Tuesday, May 27, 2008

That Eurovision song contest

Hello all, and thank you Paulette for the invite!

For my Canadian and American friends reading this, here in "Blighty" we don't take the Eurovision Contest seriously. We watch it to just laugh at how seriously everyone else takes it. So, for your benefit too, here is my tongue in cheek summary as follows for those who saw it :

Russia. I was waiting for the violinist to poke out the eye of the singer. Was he epileptic? Why didnt the singer want to get off his knees? The Ice skater looked like he had wandered onto the set from a dance competition in a neighbouring studio by accidcent. Why didnt the singer just push him, and that mental violinist of the stage?

Serbia. Was there a lighting technician wandering around on the stage? One of the dancers looked like he had got lost. He kept approaching one of the singers as if to tweak something on their costume. Very strange. As for the song? Tried to pull of last years winner with another pseudo classical emotive mish mash. Minor key Balkan mountian side warbling. Rubbish. At least the singer was a bit prettier though.

Croatia. Ah now we're talking! Are they available for any Ukrainian zabavas?

Ukraine. Anilorak looked like she should have been in the strip bar across the road. Maybe she was earlier? Eurovision entry or pole dancing? Looked like a competition between her bottom and her face for most attention. Well, at least it will pump through the speakers of Mediteranean holiday resort clubs this summer. Those thighs could crush coconuts! Ouch!

Greece cute, but should have gone a bit further. You would bring this darling home to your Mum. Make your mind up. Put a pretty knee lengh drees on, or do an Anilorak, get it all off, and strut it.

Iceland. "Its my life and I don't want to change it?" What? Good, go back to Iceland and dont change it then. Who cares? Were the lyrics written by a two year old?

Poland. Polish girl impersonates anguished Essex girl. You got what you deserved, joint bottom with your new westernmost district, the UK. Anyone remember the Brit TV presenter Esther Ranzen? Cruel but tempted to say quite literally a bit long in the tooth.I can see the jokes coming here. Dressed in Blue. Long teeth. Blue tooth. Oops. Stop it.

France and Spain, and Boznia Hercegovina. at least had the courage to perform entries as ridiculous as the whole contest. You're slowly getting the joke boys and girls! Well done! Learning from Ukraine's entry last year. Now that was more like it!

Turkey. Nice enough chorus, but office clerks turned rockers for a night? Please.

Azerbajan? Artic frozen Robbie WIlliams impersonator or an angelic version of one of the X Men? What was that about?

Cant remember the rest except it all being vaguely amusing. As everyone is so keen to sing in English the best thing the UK could do is "celebrate our multiculturalism" and submit an entry in Polish next year as there are enough of them over here now. That would "throw the cat amongst the pidgeons" for political voting!

Finally, although I am a bit of a night owl, Im not that much of one.
For any future blog reference, the post time displayed is your local time.
Its 11.27 am over here.



Pawlina said...

Thanks, Stepan, for your post from "across the pond."

Great commentary ... a bit harsh at times but not particularly undeserved! :-) Especially loved your closing comment about the language issue. It would be quite hilarious if England submitted an entry in Polish.

But here's another thought. Since Celine Dion represented Switzerland at Eurvision 1988, how about another Canadian entry?

I can think of several that would rival Verka ... I (ahem) speak English well, sing very badly, and don't look a bit like Ani Lorak (her mother, possibly).

Or how about maybe The Ukrainian OldTimers. (I wonder if they got a chance to meet Yushchenko when he was in Winnipeg?)

Maybe you Brits might want to check out some of the overlooked treasures out here the colonies, eh?

Stanislav said...

I have different point of view. I had a good time watching ESC-2008 and I like effort and professionalism which Ani Lorak put in her brilliant performance.

Look at YouTube statistics. More then 1.2 million (!) views for Ani's semi final appearance. Read comments. It is #1 having Russia far back with 0.3 million views. How often we are #1 in the pop industry? Yes, she is hot, hot, sexy and strong. Because every competition is about to be strong, Ani just accomplished well her task. For Ukraine.

Pawlina said...

Yes, it's different, and absolutely valid.

I understand the appeal to native Ukrainians of commercial pop culture. But it holds little to none for people like Stepan and me.

Could be that we're just a bit jaded...or simply have different tastes.

Don't let that stop your enjoyment of it, tho! :-)

Stanislav said...

Do you mean Pawlina you are not under influence of pop culture born in West?? Lol. You have invented the culture. Some decided that Ukrainians have a marginal nisha in this World... Course, Britney, Avril or Bruce Springsteen are cool in what they are doing, you and your kids are watching that every day with no remarks. But an Ukrainian girl on the stage should be ashamed. Wearing some traditional wearing and singing folk. Right? I hope you understand my irony. Please, do not make difference between native Ukrainian and native Canadian Ukrainian espaecially in that matter.

Pawlina said...

You have a point, of course, Stan. I guess I am just bored with the pop-culture that I've lived with all my life, and long for something fresh and exciting nw that we're a "global village."

I particularly like the Latino sound, and the African world-beat stuff, and that sort of thing. I'd dearly love to see a similar Ukrainian genre emerge, but it's just not happening.

So everytime a "Shady Lady" gets hyped I just tune right out. Not saying everyone should too, just expressing my preference and longing for something that I consider superior.

It pains me, tho, when modern-day Ukrainians sneer at their ethnic heritage. We get enough of that from cultural snobs in the mainstream.

Vasyl said...


Please, please... do not lump Bruce Springsteen into the category of pop! That was a mistake my friend! Bruce is now doing some interesting world music type of stuff and has been on World Music Charts in Europe, something that not many of those you mention as pop have come close to achieving.

In Ukraine there is a great deal more talent that you can shake a stick at, but unfortunately there are too many people with money and very little taste or understanding of what good music is. I have to deal with this on a regular basis because of the circles I move in.

Unfortunately, there is so much which is over produced here in Ukraine, and there are still many people who feel that paying to go to a concert where some washed out nobody is lipsynching.

When I see posters up advertising a concert in Ukraine I am appalled that anyone would even have to put the words "Zhyviy Zvuk" on a poster for a concert. While, you may say we in North America invented the "pop" culture scene, the former Soviet Union in all its "glory" created a generation of people which are lost in space when it comes to understanding anything which is good music. They like to copy, and plagiarize, and sing to some "minusovka", something that real musicians don't do. The ones who do, are not not considered musicians in my books.

Ani Lorak is a talented singer, however, like many others in the industry, no matter where they are in the world very few are independent to do what they want. It's business and it is now a global business and far to many managers and producers in Ukraine are not thinking globally they are aiming their products at the Post Soviet "prostir" simply because they can not think outside the box.

Eurovision for one has become an opportunity for those from Eastern Europe to showcase their talent, but is by far a venue for extremely serious musicians to even consider, and this includes Ukrainian musicians. Many who are far more talented and interesting than the public in Ukraine even realizes, because of the their mentality, and because of the lack of a clear strategy in this country about the support of talent.

In fact friends of mine manage to make a great deal of money working with the First National TV Channel in Ukraine in order to promote whatever act that happens to be chosen to represent Ukraine, its simply business and it makes them money but they are PR people not talent management.

Sorry but I just had to get that off my chest... I couldn't even be bothered to watch the ESC-2008, but Ludwig... you did sum it up nicely.

That is my one hryvnia of comments for today. I could rant on for at least three days on this topic, but it wouldn't do any good.

Pawlina said...

I agree, Vasyl. While I understand and respect Stan's viewpoint on Ukrainian music, I am by and large very disappointed in contemporary music from Ukraine.

From what I've seen of the two major rock bands that have come to Vancouver recently, their main interest is the business (and trappings) of Show Business. From now on I'll certainly be viewing any self-styled "cultural ambassadors" through lenses that are, if not uncoloured, at least neither rose nor orange.

For all intents and purposes, I'd say that Ukraine has definitely reached global standards within the commercial mainstream music industry... which major American marketing gurus like Seth Godin are likening to the Titanic.

Definitely, more power to any Ukrainians who manage to make some serious coin before the Titanic goes down. But for my part, I'm more interested in acts with the foresight to stay (or get) off ships heading for icebergs.

Interesting news you bring about Bruce Springsteen. Puts a whole new spin on "Glory Days", eh? :-)