Saturday, 1 May 2021

I see your smiley face that makes me wanna cry

The wrong place

In normal circumstances we’d be in Belarus next, but things have gone a bit wrong in Lukashenko’s little dictatorship this year. Belarussian boomer-pop sensation Galasy ZMesta popped up in February with a back catalogue of problematic songs about women and attempted to enter a song called “I’ll teach you” that included the lyrics “I'll make you dance to the tune, I'll make you rise to the bait, I'll make you walk along the line, you'll be satisfied and happy with everything".

We’ve been here before of course. Armenia changed the title of “Don’t Deny” in 2015 to “Face the Shadow” after neighbouring countries Azerbaijan and Turkey claimed the lyrics were about their denial of the Armenian genocide. And Georgia was asked to change the lyrics to “We Don’t Wanna Put In” in 2009 due to the suspicion that “put in” was a reference to the Russian leader, Vladimir Putin, but the country’s public service broadcaster refused and withdrew.

Alex Tracer from reddit reckons “I’ll teach you” is just sarcasm and in fact it the song is about "an entity" that “lures people to its side” by the promise of “freedom and material stuff like gadgets”. He goes on:

"And the wording that is used in the text means that such promises of freedom is just a bait and a way to manipulate people. So the message of the song is do not look for freedom, do not do new things, do not be modern, stick to your history and tradition" and "if you don't then you will be exploited. And yes, that bad entity that lures people by gadgets and material things is a reference to Europe (and Democracy in general)”

That might not be the defence of the song that Alex thinks it is, but either way the EBU were having none of that and said “try again”. Lukashenko then intervenes and says “We’ll make another song… you see that this is all politicized”, and then three days later said songs leaks and is revealed to be about how democratic protesters (in the song described as” bunnies”) are too young and stupid, should listen to the government, and that Svetlana (the opposition leader against Lukashenko, in the song being described as the “fox”) should be locked up.

See you next year Alexander!

Any way I had a terrible dream last night. Charleroi 2022. Jean Claude Van Damme is hosting with a script in rhyming triplets. The venue puts mayo in the beer. Every song is a ballad. Technotronic do "Pump up the Jam" in the interval act dressed as that statue of the boy taking a piss whilst three English fans sing along with the words to "Pump up the Bitter" (brew it brew it) instead. It's worse than that year Ireland held it in a cowshed. It's Belgium. The Aldershot of Europe.

In 2009 Belgium entered an Elvis Presley impersonator that claimed that he invented being Elvis Presley before Elvis Presley and that Elvis Presley was stealing his soul even though he’s dead. With a Jive Bunny video. In 2010 we had to sit through a kind of low rent Marc Cohn doing a low rent Walking in Memphis, 2011 saw it entering some smug acapella beatbox with sideburns, and in 2012 they sent a warbling child wittering on about burglary.

In 2013 they sent a man to sing a song called "Love Kills" in a strong Belgian accent, resulting in the whole of Europe hearing Roberta Bellarosa singing "Love keels, over and over", over and over again.

In 2014 they sent Paul Potts lookalike Axel Hirsoux singing about his actual mommy, in 2015 they ripped off Adam Rickett's "I breathe again" and robbed it of any melody, in 2016 we got eleven year old Laura "Tesco" Tesoro doing a Tesco Value version of Fleur's Sax (itself a Tesco Value version of Uptown Funk) in 2017 a terrified woman called Blanche had a three minute panic attack in an inappropriate octave all alone in the danger zone (or “Kyiv”, as it’s better known), in 2018 a woman called Sennek rhymed station, combination, imagination, and sensations into the sort of thing you don't want to hear being played in the lobby of a hotel you can't afford, and then in 2019 we got a boy called Eliot who said his dismal song was a "call to youth to improve the state of the world and mobilize for peace - the awakening must be collective but it needs a trigger". Sadly as it turned out "Wake up" was more of a "trigger" to pop to the toilet and take a long streak of piss, and he went home after semi-final one.

So anyway last year Belgium’s biggest indie band of the 90s Hooverphonic (best UK Charts placing: 91) provided the entry, largely thanks to their lead singer Luka Cruysberghs. 

"This is such a great opportunity”, she said, adding that “Eurovision reminds me of warm memories from the past when I watched the whole family, although I often had to go to sleep for the scoring". 

But then it got cancelled and the EBU asked everyone to chuck in a line of “Love Shine a Light” for the replacement show and they became the only country to say no, with bassist Alex Callier snootily adding:

"These are difficult times. I want to do everything I can to help people. Do I help people with this? I think I help people by making beautiful music, by doing other things”.

Luka then gets a truck of abuse on social media over it all, falls out with the lads in the band, they then sack her over Zoom in February, remember they are still under contract to do this Eurovision thing, and decide to get 2000s era lead singer Geike Arnaert back in - chucking the EBU an album track about a painful break up with lyrics like “I took you to my messy place but it felt as if we were in a different space.”

Another streak of piss on the Tuesday night, then. Does anyone want anything from the fridge while I’m up?