Friday, 26 April 2019

I'm in the mirror, so freaking bitter


Shipwrecks resting in the sea. Oil floating on the water. Plants and soil overlaid with a crust of pain. No, these aren't lyrics - they're FACTS, FACT fans. Welcome to Azerbaijan - the most polluted country in the world.

Azerbaijan? Well given the Aussies are in these days the pressure is sort of off, but their presence at the contest still means that in hundreds of households around the UK, little Englanders start slurring "where", almost all of them using the map of Europe in their Thomas Cook brochure - momentarily forgetting that the UK itself is about as comfortable in Europe as Arlene Foster at G.A.Y (or, indeed, a Eurovision house party).

They love Eurovision in Azerbaijan. For a start they're so into it that they play a compilation of their past entries on the escalators and platforms of the Baku Metro. If we played Daz Sampson and Gemini on the Tube we'd have nine suicides an hour, an RMT strike and George Galloway as Mayor.

In fact they love it so much that not only have they been involved in countless vote rigging scandals (what is that Kissinger quote about student politics) they also blew a whopping £600 million hosting in 2012, despite the fact that it failed to pull off the intended legitimisation of the country - largely because everyone still thinks that the place is a rotten dictatorship, chock full of human rights abuses and a gap between rich and poor wider than the Caspian Sea.

This year they've expressed that love by putting their hands in their stuffed pockets, filling up a suitcase of cash and calling up Symphonix International, who've written and produced all sorts of Eurovision bangers in recent years for the likes of Bulgaria, Austria, Macedonia and now Azerbaijan. Their artist is Ã‡ingiz Mustafayev, a man who first appeared as a thirteen year old pick up artist mispronouncing Enrique's Hero on Azerbi Idol, then popped up again on their Eurovision selection show in 2011. At the time he came across like Darius Danesh booked to do a wedding you didn't want to go to, but now he's lost the pony tail, grown a little beard, plunged himself into a fish tank (so he can "take his top off and look like a strong hererosexual male" or "take his top off", depending on which side of Europe you're from) and is singing "Truth"... and it's brilliant.

It's really brilliant. It's better than that Gino Ginelli Ice Cream they used to have with bits of fudge in. It's sunshine, lollipops and rainbows - everything that's wonderful is what I feel when we're together. Brighter than a lucky penny, when you're near the rain just disappears, dear and I feel so fine. Just to know that you are mine.

It's a slice of bouncy, moody, punchy contemporary pop that manages the extraordinary feat of combining sounding Azerbi whilst also sounding appealing. It makes me want to dance, and sing, and kiss pigeons, and help the aged, and whistle, and shine a light to light the way. Chingiz is great, it's got a proper earwormy hook, and even the lyrics are brilliant. "And when the ghost starts screaming, right when they resonate, hear my heart confess". Yeah! RESONATE!