Thursday, 6 May 2021

I really don't care that you want to bash me

Germany
Jendrik
I Don't Feel Hate

Now. You might be sat alone at your laptop staring at the election results, drinking a can of Breakers from the corner shop and wallowing in self hatred at memories of recent UK entrants, but even Humperdoink, Blue, Josh Dubovnie, Scooch, Gemini, DJ Daz and that bin man off the X Factor haven't done as badly in the past decade as the Germans.

Apart from that year when Lena sung about wearing new underwear (they're blue - I wore them just the other day), they have done really really fucking badly. Of course, they (like us) are one of the "Big Five" and thus help bankroll the whole thing, so they’ve tended not to care given they (like us) get an automatic ticket to the final (in case you've not noticed there are two semi finals on during the week leading up covered on BBC3, which is why you can get three hours in on the Saturday and STILL not see your sweepstake pick).

We tend to toss blame about - Brexit, Blair, Brown, Boris, Cameron, May, Farage, Iraq, political voting, the NHS, the immigrants, the weather, STATINS, Meghan Markle, the parents etc - or alternatively we just xenophobically project idiocy onto foreigners for our scores, but the Germans know all too well that if you always do what you've always done you'll always get what you've always got. And then do it again anyway.

A few years back they almost entered Andreas K├╝mmert - a man who looked like he'd spent a lot of time on his own sofa watching Game of Thrones with his hand down his tracksuit bottoms - until he realised he'd actually won a Song For Germany and panicked, gave the second place finisher a hug, and wandered off the stage, spending the rest of the night abusing his fans on twitter. Unsurprisingly runner up and eventual Eurovision entrant Ann Sophie then promptly went to Vienna and came last.

Their ability to fail at this and not blame others is like an art. There was the year they sent a baffled looking woman called "Levina" to sing a diet-lilt version of Titanium. Songwriter Lindy Robbins had in the past written songs for Anastacia, the Backstreet Boys, Faith Hill, Shaggy, Jason Derulo, David Guetta, Olly Murs, and Demi Lovato, and when asked for her formula explained “I try to write with my heart, not my head”- but in this case she appeared to have written the song with her arse. Levina came second from last.

You get a clear sense of where this year is going when you look at the press blurb for their artist, Jendrik. “Some musicians spend years searching for their signature instrument”, says his broadcaster NDR, “but Jendrik found his in the hands of a little sister who’d received the tiny four-stringed lute as a birthday present. Hogging the gift for himself, Jendrik started to compose songs for his parents and siblings, and this is how his songwriting career began.” I don’t know whether we are supposed to find this cute, or amusing, but so far it just sounds spiteful given at this point he was fourteen and she was three. And is there a more annoying musical instrument than the Ukulele? Isn’t it what you buy your malevolent nephew if you can’t stand your brother-in-law?

Last August he apparently set about creating a “colourful and unconventional laundrette” for his entry’s promo video. “The idea of the laundrette came to mind and I started offering to take local people’s broken machines from them”. What? Who has broken washing machines lying around in their house, unless some weirdo has been around in the night and jammed a ukulele in the mechanism. “Then I toured around Hamburg collecting washing machines and other bits for the video, and then I asked my friends to appear too. The whole thing is self-made. The washing machines were so heavy.”

Maybe this unlikely and increasingly disturbing story is actually true, but instead it’s probably all just a way of building up to the pay off line of “The laundromat video sent the German judges into a spin, and in February 2021 they confirmed Jendrik’s participation in the Eurovision Song Contest”. In any event the song is a horrible, noisy wince of a song that sounds like something that would accompany Neil Buchanan making a smiling voodoo doll on Art Attack and then the doll starts dancing and the children start screaming and there’s Jendrik grinning in the corner with his bloody four-string. On reddit, Lumeria reckons it’s “cute and kind of fun, like a family friendly version of Lily Allen’s Fuck You” but that may not be the glowing endorsement she thinks it is to be honest.

Maybe his little sister was supposed to perform it in the Junior. The monster.

The 5:42 preview video is well beyond the call of duty, but to get a sense of what you’ll automatically see on the Saturday, there’s this “live” performance from the other day that transcends all previous meanings of grating.

Maybe it’s all an elaborate trick. The lyrics include the lines “I don't feel hate, that's the whole point of the song. I guess you need patronization as some kind of validation, you won't cope with the frustration that your random me-fixation is another affirmation that you're just a hateful person who's not really better than me” which manages to make me both feel deeply shitty and utterly vindicated all at the same time.