The Plastic Hippo

May 27, 2012

Rare Bird

Filed under: Media,Music,World — theplastichippo @ 10:35 pm

When it comes to cultural icons, they don`t come more iconic than Engelbert Humperdinck. No, not the composer of Hansel und Gretel, but the ageing crooner from Leicester also known as Arnold Dorsey.

For sheer unadulterated kitsch, the Eurovision Song Contest is a peerless example of something being so bad that it is actually rather good. Sadly, the days of Katie Boyle turning up on television once a year are long gone and the rationale of participation has changed from a desire to win the thing to making sure of losing at all costs. The reverse logic is delicious. With Europe falling apart, the performers from Greece, Italy, Spain and Ireland were under strict instructions to fail to stave off the bankruptcy of staging the event that would be visited on any successful nation. Engelbert, however, was supposed to win and was triumphant in coming next to last.

There was something vaguely familiar about the song he was given to sing. Can`t quite put a finger on it. Something about half the world?

We should, of course, dismiss the woeful human rights record of Azerbaijan and concentrate on the wonderful architecture and vibrant folklore of Baku. It`s not as if we in the west would ever dream of evicting poor people to make way for a cultural or even sporting event. As the descendents of the enlightenment, we civilised nations should celebrate the exposure of loads of female flesh and the homoerotic spectacle of lots of cute male dancers. Forget, for the moment, that Iran has withdrawn its ambassador in protest at something it describes as un-Islamic, Azerbaijan, you see, has lots of oil.

What the hell was that song? Dah…da…dad…da…No, can`t quite remember it. Not enough something or other?

Love, and, indeed, work can set you free, but it didn`t help Engelbert score more than 12 points when up against the rather bizarre offerings from Albania, a bunch of babooshkas and the crime against nature that is Jedward. Vibrant European nations such as Azerbaijan, Turkey and Israel might favour British manufactured armaments to subdue troublesome populations but this has not translated into votes for the chanteur most famous for Please Release Me. Perhaps a UK triumph at Eurovision could be achieved by allowing Saudi Arabia, Libya, Bahrain, Egypt and our charming chums in Syria to participate. Guns for Eurovision votes is certainly a little less sordid than guns for oil.

Next year, whoever decides on the song to be sung should commission the utterly sublime Gary Barlow and Lord Webber to replicate their anthem to our own, dear Queen. After plundering Rachmaninov and managing to rhyme “clearer” with “hear ya”, we can surely expect to see Prince Harry with his tambourine braving the dry ice and follow spots of Stockholm. That will keep bae systems and Uncle Andrew happy.

Now what was that song that Engelbert sang? Love will set you free? Not enough love will set you free? Love will make you quietly starve? Bingo. Got it.
Perhaps they will be singing this in the streets of Houla and the rest of Syria tonight.

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