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Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Eurovision is truly the triumph of bad taste

So I'm on social media and in my Twitter feed there are all these tweets by otherwise reasonable people because they've tuned in at some ungodly hour of the morning to watch the Eurovision Song Contest, this year being screened from Vienna. And I ask myself a load of questions. In fact the phenomenon of watching really quite normal people get excited by Eurovision is a thing that by its very nature throws up nothing if not a big bag of freakin questions.

The thing is that when I gave a cat's arse about popular music - the last time I did was probably around 1982 - we were listening to Joy Division and Adam Ant and there was this heirarchy of cool among my peers. The most visibly cool of such people were what we called "droogs" (a deeply ironic nod to the hideously violent characters in A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess - we were nothing if not ironic) but the important thing to keep in mind is that you were judged by the music you preferred, the parties you attended, and the way you walked down the street to buy a kebab. Cool was something that had currency, like intelligence or talent might do in other contexts. And Eurovision was definitely not cool.

But something happened on the way to the new millennium. In fact, it seems to have happened sometime after the appearance on the event horizon of the new millennium, in around the year 2007. It might therefore have something to do with the global financial crisis. Perhaps everyone suddenly thought "Well, they're spending all this money on this song competition in Europe and they have no money for food so it must MEAN SOMETHING TO THEM." Because that's the thing. For an Australian to watch the Eurovision Song Contest is sort of like a resident of suburban New Jersey watching poverty porn. And we all see the pictures on the TV screen each night from some godforsaken corner of the globe that has just been smitten by an earthquake - that's disaster porn you're watching, boy. But it's the same thing. It is something so far outside your own experience that there's this gratuitous, pornographic element to the experience of watching it. You are PERVING.

So to all my friends watching the Eurovision Song Contest this morning as the sun prepares to emerge in all its glorious splendour from behind the buildings or behind the trees or behind whatever obstruction currently hides it from your view: enjoy. That's all I can come up with. After telling people that they're just a bunch of pervs what else can you say. Enjoy. Take pleasure in the moment and forget all your notions of style and groove to the fantastic Balkan costumes and the weird Nordic rhythms. Get right into that bastard and enjoy the freak out of it.

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