Wednesday, May 19, 2004
I know it was over five days ago, and it's already been blogged to death by the best, but bear with me. I've only just easyjetted in from a few days with Sal and Chris round their gaff, and I'm determined to chuck in my two Euros' worth as well.
The highlight of my weekend away was, naturally, the Gay Cup Final (or the Grand Prix, as they call it over there, which makes it sound ever so butch, and you half expect Murray Walker to be doing the commentary, rather than dear old Tel).
Now I won't hear a bad word said against the New Seekers and I consider Cheryl Baker's defrocking a seminal moment in British pop culture (although the less said about me and Mary Hopkin probably the better), but surprisingly I've never really got Eurovision before. I think the last time I actually watched it in its entirety was sometime in the seventies when I didn't know any better. In an attic Up North there's my battered and very mangled off-air C-90 recording of the 1973 competition, and I still know all the words to Maxi's chirpy "Do I Dream?", while continuing to get shivers at the Spanish power-anthem "Eres Tu" by Mocedades Yet I could never get myself excited over a bunch of glammed-up, glitzed-up, third-rate, tone-deaf, self-aware, superstar-wannabes with perfect teeth and no sense of shame. After all, apart from the perfect teeth, that's what I'm aiming for, and I do not like competition.
But when you're packed into a busting-to-the-buttocks bar in Berlin's bender quarter, surrounded on all sides by supposedly "straight-acting" men, hailing from at least ten different countries and nearly as many time zones, and when the biggest scuffle breaks out when someone writes on someone else's score-sheet, and when tears are shed by the big muscle boy next to you as it becomes patently obvious his man is not going to win, so everyone decides to go for Greece anyway because, well, it'll really piss Turkey off, won't it, and mine's a Schultheiss, dankeschön , and that girl dancing on the bar knows all the words to the UK entry, but the bloke she thinks is her boyfriend understands exactly what Sweden's going on about. And when you realise that sixty years ago, most of these countries were kicking the s**t out of each other, and a decade ago some of them were stuck in a bloody civil war, and now the thing they're most concerned about is winning some totally inconsequential pop-pap piece of bubblegum nonsense… well, it's at times like this that my faith in a united and peaceful Europe is absolutely boundless.
And that, my dears, and no matter how much you goad me, is the first and only political statement you will ever get in this blog.
Now. Chicken Kiev, anyone?