It is that time of year again when the wild and wonderful, strange and obscure of European musical talent presents itself as, to most, some kind of drug induced nightmare. Bright flashing lights, costumes to make Gaga proud, glitter and camp swirl out from our TV sets and soak into every pore, making people either rave with feverish enthusiasm or quickly reach for the remote to end the misery post-haste. Either way, there are stereotypes a-plenty as whole nations take up their seats for the annual Europe bashing – what better way than to display favouritism and cultural dislike in equal measure than with a jolly good sing-song!
And this is one of my guilty pleasures. I love Eurovision – particularly the very British attitude of turning up with every cynical expectation of being slammed by everyone but Ireland – and even then we realistically expect that. The strange thing is, the powers that be seem to have some unfounded expectation that we should win, that we should be liked by our European cousins. In recent years they have brought out the ‘big guns’; Andrew Lloyd Webber, our national musical treasure, lowered himself to present a song which got pretty much nowhere, and this year they have resurrected a very so-so boy band, Blue. It should be fabulous car crash tv; I am personally looking forward to spangly suits and scripted standing/striding at the given key change. The supposedly sultry/sexy looks to camera will never fail to break me into hysterics!
However, the best bit about Eurovision has got to be the gathering of similarly minded fools, excitedly listening to Graham Norton’s comedy commentary which casts sideways glances and smirks on those nations taking it all a little too seriously (which they REALLY do). This year’s Eurovision extravaganza will be held in the very capable hands of our regular host, Miss Martin, back up North with family and friends. But to make it all that extra special, that is if you need more special than cheese on sticks and cocktail sausages, will be the standard forfeits. Whether alcohol be your poison or no, the silly drinking forfeits are so much fun. Through the performances you are given a standard ‘move’ at random. Each time an ‘artist’ performs this movement you must adhere to the prearranged forfeit rules- Lord help you if you land the ‘air grab’ or ‘boob shimmy’ because my, oh my Europe likes its jiggling and pensive handfuls of air to characterise the passion their songs dictate. There has been some rather sozzled participants in our house in the past!
Once the scoring comes in, you also hope not to pull the favourite in the sweepstake because even more forfeits await. Each time your given country scores Douze Points then yes, you must drink! There was an issue a couple of years ago for one unlucky contender as she saw Norway wrap up a landslide victory of catastrophic proportions. I would like to categorically state that I am by no way advocating binge drinking or drinking to excess, but some Brits find it does help to get through the evening! Depending on how the evening appears to unwind, I may be quickly switching to soft drinks – I’m not twenty any more don’t you know!
This is not to everyone’s cup of tea, I know but the drinking silliness is not the main draw for me. It is utter trash and so unbelievably funny, and I love having a very judgemental laugh at skimpy spandex and odd accessorising with people I adore. Good food, good company, good fun and bad telly – the only way to spend a Saturday night!