Friday, 3 May 2019

Universal obfuscation

Iceland
Hatari
Hatrið mun sigra

I once went to a whole academic conference about Eurovision. A day of papers and panel discussions and Paddy O'Connell spouting pseudo-academic twaddle like how the song contest has "provided a platform for the creation of national and European identities", how the event "has embraced and celebrated diversity by showcasing minority communities" and how it has been used as a "nation branding tool by countries such as Estonia and Ukraine". And I got an EBU biro.

I was sat at the back thinking that the audience mainly appeared to be a Segway of saddos who'd given up their day to come and gawp at library footage and moan at the man from the BBC about our entry, until I went to the toilet, took a good hard look at myself and realised that I was just a saddo that had given up his day to come and gawp at library footage and moan at the man from the BBC about our entry. The bastards.

Hatari, winner 'Söngvakeppnin 2019'Anyway on the day one of the more exciting sessions was from a nervous woman that works for the EBU on audience research, who revealed that on the night of the final the country with the highest audience share hits 99%. Christ on a bike - 99% people that are in are watching the Eurovision in Iceland. Can you imagine? I mean sure that's still only about 130 people but still. Viva viva! We are the 99%!

For a country so small, their entries are delightfully eclectic - one year you get schlager that sounds like the theme to a daytime game show, the next you'll get 4 four women in PVC writhing around on stage with a man doing shit robot dance, and one year they sent a sort of female Icelandic Sacha Baron Cohen doing a song about how lucky Icelanders were that she was born in Iceland and that she was going to win the contest, because she was better than all the other entrants. It's not a gambit that paid off - she came 16th in her semi and then backstage punched her boyfriend, threatened to jump from a bridge, and started spitting at the journalists.

It started to dawn on the press pack that she may not have been in character any more when she started yelling "ungrateful bastards! You vote some ugly people from Finland that don't even have real make-up artists, and you don't vote for me because I'm not a slut from Holland and I'm not an ugly, fucking, old bitch from Sweden". She then points at a random journalist, and adds "Your television station is telling everybody I hated Greece and I said that they're ugly and I never said it and you are a slut and I hate you! I will sue you, and I will sue the competition, and you will all go to jail!".

Anyway this year we've got HATARI (translated as Hater) - a three-piece "award-winning industrial BDSM anti-capitalst anti-establishment techno-dystopian homo-erotic bondage sado-maso demonic Icepop performance art group" that aims to "take the lid off the relentless, unfolding scam that is everyday life". Oh good grief. "We cannot change things, but we can unveil the anomie of neoliberal society, the pointlessness of every minute spent in the futile race, and the low price for which man now sells himself ever more blatantly. We can scream at our own impotence, scream at our collective sleepwalk through routine, and implore our audience to unite, shoulder to shoulder, and dance. Hatari represent a considered reflection on hope and hopelessness, power and repression, of image, individualism, despotism, exposing the contradictions that arise when everyone is embedded within the same system and struggling to fight against it. We are Hatari. We are all Hatari"

It's every bit as self-indulgent as it sounds, and certainly won't be scooping the 12 points that we gave to "Nei eda já" in 1992, which as far as I'm concerned is much more subversive than these whining, childish arseholes and also features the best key change of all time in any song ever.