“Much of the trouble that is attributed to drugs really should be attributed to boredom” Alexander Trocchi
“Oh my god! You have to do it!”
At the suggestion that I maybe should do a special version of my infamous chart column, inevitably called the “Eurovision Atrocity Special” almost everyone who wasn’t me was really keen for me to watch three and a half hours of stomach-churning colour and excitement and garishness, can’t think why. I’ve dosed myself up on MDMA in a simultaneous bid to keep myself awake and stop the raw cosmic horror of three hours of mental illness from burning my soul up from the inside and turning me into the kind of craven unhealthy zombie who can watch this bullshit with irony gear turned up to ‘UKIP’.
For those extant from Europe (I know we have a crop of American and, bizarrely, Russian readers), Eurovision is what Europe has now instead of wars. We used to pick genuinely great music acts to battle it out and points were awarded based on their performances, but sometime in the nineties it got twisted and the performers became almost perversely terrible and the points awarding system became political (notably, Britain got nul pois the year our barbaric war criminal of a leader, Tony Blair, invaded Iraq. Norway always gets nothing because it is the best country in the world and the rest of Europe is bitter. Similarly Denmark and Sweden have a (presumably treaty-bound) habit of voting for each other. I’m less concerned with the points breakdown and more concerned with the quality (or lack thereof) of the colourful cheerful ambiguously gendered performances. I’ve got pizza, booze and some friends to carry me through, a head full of hallucinogenics and wearing my special spectral trail robe; I have weaponised some crystals for the occasion but am spiritually unarmoured, but I think this is gonna be properly tough.
Like most of my prose, yet more so, imagine this entire schpiel written between terrible headaches. I have just switched off Jefferson Airplane’s Volunteers in preparation for the telecast, and there was a terrible rumble in my waters that Volunteers is the best music I will hear all evening.
Here we go. Tora tora tora.
The first disappointment is instead of avuncular Terry Wogan we have nasally Graham Norton talking all over everything. And the set looks like the set of a future gameshow where members of the lower classes are killed for the entertainment of the elites.
UKRAINE (Russia). In a perfect illustration of how utterly vacuous and pointless this televised mediocrity with fireworks is, as artillery shells fall in eastern Ukraine, some pop-idol failures warble into the faces of the fat nations of Europe. I’m not going to make a joke about that man running in a wheel to power the performance because I’m a professional music jurnalizt. On a side note, I hate the microphones, because I keep thinking that there’s a dead pixel in my telly.
BELARUS. I made a joke that the list of countries is mirrored by Russia’s list of how to retake Europe (Ukraine first, ha, bloody ha). This man appears to have been made out of a cheap waxwork of Ricky Martin. Do up your fucking tie when you’re on the telly you scamp. There comes a point, for me, about half a song in, when the ironic humour of this context collapses like a biscuit mast and I’m confronted with the sheer existential cosmic horror of watching a bunch of hopeless scumbags screaming down the lens for the rest of my natural life. I expect to finish this contest significantly older than I started.
AZERBAIJAN. The European debt crisis is in effect, perhaps they’re saving the fireworks and excitement for the second half, when you’re stuffed with pizza and beer and too hopelessly depressed to change the channel; but these first tracks are coming off particularly dull, and when combined with weepy warbly vocal bumgazing it’s surprisingly unimaginative.
Side note - The bits with the flags are great. Seriously great.
ICELAND. First band. And because there are more people, between the coloured suits and the up-beat lyrics this is the first song more energetic than a piece of roadkill. There’s a post-Beatle thing going on that I don’t entirely like; but like a Skittle, it’s a pop of colourful fruity fun that doesn’t quite distract from the 18 feet of whale blubber we have to digest tonight.
NORWAY. The preparatory voice told us that “he isn’t even a singer”. I’ll be the fucking judge of that. And with some lighters in the crowd, dry ice, a suit, a stationary bloke without a tie, a piano, please separate your knees and prepare to gaze furtively up your own arse. This guy looks like he’s on community service, between the ear jewellery and the forearm tats he looks like he’d be more at home glassing a sailor outside a Bergen bar rather than umming and arring through some stop-start pub karaoke.
ROMANIA. Surprised there’s anyone left in Romania, according to backwards Neanderthal UKIP twats they’ve all come over here to nick my job. I really really like his keyboard, which looks like it’s fallen out of a Dali painting. I also like the flamethrowers while I briefly entertain the thought of a mistimed performer losing an eyebrow. Although that CGI was Film School level.
ARMENIA. The lighting guys have made it look like this guy is a supervillain trapped in a futuristic light prison. I might as well take this opportunity to mention that the light scaffolding half-cube is really weird and distracting. This is the first performer to incorporate music beyond the eighties and it’s a mistake because his gravelly delivery doesn’t really match the lazy upbeat zappy dubstep. He looks fundamentally untrustworthy, like the face you see at the lights as the window rolls down on an unmarked van.
MONTENEGRO. It’s a good thing they established this was someone’s dad because that would have been my opening joke. I prefer when people sing in their own languages because fuck French and fuck English, the language in which I am currently writing. Singing in a language my idiot sheltered brain doesn’t understand gives me the appropriate cultural distance to imagine the lyrics are nice and not just the same weepy miserable diary entry on loneliness brand.
Side note. This whole show so far has been pretty cheap and tawdry.
POLAND. Someone who appears to have had adrenaline mainlined into her Prussian veins. This is a five-minute argument against cultural imperialism. If America had kept its sordid culture to itself this Polish entry might be more palatable. We will never know. It has struck me that I really don’t understand why Eurovision exists. Is it to advertise the countries performing? Because it has failed utterly.
GREECE. Rizzle shits.
At this point in the contest Steven collapsed onto the floor gibbering and foaming from the mouth and nose, while crying blood. It is believed he is suffering from brain bubbles. He was administered three verses from the Satanic Bible and given a half a Heineken to revive him, but he was in no fit state to type. It was decided by his handlers that he must continue with the article. What follows is the audio recordings based on his continued viewing of the telecast.
AUSTRIA. The amount of hate slung at this transgender performer makes me want to kill everyone on earth, as per usual. Also, a fantastic beard should always be respected. This contest is moving at something of a breakneck pace, and I kind of wish someone had broken my neck. I hope a transgender person wins, just to shit up all the people against it.
During the GERMANY performance the pizza arrived, causing a commotion and more furtive brain bubbles. A comment was made about why most of these sub-pop stars aren’t actual pop stars internationally, and how Eurovision illustrates the lack of talent, but it could not be transcribed as the resident shorthand was busy stuffing her face with pepperoni.
Intermission. “Dear host, my favourite ‘social media’ is being shouted at in the street by drunks and their dogs but apparently you modern Eurovision cunts don’t support that.
SWEDEN “Why are they pretending that any part of this is to do with the quality of the song? Uuuurgh! Again with the light prison? What the hell lighting guys! This song bores me. Put it off! Put it off! Oh god my head! Oh Christ the bubbles! Aargh! She rhymed ‘do’ with ‘you’, immediate disqualification! Why are you making me go on you cunts? Argh my head!
FRANCE “Isn’t it funny how you can utterly despise the existence of someone within seconds? Some sort of conciliatory point ought to be made for not taking things too seriously. We need to get this guy out of the gene pool urgently. Minus a point because your arm looks like someone’s drawn on it with a magic marker drunkenly.
RUSSIA “Actual Russia, not Ukraine. These kinda look like a final boss in a Resident Evil game. If Sophie Ellis Bextor had untalented evil supersoldier babies with a Russian oligarch and then instead of fighting James Bond they decided to go on Eurovision, this is what would be happening. Oh yeah, and the song is shit. You know what? My head feels kinda better, I can type again. Gimme that keyboard.”
ITALY. After that Avril Lavigne video gave me brainworms I avoid all music that sounds even slightly connected and this is no exception. Time for a piss break. This is gonna be awesome.
SLOVENIA. Ethnic instruments, promising. I am amazed by how much all these songs sound alike, despite geography and (theoretically) genre ought to play. The same indulgent but ultimately tedious vocal performance, the same teaspoon-shallow imitation of turn-of-the-millennium pop, the same low-down feeling of dread in my gut as I realise all these people are more successful than me.
FINLAND. Didn’t this guy already sing?
SPAIN. If your singing involves a wobbling bottom lip. Do yourself a favour and choose another profession, such as welding steel or directing aircraft at Barca airport. Please. Because your whiny awful dreary nonsense is horrible. You might be banging on about rain, and all wet, but nothing is as wet as this performance.
SWITZERLAND. An ambulance has been called for Steven after he screamed “Mumford and Cunts” and collapsed into catatonic despair. Other members of the party complained about the rapey undertones of this song.
HUNGARY. While the ambulance team work on Steven, trying to get a sentient non-sweary response out of him, the rest of the team continue to mock the rubix cubes used in Hungary’s performance.
MALTA. Steven is feeling well enough, until the song starts and yet again screams “Mumford and Cunts” before violently vomiting out his entire viscera. He looks up with glazed, empty eyes. “I quite like this” he says as his nose begins to bleed. How can people in good conscience make music like this? To me, everything you every create should make someone’s day, and music like this is the equivalent of a really really well-made Wheetabix, nobody gives an earthly shit.
DENMARK. Looking as if he’s just gnawed through his own umbilical cord before the show, and impersonating Bruno fucking Mars without any of the knowledge of what made Mars popular to the increasingly dominant Stupid gene. It would be nice if these songs were something other than a dodgy foreign rip-off of English language pop music that wasn’t even good to begin with.
THE NETHERLANDS. Starting like a beat-driven post-sub-sub-sub-sub Velvets is always a great way to go, and stay. Okay it’s a bit White-Stripesey but slowed down strumming and actual heartfelt vocals (as opposed to the ‘scream nonchalantly’ that people with emotional simulators fed on money think counts as heartfelt). It’s subtle, but not understated, okay it’s lazy and boring and extremely derivative but after being fed on Russian gulag gruel for eight months, even a chicken McNugget is nutritious in comparison.
SAN MARINO. *Sigh* back again with wibbly warbling bullshit. Next.
U.K.. Children of the Universe sounds like Hawkwind. It isn’t. More’s the shame. Okay so it’s the same solo-vocal bumgazing but it has a beat and she looks like a bit of a hippy so my dry-heave reflex is so-far suppressed. I kinda like her growly Winehouseism. She should probably be playing a small tent in a festival. Having done a chart column for the last few months I can confirm I hope she makes some kind of ways into the British chart because she’s better than roughly 90% of the utter shite I review every week.
Overall I’m disappointed that we had about four utterly interchangeable boring ballads, a Mumfords clone, another even less good Mumfords clone, a Jason Derulo clone, a Wand Erection clone, a Rizzle Shits clone, a Bruno Mars clone et cetera et cetera ad nauseam. C’mon Europe, I want to see what you got. I was disappointed with the general non-weirdness of the performances. No lycra-clad crimes, Russian grannies or epic sax men to be had this year. Is it all Europe has got to diminishingly copy ‘Transatlantic’ pop? I want to see something made out of your own culture, something with a shot of you in it. If you can’t be good, be weird! Yeah, here’s the rub gentles, Europe isn’t one big happy family, it’s a brawling bunch of idiot toddlers with credit cards. Fuck this show and everything it represents.
Congrats to the moral victor, Conchita, yes her song was one of the worst but anything that annoys bigots is a victory in my book. But please, don’t tweet about how some Berlin Wall has come down because a trans person has won Eurovision, because it isn’t even the first (Israel in 1997). You are not some Che Guevara because you tweeted your support you sad sack slacktivist fucks.
Sweet buttery nipple Christ I made it. I genuinely have grown a beard in the time it took to get through them. I hope you appreciate this you ungrateful little shits.
Written under duress by Steven.