I watched the entirety of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, camped out on the sofa with acute sinusitis, dosed up on antibiotics and Sudafed. Every so often some hirsute Balkan hag would appear before me, gyrating and caterwauling as if her life depended upon it, and my ears would begin to bleed. I have never bled from the ears before; it’s a weird, discombobulating thing. The cushions were ruined.
In case you missed this musical extravaganza, the winner was a chap called Dima Bilan from Russia with a song called ‘Believe’. It was appalling, an ineptly executed, over-emotional howl set to a faux disco beat that immediately told you that you were in an old Intourist hotel in Irkutsk in 1985 awaiting some atrocious dinner featuring boiled gristle and rice but not to worry, because the whores would be around quite soon. Many European countries are bad at pop music; surely none are quite as bad as the Russians. The United Kingdom’s entry, meanwhile, was a fine slab of up-tempo Motown soul, nicely sung by a former binman called Andy Abrahams, probably the best UK entry of the last 25 years and one of the top two songs, by my reckoning, in this year’s contest. It finished joint last — back to those bins, then, Andy. The only song which pushed it close was a neat piece of girl-pop from Norway, sung by a very blonde Nordic lady who tried to appear beguiling and come-hither but had this expression which made you think that she’d put your testicles in a vice if you did dare, actually, to come hither.
The rest was the usual dross; lachrymose ballads, abysmal stabs at dance music (Spain’s contribution was, as usual, witless and lame) and the occasional burst of kindergarten heavy metal from countries on the periphery of our continent, i.e.