String Quartet No.2: The Installing

Saturday 21 June 2008

I’ve put up some photos of the Redrawing show (plug!). This is the first installation I’ve done where I didn’t have to provide all the material, equipment, logistics, and labour myself – thanks to the curator and gallery staff of two.
The Spare Room, a small, separate room inside Project Space designed for video work, seemed like the natural location for my work in the show. This way the work had an immersive environment of its own, and could still interact with the other artists’ work in the main room by being clearly audible through out the space – and in the building foyer, too. I was assured the other artists didn’t mind this.

The room has two speakers set into the ceiling, so it was relatively simple to set up the work without an excess of intrusive equipment. The speakers don’t have a great sound quality and are getting a bit clapped-out, but the loud, consistent sound of the work helps to disguise these defects.
Because String Quartet No.2 originated as an attempt to emulate Phill Niblock, I thought it was only appropriate to add a video component to the work for exhibition purposes. Fiona Macdonald kindly made me a video of a blank, white screen, which plays on a continuous loop in the room while my cheap Malaysian laptop performs the music. This way the installation further emphasises the structural connection to Niblock’s work, and its substantial differences.
Visitors familiar with Niblock’s music have all commented that my piece isn’t nearly loud or grating enough. That’s partly because it’s pretty much as loud as those speakers in the ceiling can go but as I said, I knew that my piece would inevitably end up sounding different to a Niblock piece, even when imitating him as closely as I could. The volume is a flexible matter, in any case.

Please Mister Please

Wednesday 18 June 2008

Luigi Nono, “A Carlo Scarpa, architetto ai suoi infiniti possibili” (1984). Sinfonieorchester des Südwestfunks /Michael Gielen.
(10’03”, 7.32 MB, mp3)

The mummified corpse of Jeremy Bentham reads inter-office emails.

Wednesday 18 June 2008

And Percy Pigs. Never mind.

The tide turns: George W. Bush irritates a blogger

Tuesday 17 June 2008

This time he’s really gone too far. As part of his farewell tour of screwing up bits of the world wherever he goes, Bush decided to arrive at Heathrow at about the same time as my terrible, bumpy, putrid, disease-ridden 23-hour Qantas flight from Melbourne. Thus my journey ended with an extra hour of sitting cooped up in Economy on the tarmac about 20 metres from the arrivals gate, waiting for Air Force One to land, fanny about on the taxiway and disgorge its toxic cargo into a trio of US helicopters.
We were probably the unauthorised plebs with the clearest plain view of the whole ritual. My girlfriend took some photos of POTUS and his posse, but she was using a phone from an aisle seat so the shots all came out looking like she photographed her own armpit under a blanket. Some friendly BritsAustralians in the window seats got us the plane photo.
Another black eye for the British. It took only one American to bring Heathrow Airport to a standstill, something it usually takes thousands of British airport staff to achieve.

A Friendly Reminder

Monday 9 June 2008

Tomorrow night: 11 June @ Stutter*

Natasha Anderson / Ben Byrne / Sean Baxter
Contrabass recorder/laptop/junk

James Rushford / Judith Hamann / Sam Dunscombe
Improv laptop and string textures.

Also: myself

Presenting the latest in my series of compositions for unstable feedback systems. My ageing laptop will create a digital simulation of nested analogue feedback loops, synthesising all the sounds live. Unless I can’t get it to work, in which case I’ll just play a CD and pretend it’s the computer doing it.

Horse Bazaar
397 Little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne
8:30 PM
$5 on the door

Mock Tudor No.2 (Why doesn’t someone get him a Pepsi?)

Saturday 7 June 2008

Now that my work is on display in the Redrawing exhibition (plug!) I’ve started a new page about my art exhibitions on the main website.
I’ve mentioned before that:

Rather than try to be original, I have worked for some time with the idea that each of my works should be consciously modelled on another composer’s works or techniques, and so instead of attempting an original work that unwittingly imitates an older one, I might create an imitative work which, in its divergences from the model, allows some genuine originality to emerge.

This has already happened with String Quartet No.2 (Canon in Beta), which is on show at Redrawing, where people have been remarking on the differences between my work and the original it seeks to imitate, as much as on the similarities.
I recently discussed how David Tudor was forced by material circumstances to recompose his live electronic work Microphone. In 2002 I made my own homage to Tudor’s work, in an installation at Bus gallery in Melbourne.
I wanted to try to create for myself, using only the sound equipment I had readily to hand, a live sound installation that worked along the same principles as Microphone. The sound would have to be generated live, caused by feedback between two loudspeakers and a microphone. Furthermore, the sound had to continually change, without falling into stasis or obvious, repetitive patterns.

Mock Tudor No.2 (Why doesn’t someone get him a Pepsi?) differed from Tudor’s piece by producing a constant stream of sound, which produced varying patterns by splitting the signal from the microphone into two streams, each of which were treated to a series of interacting processes such as flanging, phasing, modulation. The two different types of rather broken loudspeaker acted as filters, as did the cheap microphone used, which selectively picked up sounds to recombine into the feedback signal. Any sounds made in the room were quickly subsumed into the feedback hum.
Mock Tudor No.2 was another work of radical amateurism, producing distortion away from a pre-existing model by trying to copy it as closely as possible. The piece functioned as a tribute both to Tudor’s compositional thinking, and his general, practical approach to his work.

Australia decides that 15 year olds may look at other 15 year olds after all

Friday 6 June 2008

As was to be expected, I’ve been too preoccupied to update anything since arriving in Melbourne for the show (plug!); but now I’m sitting next to a guy looking up Lesbian Upskirt Spanking Parties on YouTube in the back of an IGA in Swanston Street which doesn’t seem to bother charging anyone using the computers.
Also to be expected, a host of pundits have crawled out of the woodwork to miss the point completely about that whole Bill Henson tizzy. Their main point of arfument: yes, we know he’s a child pornographer, but how much porn is too much? Pity they all forgot to think about whether or not Henson’s photographs were pornographic in the first place.

The Classifications Board has now declared the picture “mild” and safe for many children…. Considered one of the most confronting in the Henson exhibition, the picture came to the board for classification when it was discovered in a blog discussing pornography and the sexualisation of children. But the classifiers found the “image of breast nudity … creates a viewing impact that is mild and justified by context … and is not sexualised to any degree.”

Please Mister Please

Friday 30 May 2008

The Plums, “Au Revoir Sex Kitten” (1992).
(4’08”, 3.97 MB, mp3)

Stockhausen takes the High Road, Tudor takes the Low Road.

Friday 30 May 2008 has been raving about satelloons for the past six months or so. As part of his search for these retro-futuristic structures – giant inflatables, geodesic domes – he has recently discovered the Pepsi Pavilion at the 1970 Osaka World Fair:

An origami rendition of a geodesic dome; obscured in a giant mist cloud produced by an all-encompassing capillary net; surrounded by Robert Breer’s motorized, minimalist pod sculptures; entered through an audio-responsive, 4-color laser show–yes, using actual, frickin’ lasers– and culminating in a 90-foot mirrored mylar dome, which hosted concerts, happenings, and some 2 million slightly disoriented Japanese visitors…

The dome was fitted with an elaborate sound system, incorporating 37 speakers distributed around the space, controlled by an elaborate mixing system designed by Billy Kluver for E.A.T. – Experiments in Art and Technology. One of the composers who worked with E.A.T. was David Tudor, who composed several electronic pieces specially for the dome’s capabilities.
The Tudor composition that has particularly captured my imagination is Microphone, an elegant exploitation of electronic phenomena developed while working in the Pavilion:

One of them dealt with shotgun microphones which are highly directional, using them in conjunction with the modifying equipment in the sound system without any sound input. That is, nothing went into the microphones except the natural feedback…. by simply pointing the microphones in space and then having the sound moving between the loudspeakers at certain speeds, the feedback would occur only for an instance. There were marvelous sounds made that reminded me of being on a lonely beach, listening to birds flying around in the air.

Sadly, the Pepsi Pavilion did not last long. The soft drink company had sponsored the project on the assumption that they would be associated with hip, psychedelic rock concerts, not avant-garde art. When costs went way over budget, Pepsi pulled the plug and attempts to save the Pavilion failed. That, and the structure was already beginning to sag and leak. The Pavilion was demolished, and the chance to hear Microphone, or any of the other pieces created for the space, was lost.
What I find particularly admirable about Microphone is that Tudor decided to see if it was possible to recreate the piece in a studio, using only a pair of conventional speakers.

Mills College gave me the opportunity to work with multi-track recording and they had two echo chambers that were very far away from the studio. So I thought, ‘OK, lets see if I can reproduce Microphone without the original space,’ so I used both echo chambers and the same modifying equipment and lo and behold it worked.

Tudor worked in a way that depended upon the natural principles of electronics and acoustics, not upon the particular qualities of a given piece of equipment. He used a similar method to recompose another Pavilion piece (Pepscillator) into a piece that didn’t rely upon a unique PA system (Pulsers).
It’s interesting to compare Tudor’s approach to that of Stockhausen, who also happened to be performing in another dome at the Osaka fair. Many of Stockhausen’s works cannot be realised without elaborate staging and equipment: Helicopter String Quartet is the most notorious example (not to mention the seven-day opera of which it forms a small part). Stockhausen demands these extreme commitments of time and expense to realise a unique vision. It is up to others to find new ways to make their own interpretations of his ideas – such as the concert-hall reimagining of the String Quartet in Michigan earlier this year.
Tudor, on the other hand, did his own reimaginings, giving his attention as much to the how and why as to the sounds themselves, allowing his music to be heard with equal force, regardless of the circumstances of its production.

“I don’t know what that means but I think there is a suggestion of indecency about it.”

Thursday 29 May 2008

Last weekend in London Tate Modern hosted photographer Nan Goldin’s slideshow The Ballad of Sexual Dependency. A brief writeup in The Guardian mentions, in passing:

In many ways, [singer/songwriter Patrick] Wolf’s input actually freshened up some work which has become slightly over-familiar, and gave extra emotional heft to shots that no longer seem so shocking or transgressive (though Goldin defiantly kept in the picture of two young girls that caused huge controversy last year).

Comments from readers are mostly affably jaded:

Shocking in 1983 perhaps but with the rise and rise of fetishy sex, drag queens, transexuals and Bondage/S&M fans is commonplace imagery today. Still good art though. Perhaps we do need a new Mary Whitehouse, as many Daily Mail readers are suggesting, if only to remind us how much fun decadence is one you de-commercialise it.

The “huge controversy” mentioned was when police seized a Goldin photograph from the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead on suspicion that it was child pornography.
In a few days I’ll be back in Melbourne for my upcoming show (plug!), but the climate there is a bit chilly for artists right now, and not just because of the weather. Right now, Australian Federal Police are investigating the National Gallery of Australia as part of what appears to be a self-appointed crusade against “immoral” art, after New South Wales police raided a Sydney gallery’s exhibition of photographs by Bill Henson. Henson and the gallery owners are being accused by police, politicians and various lobby groups of being child pornographers, and have been threatened with criminal prosecution.
Until last week, there had never been a complaint about Henson’s photographs during his 30-year career, despite it being shown all over Australia and the world, including the Venice Biennale, the Guggenheim, and best of all, forming part of the permanent collection of the High Court of Australia.
Commentary in Britain has been pretty much as you would expect:

This isn’t the first time Australia’s cultural immaturity has been revealed in all it’s ugliness, and it won’t be the last…. Freedom of expression has a long way to go in the provinces.

To show its maturity, the British government has just announced its plan to “toughen up” its child pornogrpahy laws to include the outlawing of drawings of child abuse:

When the existing ban on photographic images was enacted, the argument in principle was that real children are exploited and harmed to make these images, which is true. That entire philosophical plank on which the legislation rested has now been kicked casually away. If you, alone in your room, put pencil to paper and draw – for your eyes only – an obscene doodle involving a child, you will invite a prison term of up to three years. There is real scope for vindictive citizens to ransack desks or bins and call the police.

(The title quote comes, of course, from one of the most influential literary critics, Detective Vogelsang of the South Australian Police Force.)

The Secret History of Peckham

Wednesday 28 May 2008

Except for an unwitting pass round the back of one of the sites on a drunken midnight ramble in February, there’s a major London pilgrimage I still haven’t done, even though I’m living right in its backyard. Since 1973 artist and Peckham native Tom Phillips has been working on 20 Sites n Years, one of the great works of rephotography:

Every year on or around the same day (24th May – 2nd June) at the same time of day and from the same position a photograph is taken at each of the twenty locations on this map which is based on a circle of half a mile radius drawn around the place (Site 1: 102 Grove Park SE15) where the project was devised. It is hoped that this process will be carried on into the future and beyond the deviser’s death for as long as the possibility of continuing and the will to undertake the task persist.

As someone who has attempted a similar undertaking – much smaller and less thorough, but based on the same principle – I understand the fascination these projects can exert. The city is revealed as a living thing, continually changing, but with each element changing at its own pace. A temporary sign can endure for years, while the building behind it vanishes. Then again, some scenes will suddenly travel backwards in time, reverting after a succession of revisions to way they were some years earlier after.

Phillips has uploaded all the photographs from the past 35 years on his website, with his own analysis and discussion of the history of each site (although these written observations end at 1992, the 20th anniversary). [amazing late-night observation eaten by dodgy web browser]

Like a Lizard Drinking

Monday 26 May 2008

I’m flat out trying to get everything together for the upcoming shows in Melbourne. Redrawing opens (urk) next week: the website has some images from the participating artists.
On the music page, “The Night We Burned Down Bimbo Deluxe” has finally got its own page, as part of a series made at home on the computer, using free and shareware programs, ping pong tables, line noise, random splotches, leftovers, and pornography. Hentai-Oto-Ma: Last Pieces for Digital Synthesis may be NSFW if you have a sensitive workplace, or work for an Australian politician.

I still can’t believe it took four guys to write this

Monday 26 May 2008

For the full 2008 Eurovision wrapup, see below.
Something seems to have been lost in translation. From the Eurovision website for this year’s Latvian entry:

Wolves of the Sea is a story about the historical endeavours of our ancestors, and tells of their backbreaking lives, rebellious spirit, freedom, masculinity and tenderness while showing their patriotism and love for the planet earth, and an unquenchable thirst for adventure.

[Cue cheesy techno music]

With a hii hii hoo and a hii hii hey!
We‘re hoisting the flag to be free
We will steal the show, Jolly Rogers go
We are wolves of the sea

Don’t try to run it’s all set and done
There’s treasure in sight
We are robbing you blind I hope you don’t mind
We are taking it all tonight

Just walk away we’ll count it all
Pirates will stand and the loser will fall

With a hii hii hoo and a hii hii hey
We’re bound to be close to the sea
Our captain will stand on the bridge and sing
Pirates are all we can be

With a hii hii hoo and a hii hii hey!
We‘re hoisting the flag to be free
We will steal the show, Jolly Rogers go
We are wolves of the sea

Down to the core we’re coming for more
With a sword close at hand
We are scary and bold chest full of gold
We get sealegs when sighting land

The hook of our captain is looking at you
There’s no Peter Pan so what can you do

With a hii hii hoo and a hii hii hey!
We‘re hoisting the flag to be free
We will steal the show, Jolly Rogers go
We are wolves of the sea

Welcome to the Belgrade! Let’s Get Crazy! Eurovision wrapup 2008

Sunday 25 May 2008

It was a quiet Eurovision night at home in the Bunker, what with the girlfriend being ill and trying to cough up her pelvis. The codes in brackets refer to the drinking game tally.
The broadcast itself began with a long, long apology from the BBC; not for last year’s Eurovision, nor the televised competition to pick the UK’s Eurovision entrant, but for last year’s UK Eurovision nomination contest. The apology was a lengthy explanation of what happened to the money viewers were charged to vote by phone, regardless of whether their votes counted or not. No apology was forthcoming for sending Scooch last year.
Thus the evening began with us feeling a little confused and depressed. That Serbian woman who won with that uncannily forgettable song last year came on and immediately caused confusion among the drinkers at home by launching into a number which seemed determined to combine every Eurovision cliche into a single, ungodly monad. Debate raged over whether her BF, DKC and ITE counted for drinking points, given that the competition hadn’t actually begun yet. I’m not sure if the sturdy woman in the suit with the butch haircut surrounded by women dressed half-and-half as bride and groom (split lengthways) was trying to tell us something.
Drinking officially began when the two hosts appeared and immediately pulled a double-Viktor by kissing each other, with a lengthy, stilted explanation about how Serbia is all about Love.
Romania: Again, a slightly confusing and depressing start. Nico and Vlad are not the singer and piano guy, as it first appears. After about a minute of dreary ballading, they suddenly have a rethink and turn into a dreary Wayne-and-Wanda style Andrew Lloyd Webber duet sung flat with a previously hidden woman, who is more likely Nico than Vlad.
United Kingdom: For a British entry I didn’t mind this too much. Of course, I liked it a lot better eighteen years ago when it was sung by Madonna and called “Express Yourself”, but the canny Brits have figured that because most of eastern Europe is still musically trapped in 1989 this inferior imitation will get them some votes (ha!). The woman singing backing vocals seems to be really playing her electric guitar, even though its not plugged in and no guitar can be heard in the music.
Albania: A solo diva surrounded by three acrobatic guys is this year’s White Suit. Accessorise with a fierce headwind and voila! Instant Eurovision act. (DKC)
Germany: Four hard-ridden hookers from Hamburg dress and sing ugly to try to distract punters from their treetrunk legs. (SR)
Armenia: Another wailing woman cribbing from Ukrainian tribal pop. All that’s missing is a couple of fake drummers on stage. (CR, SR)
Bosnia & Herzegovina: I’m sure these two countries were hyphenated last year; don’t tell me they’re going to separate too. This is the Eurovision we come to see: completely batshit insanity. A gurning leprechaun of a man and a mad woman with an afro run around a clothesline bellowing tunelessly at each other while veiled women in wedding dresses stand behind them knitting furiously. They know they’ve got a lock on the Balkan vote, so they must be taking the piss, surely?
Israel: You couldn’t half tell from looking that the Israeli broadcasters have decided that Eurovision entrants must have done time in the Israeli Defense Forces. It was presumably their idea to have it sung in Hebrew too. It may or may not have been their idea to make it as grey and dull as possible.
Finland: Metal is the new pop! It worked for them two years ago, so this is obviously as long as they could wait without seeing if lightning will strike twice. Metal + Eurovision should be a natural combination, when you think about it. The only fake drummers for the night, complete with battle axes. My girlfriend thinks the lead singer is “dead sexy”, but that might just be the wind machine he’s singing into. (2CR, DKC, WM)
Croatia: A mime-woman on a Lazy Susan tries to put off an old man and a really old man called – get this! – 75 Cents. Ha! Later she pretends to play a solo on what appears to be a set of bottles partly filled with blood, which are presumably on hand if Mr 75 needs a transfusion to get through the song. Later the old guy pretends to do some scratching on a wind-up gramophone for no reason whatsoever. (2WM)
Poland: At last, a white piano. And a forgettable power ballad from a diva who looks like a former footballer who decided he wanted to be Agnetha Faltskog, wearing a dress meant to show off her tits but instead makes her look chunky. So linguistically confused she may lapsed into French by the end, we’re not sure. (ITE?, SR)
Iceland: About time there was a Eurotrash House Anthem, so 1990 you could sing along without having heard it.
Turkey: Rather than trying to catch up with the rest of the world, the Turks decided simply to wait until all indie rock sucks as hard as their own bands do. That time has arrived. (ITE)
Portugal: This would be the Toilet Break Song except the singer’s fat, which means you want to stay around and watch what might happen. I don’t know how that works. She has purply hair and looks like a goth chick who’s had to dress up nice for dinner at a restaurant with her family for Mother’s Day. (CR, DKC)
Latvia: They are Pirates of the Sea! Unlike those other types of pirates. Except the biggest pirate, who looks like Geoff from Accounts Payable who was brought in at short notice and had to grab the last pirate suit in the hire shop. Apparently being a pirate consists of jumping around to bad techno while singing “With a hi-hi-ho and a hi-hi-hey, we’ll steal the show, Jolly Rogers go!” I wish I was making this up. Where’s Adam Ant when you need him? (DKC)
Sweden: This was just last year’s song again, only with a scary stick woman instead of a MILF, struggling without the aid of a wind machine. All these 90s disco anthems are going to be back in style soon.
Denmark: Having read one too many Andy Capp comics they think they’re English, in the same cute/grotesque way that dogs sometimes think they’re people. (DKC)
Georgia: Two more mimes on Lazy Susans (no mime should be without one!) It’s grim out east, judging by this dirgey song sung by a tense woman who wears sunglasses and stands rigidly to attention, either because she’s blind or repulsively hung over. They change clothes under a tarpaulin, and generally sweat and strain to little effect. (BF)
Ukraine: Another tanned diva surrounded by acrobatic guys. That little head-jerking thing they do should be the next big thing in discos. Amazingly for Eurovision, the dancers seem to have rehearsed and manage to keep it together for the whole three minutes. (SR)
France: They’re trying very hard to look like they don’t care, with male and female backing singers wearing fake beards and shades, while the bearded and shaded Sebastien Tellier rolls up a little late in his golf cart, dicking around with an inflatable globe of the world. Here we see why genuine, living, breathing pop singers like Tellier don’t do so well in Eurovision. His casual rapport with the audience gets lost amongst the choreographed glitz, and the cameras, used to tightly controlled stage routines, kept getting lost, treating viewers at home to random shots of his feet, a blurry arm, the floor. (ITE, LKW)
Azerbaijan: Operatic emo, complete with castrati angels and goth devil princes! They really throw themselves into it, showing the Georgians what a Caucasian backwater has to do to get noticed around here. (BF, ITE)
Greece: Another would-be diva surrounded by three acrobatic guys, although it sounds like a lot of the vocal work is being covered for her by the singers shoved ignominiously to the back of the stage. It seems a bit unfair.
Spain: OK, Spain has really given up caring about Eurovision and decided that if people are going to keep voting for crap, they’re going to get their faces rubbed in it. Some joker with an Elvis wig and toy guitar presents the Macarena’s retarded brother, with the assistance of four clumsy women wearing what seem to be, from a distance, gumboots. It feels like it goes on for about 10 minutes. You can hear all the atmosphere being sucked out of the room, the crowd get the message and start booing. Job done. (TaTu, ITE)
Serbia: The Toilet Song, two years in a row! (2CR)
Russia: Maybe eastern Europeans are really into dull, anguished ballads right now, because here’s another mopey git with no shoes and a friend pretending to play the violin with a fake emotional intensity rarely seen outside of a Bugs Bunny cartoon. Then Randy Quaid appears and starts ice skating and the mopey git unbuttons his shirt. Yes, ice skating. The barefoot git is standing on the skating surface which may or not be real ice, so perhaps this is one of those Slavic toughness contests you hear about every now and then. (WM)
Norway: “Why ain’t anybody loving me?” moans this hyperventilating sad sack. It’s a woman, in case you care.
The voting: Another costume change for both the male and female hosts. (2WC) Rather than stage any elaborate half-time show, the Serbs just plonk a local wedding band onstage to do their thing until the votes are fixedcounted, which is actually a wise decision as they’re pretty enjoyable and no-one’s paying too much attention anyway. When they finish, the hosts reappear. Only the woman has changed her dress again (WC) and she barks a propos of nothing “That’s an unforgettable moment.”
Mr Stockselius peers over the top of his computer screen and announces to the world that “voting is the most exciting part” of Eurovision.
Everybody votes for the same people they vote for every year and the country with the biggest ethnic diaspora and most neighbouring countries dependent on oil and gas supplies wins. The bright spot of the evening was the return, after several years’ absence, of the generally incompetent announcers. They had been much missed.
The woman from Portugal felt compelled to stop and give a shoutout to the friends she made at last year’s Eurovision, and was given the hurry-up by the hosts. (2HU) The Czech announcer made a hash of announcing the votes (they only have to name three countries now, instead of ten like in the old days. How hard can it be?) and started corpsing. (2SS) The Swedish guy was quite obviously pissed.
The woman in Denmark is also a little tipsy and tries to sing the chorus of her country’s song, but even she can’t remember it. The announcer from Montenegro gets booed by the live audience in Belgrade. Russia wins and lots of nothing happens, the camera panning aimlessly around an empty stage while the end credits music for Mario Kart 64 plays on a loop in the background.
Finally the mopey Russian guys and their figure-skating buddy appear. “You have to receive the flowers,” the lady host barks at them. Mopey git takes off his shoes and sings again while the credits roll.

Eurovision 2008: the pre-game warm-up

Friday 23 May 2008

The semi-finals for the Eurovision Song Contest are over, with the final happening in Belgrade tomorrow evening. What I didn’t realise about the newly rejigged semi-finals is that the selection of competing countries isn’t completely random: the Baltic and Balkan states have been deliberately split between the two heats so that they can’t all vote for each other. Even Greece and Cyprus have been kept apart to stop their annual round of mutual gratification.
The most shocking result from the semis was the elimination of Dustin the Turkey, the singing Irish puppet superstar with the self-referential song “Irland, Douze Points”. I guess that’s the penalty for not taking Eurovision seriously. And not being from eastern Europe.
After going to the trouble of pointing out the most likely losers to watch, the odds have now changed. The United Kingdom is running third least likely to win, with Germany now with the longest odds, behind Albania. The German song is “Disappear” by No Angels. Move over Elvis, move over The Beatles:

Their success story to date remains unique in the world of music and impressively illustrates that no one should underestimate girl power…

Previously, in Eurovision news: