No-one likes England. England’s neighbours don’t like England. Even English people don’t like England. With that, it’s no surprise that come Eurovision, England gets battered. Concerning England, the media says ‘we’, forgetting that Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales aren’t in London and the rest of Europe looks at the UK Eurovision entry as a thing of red buses, black cabs, cups of tea and everything English.
And that’s why the UK will never win Eurovision.
There’s a certain arrogance that surrounds the English which pervades all that it is good at. England supposedly has the best football league in the world and England makes the best music in the universe. England does well domestically, forgetting that the rest of the world is sniffing ‘really?’
And the complaints came thick-and-fast after Engelbert Humperdinck came second-to-last in the weekend’s song contest. ‘WE SHOULD PULL OUT!’, ‘ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!’ and ‘THE BBC NEEDS TO WALK AWAY FROM THIS AWFUL SHOW, SPOILED BY TACTICAL VOTING!’ were cried at the night sky. That’s because the UK ‘should have won’, even though anyone with functioning ears and a sense of fun would hugely disagree.
The Swedish entrant was a fun, sophisticated slice of melodramatic-pop and Russia threw nanas at a stage with a tray of biscuits and unleashed the camp in everyone who lay in its nuclear fallout. Eurovision isn’t so much about music, rather, a poppers-fuelled carnival to laugh along with. The UK, once again, forgot that. It sent in someone who didn’t need a leg-up. It sent in what it thought was a ‘credible song’. Crucially, it sent someone in who had the air of someone who thought they were ‘above’ the competition.
Who wants credibility? Cred is the most useless currency in the known universe and only serves to please sneering no-marks who would be too ‘cool’ to watch Eurovision in the first place. Taking the UK entrant out of Eurovision wouldn’t matter to anyone who tunes in to watch the show. Supporting your act at the behest of enjoying the rest of the show makes for a miserable life. It’s like Formula One. You go with the most charismatic over the one who is supposedly representing you. You’d always choose Ayrton Senna over some borebag tax-exile like Nigel Mansell.
And yet, there’s an obsession with blaming everyone else for the UK Eurovision’s shortcomings. It has to be tactical voting. It couldn’t possibly be the team organising the UK entrant’s fault. The fact is, Sweden won on Saturday because it was a superior song to the damp squibbery of The Hump’s instantly forgettable tune. The UK isn’t entitled to win. The UK is childish and arrogant to think that there’s a conspiracy against it.
Yet, oddly, the UK could win at Eurovision. What it needs to do is take on the role of the underdog. If the UK stop strutting around with its London media connections and sent forward a Scottish act with a touch of Celtic tradition, it’d do much better than something that looked like it was hatched up by a penis with a NiceDay flip chart. Sending someone from Northern Ireland to do their thing would capitalise on Europe’s clear fondness for all that is Oirish (Ireland have won more Eurovision’s than any other country). Send the Super Furry Animals dressed as golden retrievers. Send anyone that doesn’t remind people how much they dislike England and its constant, pointless professionalism. Eurovision is all about enthusiastic amateurs with a sense of fun – something the UK has consistently forgotten since Katrina and the Waves.
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Humperdinck wasn’t ever going to do well, thanks to a weak ballad and the fact he looked like the melted ballbag of a wax mannequin. Ukraine belted a rave number out. Sweden and France had attractive women with big choruses. Russia had the fun, campish novelty element. The UK had a pensioner with a face like an elephant’s ankle, and a song less remarkable than the low drone of an airless spaceship vent.
As such, this arrogance… this assumption that the UK will ‘do well’ (we’ll all see this way of thinking again during Euro 2012 and The Olympics) is the thing that sees everyone taking great pleasure in the UK’s defeats. And you know what? The UK should take great pleasure in them as well. Entitlement is a very unattractive trait. Send in the clowns… or at least, let Simon Cowell decide our fate. A dancing dog with a crooning toddler is more akin to the spirit of Eurovision, not Engelbert Humperdinck.