fullcatastrophe

Eurovision Musings – Presenters

In Uncategorized on May 2, 2014 at 7:20 am

As we build up to Malmö I have dusted off and slightly re-jugged some previous blogs about the ESC.

First the front people.

It’s no picnic presenting the Eurovision Song Contest.

In essence, the job description hasn’t changed that much since 1956.

You need to be an experienced broadcaster with a touch of glamour, a calm assurance AND a firm grip on the English & French languages as well as your own.

Of late, however, those necessary skills have been trumped by the generic flim-flammery of TV.

Such is progress/change/malarkey.

Back in the early days, the presenting job was given to someone in a lovely frock and the air of a benign school ma’am.

The host guided you through the night with grace, but was generally overwhelmed by the standard shambles of the finale where the winning chanson’s composer(s) is crowned !

There have been some delicious mélanges of whizz-pans, dropped bouquets, confused looking broadcasting executives and prematurely rolled credits over the years.

And when technology failed, as it did … frequently,  it was the gleaming teeth and sharp intellect of the compère which held the whole thing together.

As the dependability of satellite links firmed, so the CVs of the presenter(s) changed – and not always for the better.

The host nation’s big banana broadcasters, performers or former competitors were rolled out.

One had become two in the presentation department by the 1990s, and by now a trio is the norm despite the fact that the workload has sharply diminished.

Where once the presenter popped up all the way through, now the hosts come on at the start, disappear for a couple of hours only to return to guide us through the voting process.

So, as the need for a skilled master/mistress of ceremonies has diminished, what have we ended up with ?

Mega awkwardness for the most part.

It’s a simple broadcasting truth that  manufactured double and triple acts are strange & difficult beasts.

Without chemistry. rat cunning or honed skills they are doomed to fail.

And when they are working in a non-native language the results can be really, REALLY horrible.

Of late, we have been made to suffer pairings that had seemingly emerged from the most fetid swamp of a linguistic demi-monde.

Eurovision is no place for the ill-prepared shackled to an autocue they can barely comprehend.

And if ad-libbing is attempted, then all bets are off.

We have plumbed the depths a few times and the nadir was probably reached in 2001 in Copenhagen.

Cue “Doctor Death and the Little Mermaid” (Wogan, T.) and their rhyming couplets.

Terry Wogan had to apologise for his remarks from the BBC commentary box, but he was more than a little on the money.

Tezza has gone. but there’s always a fear those couplets may return one day.

Say it ain’t so Malmö.

Sight Unseen – ESC 2013 Malmö

In Uncategorized on May 19, 2013 at 7:32 pm

Welcome to coverage – if you can call it that – of the Eurovision Song Contest held in Malmö on May 18th 2013.

It  follows the delayed telecast of Australia’s SBS.

To remind you, I know NOTHING of the songs or the RESULT.

I am going back to enjoy the event as it was meant to be enjoyed – as a television program !

Some coding issues:

SBSCCA – SBS Cultural Cringe Alert e.g., either of the presenters ask a barely English-speaking contestant “And what do you want to say to your fans in Australia ?’

BBTW(OIGN)A = Bring Back Terry Wogan (Or Insert Graham Norton) Alert – nuf said.

STFUA – basically, without going into acronymic (?) detail, a plea for the alleged SBS commentators to stop telling up how camp the whole event is.

And off we go.

1930 STFUA Fantastic, They (the SBS box dudes) can’t even call it the Eurovision Song Contest.  Not a promising start.

1935 STFUA Can they PLEASE button their lips and stop giggling and reading from their EBU produced notes

1937  STFUA A new record. They just cannot shut up. THIS IS TELEVISION.

1938 Flag ceremony.  Utterly ludicrous.

1940 A quarter of the budget,  0.5% of the intellect in the commentary box.

1942 First gay gag, closely followed by a slight history lesson.  Bigger than ever, is it better ?

1943 Whoops.  SBS gets a caning inadvertently by reference to live coverage and the time of day in Australia.  No live television here,  not in this jurisdiction.

FRANCE Very strong & alluring. Bonnie out-Tylered ? Sensational start and not in English.

1948 STFUA He just doesn’t realise that less is more.

LITHUANIA  Oh dear. Tranglish strangles a Baltic hopeful. Does he know what he is “singing”. Useless and worse.”Because of your shoes” … Diggi-Loo Diggi-Ley – total crap.

MOLDOVA This is where the Lithuanians could learn a thing or two.  I suspect she is singing about footwear, but who knows.  Three songs in and one has musicality. Not a good omen.  Better than Lithuania, which is not saying much.

Ad Break #1 – “The Pain Game” ad seems very applicable to our mates in the commentary box

2000 SBSCCA Have they no shame ? GET ON WITH IT. “Your song is called ‘Marry Me’, what’s that about ?”

FINLAND I should back “Team Ding Dong”. Has she got a skin condition below her left knee? Nonsense and having a lend. Chuck it out, Lordi come back.

2006 STFUA “I don’t know what’s going on” says Sam.  Nothing changed there. Also, good to hear ill informed cultural commentary on SBS.

SPAIN In lingo and that probably helps. Almost up with the beret wearing mob, the bagpipes help heaps – long tradition of that in Spain.

BELGIUM “Love kills”, commentary annoys. No more criticism – just awful, try hard nonsense. As for this dude – is it a song ? Gets better, particularly if you have a few snorts of amyl.

ESTONIA If only we could have a new beginning. 45 minutes in and I don’t know if I can cope any more. Estonia in language and that is splendid.  Re-frame from the sub-inane chatter. Old school song, handsome backing singers. Well done Tallinn !! It could be 1985 but what the heck.

BELARUS   It could be 2003 but what the heck. Generic eastern sound with pathetic & obvious gay overtones.  The glitter ball provided just in case anyone missed the marketing campaign.  This better get better – worse than last year so far and REMEMBER I have heard nothing up to tonight. I fear this may win.

Ad Break #2 – promoting the radio station where 1989 is AD 0.

SBSCCA  Is there any word beyond crap ? GET ON WITH IT (#2) Shame he didn’t spear tackle Sam P.

MALTA Great until the lyrics started.  “Risk assessment” … come on dude. Actually, silly and comely. On the cusp of being witty. Thank you George Cross Island … nice.  3rd or 4th I reckon.

RUSSIA Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo. It’s Eurosong by the numbers. Bring back Malta’s snare drum player.  NOW. I have heard this 1,983 times before. If it was in language at least I would be confused. I fear this might win. “What if ?” – WTF.

GERMANY Every dance party song of the last 15 years chopped up, mixed with minimal talent and garnished with cynicism. Bad luck Russia. She’ll get extra marks for negotiating the stairs. A triumph of lighting over content.

At this point I fear Germany is firming ahead of Russia, France & Belarus.

ARMENIA Back to dreck of the highest order. Please, someone hold a gun to his head and ask him to explain what the song is about. General comment: has there been any advancement in the ESC in the last decade – 2013 is not one of the best … so far.  There’s still time to save the day.

“Anyone here from Albury-Wodonga ?”

Another gay gag.  Hilarious.

NETHERLANDS #13 … something different.  Sophistication survives in Malmö. Classy. Musically interesting. Difficult.  It has no chance – well done Hilversum. I fancy the “hard core” will have spent most of its duration updating thetr Facebook status. Superb effort by the Dutch.

ROMANIA So truly ridiculous it deserves at top 5 placing. The Ceaușescus would be tapping their toes to this one. A triumph of gimmick over every single other trait of entertainment possibility.  Mr Lloyd Webber should sue BTW … it is rather adjacent.

Ad Break #3 Vaccination scare show. Not as bad as Finland.  SBS promo can’t pronounce “Eurovision”

SBSCCA – beyond description.  Bad. Get the Romanians back on.

UNITED KINGDOM The girl is from Skewen NOT Mumbles. Dim diolch Bonnie fach – no ta love. The Dutch, the French, the Spanish and, heaven help me, the Romanians have brought more than this dirge. It will do better than the Hump, but there again it has to.

Good to see the high level of analysis on #sbseurovision

SWEDEN No. No. Then acrobatics. Truly awful … and that’s the first 40 seconds. Actually bland despite the emoting. They don’t want to win. En passant, anyone notice the lack of SEX and associated fandangles this year ?

HUNGARY Despite the dancing cartoon penises this is rather lovely. Smart use of English subtitles while singing in language. Very effecting.  Being different can pay dividends.

DENMARK Reference to the 1964 ESC with the drummers … anyone else get that ? So, this is the favourite ? Blurge musicale. The  more frenetic the camera work, the poorer the song. Generic tosh. And it just goes on and on and on.

ICELAND Well done cod botherers … in language. Sex finally arrives in the form of a fisherman.  Sung from the heart and for his country. Great effort, has absolutely no chance – such is ESC 2013. Loved it.

BBTW(OIGN)A The one and only one of these.  They just annoy the bejaabers out of me.

AZERBAIJAN His IKEA scenery should never have been placed close to an allen-key. The key change will fool a few people.  They just should not be in the contest. PERIOD.

Ad Break #4 Recent songs are redeeming the event.  The question will be how the juries deal with differences (NL, IS, H, F & E).  I fear Eurosong blandness will win out … Germany or Belarus.

SBSCCA Getting worse by the second

GREECE Bloody brilliant. Hey Hey comes to ESC … and partly in language. This truly saves the night and has Brunswick on its feet

UKRAINE Sack the focus group in Kiev. Caterwauling.

ITALY Classy, handsome, heartfelt and above & beyond the evening’s standard. Italy you are the heart and soul of ESC, never go away again. Brilliant, wonderful.

NORWAY Back to what some people will believe to be cutting edge. Bjork she ain’t, but not the worst by a long way. Mmmmmmm.

GEORGIA A duet without connection – where are Pearl Carr and Teddy Johnson when you need them ? Very loud.

IRELAND IML finally arrives, but a bit vanilla.  Sorry folks, but when leather finally arrives …. it’s generic.  Boppy,poppy, winning kinda song.  It might just take the GrandPrix.

My top five

Italy

Netherlands

Hungary

Greece

France

My feared top five

Ireland

Belarus

Russia

Germany

Norway

And with that, I hand over to the non-entities with dreams of being employed by MTV Greenland who will give out the scores.

The stand outs this year really stood out, but there was far too much derivative pap that could have been sung ten years ago.  Innovation deserves reward – I fear it will be left orphaned.

Ireland is my pick.

Sit back and wait for the numbers.

And didn’t we have to wait.

Forget 99 luftballoons, 39 sycophants announced the scores and were tedious beyond measure.

Denmark takes it out.  It could have been far worse.

The creativity of the Italians, the Dutch, the Greeks, the Hungarians and the Icelanders got some reward. It could have been much worse.

The cash of the Brits, Germans and a few others which props up the ESC got very little bang for its buck, quid or euro. This could get bad.

And so to 2014 and Copenhagen or maybe Aalborg.

Back to basics

In Uncategorized on May 19, 2013 at 2:56 pm

This time last year I was up to my upper nipple levels in the Eurovision Song Contest.

All the songs had been dissected, indeed many were known backwards … a great advantage in the case of the Hungarian entry.

The entrants were researched and delved into, indeed some of them should have been sectioned as well.

There was barely any part of the Baku 2012 event that wasn’t on my radar.

You can’t do hours of radio without that kind of preparation, but it did – spoiler alert – more than somewhat diminish the contest as something to be enjoyed pure and simple when it finally happened.

Well, this year is different.

Completely different.

I haven’t heard a note and have nary a notion about the build-up.

This is no embrace of a time long ago in a land far away.

By this time in 1971 I would have had a better idea of what to expect, which singer I fancied a bit and already drawn up the scoresheets for the big night at 4 Broadmead Close.

So this is the set up for some live blogging from 1930.

Blog code alerts:

SBSCCA – SBS Cultural Cringe Alert e.g., either of the presenters ask barely English-speaking contestant “And what do you want to say to your fans in Australia ?’

BBTW(OIGN)A = Bring Back Terry Wogan (Or Insert Graham Norton) Alert – nuf said.

STFUA – basically, without going into acronymic (?) detail, a plea for the alleged SBS commentators to stop telling up how camp the whole event is.

I shall return with no clue whatsoever as to the songs or the outcome.

Pure and very simple.

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