Saturday , 20 July 2019

Shaky Bridges – The Eurovision Song Contest

Eurovision 2015
Eurovision 2015

I have never understood the attraction of The Eurovision Song Contest.

It’s not just the cheesy, bland, instantly forgettable songs, sang by cheaply dressed bad novelty acts, or third rate has-beens who all sound terrible even when auto-tuned on a show that is a “reality TV show” on acid, or my lifelong loathing of the band ABBA.

My musical tastes are diametrically opposed to what Eurovision offers. I’m an indie rock chick at heart, who also loves late 1960’s/early 1970’s rock, as well as a diverse mix of film scores, melodic electronica, old style rhythm and blues, soul, classical music and tunes that are generally weird and often discordant.

However, my dislike of the contest goes much deeper. When I was first exposed to it, it put-me off with its camp shallowness and then seeing the skirts being ripped off the two female singers during Bucks Fizz’s song, I remember thinking “ummm… okay… that’s not very nice!”, at that time, I was just four years old.

Ever since I have ignored it as best I can, and I have done a pretty good job of doing so for the past thirty-four years, though it’s virtually impossible to completely avoid it if you live on this continent.

But I have always been struck with how demeaning much of what I have seen, heard and read about it has been, and objectifying of women back in 1981, something which still seems to be present today in it.

It can at times be rather politicised and sometimes ethnically divisive with such things as block voting being organised between various competing nations which of course suggests that fairness in the voting has gone out the window.

I suspect that this may be because, as my research has flagged-up that the Eurovision voting systems – or in actual fact, various systems have been so ridiculously convoluted that you’d probably need a degree in quantum mechanics to understand them.

Whenever I have caught snippets of Eurovision, I have been repulsed by the bitchy nature of it, such as the way that people from minorities, or the various countries tend to be stereotypically represented. As well as various hosting states cracking down on some of the audiences and performers that attend the actual contest, to such things as the cost of hosting the event has been known to bankrupt the host city – if not the nation itself.

The cost of putting on the show in recent years vary wildly from estimates of hundreds of thousands of pounds, to over £500 million spent by Azerbaijan IN 2013 to host the event. Azerbaijan, is a poor country, as well as one of a number of the other nations competing that have dreadful human rights records, Russia being another with its stance against LGBTI+ Rights and of course, it’s current war with Ukraine.

Even for Eurovision-phobes like myself, it’s well known that many countries involved in the contest actually want to lose – so they can get out of hosting it the following year. So, maybe that’s why so many of the acts and their songs are terrible?

This phenomenon was so tellingly and brilliantly parodied in this legendary episode of Father Ted episode ‘A Song for Europe’, after Ireland won and hosted the contest four years in a row. So lets just hope this year’s new contender, the bizarre European country of, errrr… Australia(?) doesn’t win the same number of times in a row, or more.

The way it seems to be marketed towards the heteronormative view of what all LGBTI+ people are supposed to like. Which I frankly find to be deeply patronising and pompous, as it completely neglects the fact that whole swathes of our community do not in fit into that perception. All of the above seems to be building barriers rather than, as this year’s contest slogan suggests, “building bridges”.

So basically, I don’t like The Eurovision Song Contest – there… I said it!

Finally, I need to ask this one question about the name of the contest: why is it not called The Euroaudio Song Contest?

About Cate Lauder

Cate Lauder
A graduate of Bournemouth University’s Scriptwriting for Film and Television course, a produced writer of 4 short films and a stage play. Edinbrugh based Cate is an all-rounder media lass, who has done just about everything in showbiz. She is also a transsexual woman, a lesbian, and notoriously cheeky.

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