Sunday, 5 May 2019

He smokes shisha. He asks me how I’m doing.

Italy
Mahmood
Soldi

I always quite liked the Italian entries as a kid. Not as much as ronenj53, of course. "She is so sensual, the way she walks, the lovely way she presetnts the song" he says about 1985's classic, "and the combination between them is great- they give us the impression that the song was born, for both of them". Yep, it's that heartwarming story of a beautiful romance between a 56 year old provincial bank manager and a 22 year old counter assistant. Magic, oh magic!

They bob along for ages doing stuff like this until the first week of May 1997. It was quite a week. Labour swept to power on the Thursday, I DJ'd a disco at the Swindon campus of UWE on the Friday and then our "own" (ie America's) Katrina Leskanich swept us to victory on the Saturday by shining a light to light the way (with a song- fact fans- that Childline had rejected for being too "happy"). So disgusted by this win (and the lamentable competition) were Italy that they gathered up their toys and threw them out of their pram for the best part of fifteen years, and ever since they've been back they appeared to have disappeared up their own parte inferiore.

Sanremo 2019 winner MahmoodYou'd have thought that Italy's stagnating economy, corruption, organised crime, rampant misogyny, and shocking youth unemployment ought to make them think twice, but instead every year they take one look at the Eurovision audience and think "you need to be told".

Take 2017. I honestly don't know what we were thinking. The hysterical Euorvision fandom genuinely believed that a song banging on about the 'superficial lifestyle of westerners' as being based on 'materialism and appearance', sung by a man next to a piss taking dancing gorilla, was a sure fire winner. Snooty singer-songwriter Francesco Gabbani managed to have a pop at 'selfie addiction', 'internet know-it-alls', 'cultural appropriation" and a society 'based on conformity and uniformity'- but fans somehow missed the fact that he appeared to be singing about them, gawped at the dancing gorilla and stuck all their wages on the win, only to be beaten by five other songs, Epic Sax Guy amongst them.

This year's finger wagging comes from a man called Mahmood, whose bid for the dodici punti is "a personal outburst to make people understand that, after having been children, a critical sense develops in us towards parents, life, the way we see things". He was estranged from his father, see, but it's like a posh version of an X Factor sob story - it turns out that said father was in touch with him after the victory in Sanremo: “He congratulated me. He’s glad that I succeeded with this song. He wants us to keep in touch because he wants to take me out to eat sometime”. Namaste. ALÉ!