Friday, May 24, 2013

The Eurovision Cheese Competition

My mate Colin and I have been friends since we sat together in primary four aged 8. We have both been huge Abba fans since well before it was trendy to be Abba fans. We have flown to New York to see Benny and Bjorn's opera at the Carnegie Hall. I was totally star struck when I met Bjorn coming out the loo.


  Agnetha and Colin have had a conversation once about his skirt (kilt!) He has still not got over that moment and he goes a bit funny when he thinks about it. I've twice been asked to join an Abba tribute band.  But not by anybody who has heard me sing.

Colin is a songwriter and it has always been our ambition to write the winning song for the Eurovision Cheese Fest/Song competition. We have studied the winning trends. We know what to do. The play time is short so get the chorus in three times. Sing about love or world peace.  Sing simply - no warbling.  Wear fringes, especially the men. Sing words that everybody understands - like Hello Joe, Get me a Taxi Taxi Taxi! Oh there's one, Hallelujah.  The most common lyric in a Eurovision winner is La la la la la la.  Get a gimmick like duet with your granny, a puppet... the French once had a cat on the singer’s shoulder.
Avoid specialist subjects - potatoes, fish, boats, vampires, penguins, Ghenghis Khan, potatoes. Avoid singing about any vegetable really especially potatoes.

You are probably familiar with the term Schlager which is that bouncy euro pop noise- that does well.  As does a well sung power ballad. Better to avoid (Finnish) reggae, yodelling, (Swedish) calypso, (Latvian) accapella. Don't build a robot while on stage.  Oh and don't rap. Do ethnopop, i.e. a pop version of your national vibe. Disco bagpipes anyone?

Don't upset anybody- no same sex snogging. Try your own language lyrics out to an English and French audience- does it sound naughty?  There was a famous entry that sounded like they were being rude about the Pope - they weren't at all but it certainly sounded that way.
Don't have schoolgirls in short skirts.
Sing in key - even vaguely - and try not to deafen dogs or upset horses.
As 43% of winners have been in English that might help. Remember that most English folk get a nosebleed if they try to think in a foreign language. Norway once sung in thirteen languages (in the same song). That didn't work so they then tried a song with only 24 words and beautiful orchestration. It worked and they won!   Norway are of course famous for more nul points than anybody else.

And then the voting is hindered by politics, national boundaries, Bloc voting. Nobody likes the UK anymore.  Maybe if we separate - Scotland, England, Northern Ireland and Wales we might stand a chance.
Should you get a famous person to sing - it might work - or it might not. Englebert Humperdink was older than my dad! Please release him.

So here is this year's run down with some help from Graham Norton. France had a Tina Turner wannabee belting out a song. The dog left the room. Then a Lithuanian man in a leather jacket came on and sang a song (we missed it as we were trying to calm the dog down.)

 The Moldavians hit us with a lady with Donald Trump hair and a big voice. Her dancers appeared to be having some kind of emotional episode as she was elevated into the air and her dress went on fire. Deliberately I mean.

 Turkey refused to screen the competition as the Finnish entry had (alert alert!!) two ladies kissing. It was a great song, it followed the rules - it went ah ah ah ah ah ah ding dong. All sung in pink pants with great fringes. But was it marked down by more conservative countries? It finished way down the table. Spain then treated us to some traditional Spanish bagpipes with a ghostly looking Lady MacBeth type warbling in yellow. 
For Belgium a pleasant looking young man stood and sang while two backing dancers hid behind him, only to pop out and wave their arms about as if they were trying to guide in low flying aircraft in thick fog. Estonia appeared with big frock, big hair, big ballad and big tonsils. The dog was now trying to tunnel out the house. The wee lassie from Belarus was bumped from representing her country last year because the president asked for a recount of the vote. This time she got through, belting it out dressed in a fringe fest of a frock. 

My favourite came from Malta, a doctor singing a sweet song with his pals, sitting on a park bench. No frills, no fringes.
 Russia found it difficult to follow the travesty of last year’s grannies not winning. My other half is still very bitter about that one.  The song says - 'come together as one, bury your guns!'

See above rules. The German entry was controversial, rumoured to be the same tune as last year's winner. Pure Schlager. Disco queen in heels too high for her to dance in.


 Something a bit special from Armenia. A song about a lonely planet, fair enough. Written by the Black Sabbath guy Tony Iommi- a man with a habit of lamping music journos. They also wore double demin. The Netherlands was low key and slightly off key, like a slow and moody Adele. The dog came back in.  Then came Rumania. With the warning to remove all children and pets from the room.
 Then a falsetto voiced Kling On Commander went into battle with some semi naked men armed only in pulsating red Clingfilm. I'm not sure whose side the Clingfilm was on. 

 Then the UK.  BonnieTyler.  Ok.  The Swedish entry looked as if he was accompanied by the dancers from the Swedish gymnastics team. Then Johnny Depp appeared for Hungry wearing a hat and glasses. Well I think it was him, my eyes were still recovering from the falsetto Clingfilm. A wee lassie in need of a hairbrush and some shoes sang for Denmark, very nicely and won the competition. She was the bookies favourite right from the start. An Icelandic man then sang with a fabulous voice. Our commentator said that Icelandic is not the language of love but the language of gutting fish. I will comment no more, but we voted for him!

I did check the strength of the wine I was drinking as Azerbaijan performed with a man in a box, mimicking the man singing on top of the box. Then a woman came on stage with a frock that was about 100 metres long. And the box filled with red petals as the man went upside down. No idea what he was singing about.

 The Greeks sang about alcohol being cheap in a country where it is very expensive - nothing like rubbing it in. Catchy wee ditty.  They had kilts and accordions  I think somebody prolapsed a disc. Serves him right for dancing with an accordion. Must ask Jeff if he can do that. The Ukraines had a 7 feet 8 inch man with size 24 feet surrounded by Frankensteinian lightening. Oh and a lady in a frock with no fringes did some singing. The Italian did well, 15 million hits on YouTube before the competition. He sang with no special effects. Just a great voice and a great song. Norway was working the electrical malfunction in a power station vibe. The singer looked like Madonna in her Gaultier era which was about 1584. Same time as the plague. Georgia got the dog out the house again but it was a nice duet that got us singing along from the kennel outside. It sounded good from out there. The Irish went last, Bodhran drums, heavily oiled dancers, six packs. It was Europop heaven.

Apart from the wondrous dance floor filler that is Waterloo, and the smooch fest that is Volare, the best song to come out of Eurovision was by Big Freddie for Finland in the mid 70's. Watch and try not to smile.  All together now...
hippity hippity pump pump! Repeat to refrain.

Caro Agnetha Ramsay GB Friday 24th May 2013


  1. Once again you've answered a great mystery of life, Caro. I was at a loss on the night of Eurovision for why the streets of Mykonos were empty of tourist revelers. I thought the price of booze had sent them back to their rooms to get on a buzz with the cheap stuff flavored rubbing alcohol/antifreeze. But what really puzzled me was why there wasn't an accordion in sight! Or a dog. Now I know. Co-opted by Eurovision, every single one.

    Bottom line: You are a terrific saleswomanperson. Next year I won't miss it. Sobering thought.

  2. Since South Africa has 11 official languages, it is a good thing it is not in Europe. Or is it?


  3. Thanks for the Iceland vota Caro - and the hilarious sum-up. I love Eurovision it is so funny at times, box-guy an all.