The darkest winter waits for the sun

imagesIceland
Systur
Með Hækkandi Sól

Hungary aren’t in it again this year – Orban reckons it’s all a bit too LGBT+ – which is a shame, because I used to enjoy the bit every year when their artist would turn up at an outdoor swimming pool and sing their song to a bunch of bored looking naked pensioners.

So where next? Oh it’s Iceland.

I once went to a whole academic conference about Eurovision. It was a day of papers and panel discussions and Paddy O’Connell spouting pseudo-academic twaddle like how the song contest has “provided a platform for the creation of national and European identities”, how the event “has embraced and celebrated diversity by showcasing minority communities” and how it has been used as a “nation branding tool by countries such as Estonia and Ukraine”. And I got an EBU biro.

I was sat at the back thinking that the audience mainly appeared to be a segway of saddos who’d given up their day to come and gawp at library footage and moan at the man from the BBC about our entry, until I went to the toilet, took a good hard look at myself and realised that I was just a saddo that had given up his day to come and gawp at library footage and complain at the man from the BBC about our entry. The bastards.

Anyway on the day one of the more exciting sessions was from a nervous woman that works for the EBU on audience research, who revealed that on the night of the final the country with the highest audience share hits 99%. Blimey – 99% of people that are in are watching the Eurovision in Iceland. Can you imagine? I mean sure that’s still only about 130 people but still. Viva viva! We are the 99%!

For a country so small, their entries are delightfully eclectic – one year you get scandischlager that sounds like the music that plays if you win Rob Curling’s turnabout, the next you’ll get 4 four women in PVC writhing around on stage with a man doing an awkward robot dance, and one year they sent a sort of female Icelandic Sacha Baron Cohen doing a song about how lucky Icelanders were that she was born in Iceland and that she was going to win the contest, because she was better than all the other entrants. It’s not a gambit that paid off – she came 16th in her semi and then backstage punched her boyfriend, threatened to jump from a bridge, and started spitting at the journalists.

It started to dawn on the press pack that she may not have been in character any more when she started yelling “ungrateful bastards! You vote some ugly people from Finland that don’t even have real make-up artists, and you don’t vote for me because I’m not a slut from Holland and I’m not an ugly, fucking, old bitch from Sweden”. She then points at a random journalist, and adds “Your television station is telling everybody I hated Greece and I said that they’re ugly and I never said it and you are a slut and I hate you! I will sue you, and I will sue the competition, and you will all go to jail!”

Anyway it was pretty much all lined up for Daði Freyr and his band Gagnamagnið in 2020, but then Covid put paid to his quirky hook-laden disco number with a viral video, with last year’s “10 Years” your classic disappointing follow up to a one-hit wonder (tricky, tricky). Perhaps the real winner of 2020 though was Husavik – the location for much of the actually-quite-good Eurovision movie and the name of the big song in the film, mimed here by Rachel McAdams, sung here by Melodifestivalen stalwart Molly Sandén, or actually performed in actual Husavik with a load of kids for the actual Oscars.

iceland

Their actual song this year is a dreary let down in comparison – Sigga, Beta and Elín are a band of sisters who have been singing together for as long as they can remember, and their dad was a member of the “legendary” jazz-funk band, Mezzoforte, who scored a UK number 17 hit in 1983 with the song Garden Party that I used to use as music bed for the pub quiz I ran on a Sunday night at uni.

You know the sort of thing – teams like Big Fact Hunt, Norfolk ‘n Chance, the Beyoncé Know-Alls, Tequila Mockingbird, The Brewsual Suspects, Risky Quizness, Agatha Quizteam, Bucks Quiz, Thin Quizzy, Let’s Get Quizzical and Simple Minds would pay £5 each for the chance to work out that my celebrity animal impression was Flipper and not Gentle Ben.

It’s a shame, because we really could do with them winning given the three siblings spend much of their time supporting those who are marginalised in society – in recent years, they have focused their activism on trans children’s rights, which would wind up the Telegraph no end.

It certainly won’t be scooping the 12 points that we gave to “Nei eda já” in 1992, which as far as I’m concerned features the best key change delivered by two people who look like Claire Balding of all time in any song ever. Except maybe LA DET SWINGE, by the Claire Balding twins from Norway. Rock and ROLL!

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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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