They never liked the things that I would like

Sheldon Riley
Not The Same

Terrible alphabet news here. Sadly, the Pyreneesian principality of A for Andorra isn’t taking part again this year, which is a shame because this was an absolute banger. As was this, although I do feel like she was aiming the title at me.

There’s loads of great facts about Andorra too – women live longer than men, it has an army of 12 people, the eldest able-bodied man in every family is required by law to keep a loaded rifle, and as a co-principality it’s ruled by two princes! Princes who adore you! Just go ahead, now.

Anyway. Do you remember that time when Susan off of Neighbours started to believe that she was 16 years old again and she accidentally wandered into a ’70s party and then when her memories started coming back one of the first ones was of her husband Karl snogging his secretary?

Or that time when Toadfish got married to Dee and then he took her for a drive and he lost control of their car and drove off a cliff into the sea and he was fine but her body was never found and then he got married again and a gas bottle exploded during the reception and the marquee got destroyed and his bride Sonya ended up with a fractured skull and no memory of the wedding?

Or that time when Pinkie Tuscadero crashed Fonzie’s bike and I lost all my money to those card sharps and my dad Tom Bosley had to win it all back? Oh hold on. That was Happy Days. So to speak.

Yes, that all means that we’ve reached A for Australia.

Back in 2014 for reasons that no-one now remembers, the aussies were allowed into that big converted shipyard in Copenhagen on an island (put the Eurovision fans on an Island, they said) to do the interval act, and the fans thought it was “fair dinkum” – a mid-tempo empowerment belter loaded up with Eurovision values called “Sea of Flags” coupled with a self-deprecating skit about Kangaroos and stuff.

It was more (white, western) European than most of the entries these days, so whilst it may be over 10,000 miles from the EBU’s Geneva bunker, having let the Aussies compete proper on a Brexit Barista Euro Visa back in 2015, then Executive Supervisor Jon Ola Sand gave in to twenty years of lobbying and fixed it for the antipodeans to compete every year.


They had a good start – Guy Sebastian came in fifth with his mid-tempo mainstream brass riff funk in 2015, and then Dami Im almost won in 2016 but helpfully ended up sandwiched between Russia’s entry and Ukraine singing about Stalin’s deportation of the Crimean Tatars in 1944. Sadly it’s all been downhill for the aussies since – last year for example they somehow selected a song that sounded Sia having painful knee surgery while a bunch of people bashed pots and pans slightly out of time around her bed, and to be honest this year’s not a lot better.

There’s a decent story to it all – telling as it does the tale of a child aged 6 diagnosed with Asperger’s, growing up in council housing, moving from home to home and questioning his sexuality in a deeply religious family.

Fair dinkum and all that – not every entry can (or should) be as uptempo and fun as Dancing Lasha Tumbai or the Russian Grannies – but the problem with Sheldon’s effort here is that his song doesn’t seem to have a discernible melody, his performance is more miserable than emotional and the whole thing ends up a genuine ordeal to sit through – which is not ideal on a balmy evening in late May when there’s a bunch of talking dogs doing magic tricks out of their arse to a waxwork record producer on the other side.

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Jim Dickinson

@Wonkhe SUs. Trustee @WinchesterSU. HE policy. Pop. Pro EU(rovision). Windmills not walls. FRSA. Dreams of visiting Moldova. A brunch. Dressing up. A feeling.

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