Ding-a-Dong, Bing-Bong-Bing, Waterloo, Puppet on a String – Those Were the Days!

Well. It’s over for another year. Splendid, camp, OTT and as politically relevant as Boris Johnson’s comments about the EU (or anything else he says). On Saturday night my favourite pointless cheese-fest ‘The Eurovision Song Contest’ hit us once again with it’s multicultural rhythm stick.

Except there was, rather like the contents of a commercial cheeseburger, a distinct lack of real cheese. Despite my retro blog title, yet again this year there were precious few of the Ding-Along-A-Dings, Bim-Bom-Bams and mountain village cow herding anthems I have come to love, and all of which seem to belong belong to a gentler, more naive Eurovision before mobile phones, facebook, instagram and everyone over-dosing on coffee 24/7.

Out with the old...
Out with the old…

Of course, I had a lovely time with my smashing friends Katy, Bobby, Nigel and Plastic Peter, who always turn up dressed to the nines. Peter this year surpassed himself and came – in a fitting tribute to the host country – as an Ikea superstore, complete with car park and unfeasably long queue for the hotdogs. Also two other friends Frankie and Imogen joined, though to be honest they are a bit more last night of the proms than Eurovision and were a bit confused by the whole event. I really did have to insist on them calming down when they started to sing Land Of Hope and Glory over the top of the British entry.

As ever we enjoyed a massive repast of food and beverages from the host nation. This meant, of course, a jaunt to my local deli as well as massive trip to the real Ikea to stock up on meatballs, crisp-bread, herrings and, of course, Swedish beer and Snapps. I’m still recovering from the hangover and I ended up buying tea-lights again. I have 17 packets of these things. Why do I do it? I don’t even like them. I also have a funny feeling one of my guests decided they didn’t much fancy the herring in mustard sauce much and hid it somewhere in the sitting room as there is a suspiciously fishy smell every time I go in there.

But we all had a ball and, as ever, extracted a great deal of the Michael from every country mercilessly, including our own.

But (and it is a BIG BUT worthy of Megan Traynor who likes to talk about hers a lot) it was all a bit too po-faced for me.

...in with the new. No, no dear, more pain, more pain. Can you cry?
…in with the new. “No, no dear. More pain, more anguish. Can you cry and sing at the same time?”

There was a lot more ‘serious subject matter’ than I have come to expect. What happened to the pneumatic blondes suggestively washing their woollens? What happened to the odd loosely strung traditional instruments that blended so badly with oompah bands and synthesiser backing tracks? What happened to the slightly overweight ladies in traditional dress dancing in a circle? Now it all seems to be intense young men and skinny girls in diaphanous dresses (just the girls this year) singing about bullying, abuse, deportation and rampant Soviet imperialism. Non political of course.

In fact, in a lot of ways it was a year of firsts. The Austrian act sang in French, the Italians sang in English, the Spanish sang in English… it was like a translator software cock-up at the United Nations. Here’s another thing, what was with the FRENCH. The FRENCH sung part of their song IN ENGLISH? The FRENCH! What the Mary Hopkin is going on?

Sadly, there were not even any men in dresses with beards to cheer us up (unless you were watching at your local rugby club of course, they love it)

And now, for my finale. Mesdames et Messieurs, we need to exorcise get our pain and despair out for a start. Jo and Jake. Bless you. You never had a chance. Despite a decent performance and your youthful exuberance (they look about 12) you were doomed from the moment you showed your perfect teeth. “You’re not alone, we’re in this together…” Please. Clearly we are when it comes to Eurovision. We are totally alone it seems in not taking it seriously, not having a cats chance in Hades of winning and in putting forward songs that, frankly, are just a bit trivial. We need to learn from this years triumphant and gloomy winners, the Ukraine. What I want for us next year is a serious female or male, or even a duet (although that starts to look a little frivolous and Bucks Fizzy). They must look very sad and sing a sombre song, with very little in the way of a melody, a chorus or a hook, reflecting the ongoing problems of the day. Maybe sexism in the workplace, the NHS funding defecit or possibly the nationwide child obesity crisis. Maybe we might get more than “deux points- then.”

Oh, and I know none of this has anything to do with gardens but, to be honest, I ignored mine this weekend. Don’t be like me. Do some gardening. The weather is getting there so get out there with everyone else. You’re Not Alone.    See Ya.   Holly.



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