Wednesday, 18 May 2016


Were ye watching it ? Were ye ?  

Like most things in my life, my children made me do it. 


We watched the Eurovision.  Well, most of the final on Saturday night anyway.

The pair of them were hooked from the start.  Everything about the show was bizarre – ideal viewing for two curious eight year olds.  The outfits, complete with their own light fittings.  Many ensembles looking like they might give friction burns.  Big hair, that might spontaneously combust.  The lighting and set design was pretty amazing, in an enormous space that made you feel that all of the residents of the EU could fit in. The live audience had arm bands with lights on, making them all twinkly and, according to my children, ‘awesome’. 

My boy said ‘eh Mam, there’s lots of … you know …’ pointing his head downwards, awkwardly.  ‘It’s okay Leon.  You can say BREASTS and yes, there’s lots of them.’  Right there in our faces. 

Thankfully, my boy is more interested in geography than breasts, He was fascinated by the multilingual speakers and he had a succession of quick-fire questions about the origins of accents all thought the show.  I would have needed a globe, a PhD in  Linguistics and a translator to keep up.  I spoofed my way through the conversation on European geography, but couldn’t quite explain why Australia was represented, but not other countries. 

I thought their interest would wane through the show, but the opposite happened, once the voting started.  The new score system (whereby the traditional vote from participating countries took place first and the telephone votes were added on subsequently) meant that the scores changed very quickly and the overall winner (Ukraine) appeared as a dark horse at the final hour.  It was a bit like a penalty in extra time.

Nicky Byrne and the Irish entry didn’t make it through to the final from the semi-finals on Thursday.  It was a shame really as the tune, ‘Sunlight’, seemed as good as any other Eurovision ditty on the night.

I am convinced that OTHER FORCES were at play.

I fear that Europe may have used the Eurovision as a ‘protest vote’ of sorts, to punish us for Ireland’s flahoolock spending in the past, knowing that Nicky Byrne is son-in-law of former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern.   Picture them, sitting in France thinking, ‘We will soften their cough.  This will show them.  Zero points'.  Usually a dapper dresser, Nicky’s jacket didn’t help the case at all.  It all just looked, well, too 'autumnal' for my liking.  Who wants to look at something so unseasonal in the heat in May?  Maybe, by some weird osmosis, science thing going on, Nicky has absorbed his father-in-law's liking for dodgy jackets ?

As a child, we tuned into the Eurovision religiously.  Although it was on in the background, no-one really paid attention until Ireland and England’s entries were played.  Then we tuned out again until the voting.  Our main aim was that Ireland would score higher than England.  If England gave us a lower score than we gave them, we would shake our fists at the televisions. 

My favourite Eurovision memory is of when Nicole, from Germany won the competition.  It was 1982 and I was in First Class.  The song was ‘A Little Peace’.  As far as I remember, she sang the song initially in German, but when she won the competition, her encore was in German and English (This may not be accurate, but it’s how I remember it).  She was only 17 when she won, with big hair and a guitar.  I had a major girl crush. 

The following week, our class teacher Mrs Tinnelly, obviously as taken by the lovely Nicole as me, got the class to learn the song off by heart.  ‘We are feaaa-thers oooon the breeeezzzze.  Siiiinnngg with meeee, my song of peeeaacce’.  Remember? 

You can listen to it here

… And of course there was Johnny Logan, crying in his white suit when he won in 1980 (or was that Alex Higgins when he won the World Snooker Championships? Or did they both cry ?) …

… And Linda Martin’s magnificent hair and one padded shoulder …

… And even though they were English, the girls from Buck’s Fizz whipping off their long skirts.  Europe gasped as Cheryl Baker and the other one revealed their mini skirts. 

We made new memories last Saturday night, us three pass-remarkable-couch-potatoes.  I’d highly recommend watching the Eurovision next year, but only with children.  If you haven’t any of your own, borrow some for the occasion and embrace your inner cheese.

(Janey, that's a lot of 'big hair' references in one little blog)

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