I haven't done a Music Monday post for quite a while. However, as the time of year when music fever hits Europe is fast approaching, it's time for me to get back on track.
When I say music fever hits Europe - I mean the annual joviality called the Eurovision Song Contest.
Now us Brits have always laughed at the Eurovision contest. Basically, we think it's a load of tripe performed by folks dressed in clogs and silly hats trying to tap dance their way to success whilst singing either an appallingly bland ballad or a ridiculously geeky tune about everyone in Europe holding hands. The winning song will usually have a chorus which starts something like La, La, Hip Bop, Do Do, Da Da, and may mention something to the effect of we all love each other, I love you, Let's Marry And Have Eurovision Babies - in a kind of bullshit, stick your fingers down your throat kind of way. Or, to put it simply, it's a bit like a Police record - only without Sting and without any musical ability.
Right, you should be getting a picture of how us Brits think about Eurovsion night now - an evening of sheer comic entertainment, fuelled by copious amounts of alcohol and unadulterated jingoism...punctuated by some slow hand clapping every time the French produce another ballad.
Now, just to give you an overview, in the early days of Eurovision, we took it more seriously and even fielded big names like Cliff Richard, Sandi Shaw and Mary Hopkins. Then we went on a long phase of entering relative unknowns or groups put together especially for the occasion and yet we still had success - and then everything changed. Europe ( in fact it's not just Europe, pretty much anyone can participate) stopped having fun, stopped voting for the best song and it all got political. Consequently, as us Brits are hugely unpopular and an island nation with no neighbours to cuddle up to, we get bugger all votes.
Look, it's not that I'm bitter...
Yeah, yeah alright I am bitter! I like having Euro fun! But it's got to be fair fun. Otherwise I can get into a HUGE sulk.
Anyway, why are us Brits so unpopular? Come on, aren't we really, really sweet, kind and charitable? I thought we were! And if that isn't enough - we also make fabulous cucumber sandwiches and jelly trifles, we have a Queen with a nice sparkly hat and a Prime Minister with only a small double chin who is actually quite good looking and... and...and... we make lots of spectacular costume dramas.
Oh and last, but not least, we practically saved Europe from Hitler all by ourselves!
Why, why, why are we so hated???? Oh, it's just not fair...what have we ever done wrong?
(Nobody mention we exported David and Victoria Beckham please.)
Anyway, in the last few years we've done so badly at Eurovision it's embarrassing. We are the country that produced The Beatles for goodness sake and we take our music seriously! Yes - everything from opera to rap is serious business and yet, despite this, we've haven't won since 1997 when Katrina and the Waves sang Love Shine A Light. Yep, since 1997 then we've barely got off zero. In fact, we've come last three times which is unbelievable! Now, some of these results are due to politics - poor Andy Abraham, who served up a great disco song in 2008, came last with a pathetic 14 points - but some of the results are because we've tried to stay in tune with Europe and, sadly, fielded some really awful tunes.
But the last few years things have started to change in the UK, we're fed up with losing and we've started to bring in experienced commercial writers - in 2009 we brought in Andrew Lloyd Webber and in 2010 Pete Waterman. Andrew Lloyd Webber's entry came fifth and Pete Waterman's came last. Soooooo not very good results from our millionaire record makers then! The problem, as I see it, is we are still trying to beat the others at their own game - ie producing material in the same vein was never, ever, going to work.
But things are going to be different this year. Oh yes!
Anyway, we are fielding Blue Yes, Blue. I talked about Blue back here. If you haven't heard of Blue let me tell you they are a classy British pop act. Four blokes who can genuinely sing and who have sold 14 million albums and have had 40 number ones across Europe. They wrote a song, I Can, which they were originally contemplating as an anthem for a sporting event. However, when an invitation to perform at Eurovision came through they decided to accept the challenge and use I Can. So, at last, after many, many years, we have an experienced, successful pop act with a sophisticated pop tune representing us - will it make any difference though? We'll have to wait and see! In the meantime, judge for yourselves whether this is the winning song;
BLUE - I CAN