21.5.08

Eurovision Song Contest

Photo, Courtesy of Wikipedia
There was a time long ago, before Ireland became an economic success story, before we exported U2 as the greatest rock band in the world and before Riverdance made Irish dancing cool, when winning the Eurovision Song Contest was the pinnacle of Irish achievement on the international stage. Winning a contest known for its banal lyrics, garish costumes and repetitive melodies was something Irish people cared about, were proud of, and which we managed to do seven times - more than any other country - almost bankrupting the national television station which had to host the contest every time we won.

Norway on the other, I remember once, receiving a total of null points, to much guffawing from us Irish. Well how times have changed. Now the Melodi Grand Prix, as it is termed here, receives much attention form the Norwegian press, and winning the competition, it seems, is important to Norwegians, or at least Norwegian journalists. Last night, the Norwegian entrant, Maria Haukaas Storeng, got through to the final of the competition with a decent song - even by normal pop standards which are higher than Eurovision standards - and one that could win.

While back in my homeland, the Eurovision has become a joke, something to take the piss out of, and something we haven’t won since 1996. Last year we came last. And how to we respond to our dismal showings over the past few years? We send a puppet from children’s daytime television to represent us, ‘singing’ a song lamenting Ireland’s failure to win the contest lately, entitled ‘Douze Points’. The puppet is a turkey called Dustin, who has a north Dublin accent and a grating singing voice. I can’t really describe this performance so I will instead direct you to YouTube where you can enjoy it in all its tricolour glory. I have to admit having listened three times now, it’s kind of growing on me, and is sure to be a summer club hit. Listen to lyrics – they are funny!

But, the rest of Europe obviously didn’t get the joke last night and it was a case of null points, sending Dustin home, or as the rte.ie so aptly put it, ‘Dustin falls fowl of Eurovision vote’. But of course, we were only taking the piss anyway, so we don’t really care, do we?

3 comments:

Women Rule Writer said...

I'm glad Dustin got nowhere. What an embarrassment the whole thing was. RTÉ should be ashamed of themselves sending that rubbish as a representative.
I like Dustin in his own context, but that song etc was just awful.

beaverboosh said...

Anthropologists will look back at this as a strong indicator that Ireland has moved up the emotional maturity curve. Welcome to the developed world. As for Norwegian journalists...

OSLO said...

WWR
I must admit that to say I cringed when I first saw Dustin's performance is an understatement. That said, on seeing Azerbijan's entry on last night's final - the only song I watched - it was not alone in its awfulness. Hope RTE can put taxpayer's money to better use next year.
BB don't get me started on Norwegian journalists!