuesday night- but then he opened his mouth and suddenly we were in the middle of a Charlie Chaplin movie and Sobral's velvety voice made us all happy and warm and Cadbury's Caramel.

I mean it did nothing for me- it just sounded like something going on in the corner of a hotel on the Algarve whilst you sip beer and play table football- and worse still I said before the first semi last year that if it was Lisbon 2018, I would eat my beach towels. The tradition is that the host nation enters something that absolutely won't win and I can confirm that this year Portugal are entering something that absolutely wont win.

I'll tell you what's a great song. "Colourblind". You know, by Darius Danesh. What a bloody melody that is! "Nobody told me it feels so good, Nobody said you would be so beautiful, Nobody warned me about your smile, You're the light, You're the light, When i close my eyes, Im colourbliiiiiiiiiiiind"

I mention Darius "platinum-selling singer-songwriter, West End stage actor, operatic baritone, author, ambassador for The Prince's Trust" (and enthusiastic wikipedia entry editor) Danesh only because just like this year's Portuguese artist Claudia Pascoal, he also came third in Pop Idol.

Third in Pop Idol. What an accolade. I'm not convinced that Portugal (or indeed any civilised nation) has the same tradition of doing arse gags to schoolchildren in provincial theatres across the country at Christmas, but if they do coming third in Pop Idol is a surefire way to get a season in the theatre royal Lisbon. So no wonder she's entered Eurovision, if only so she can do arse gags to eurovision fans in provincial theatres around Europe all summer.