Countdown to Eurovision: Could be worse, could be Des Mangan

Tuesday 13 May 2008

The Director of the Eurovision Song Contest, Bjorn Erichsen, came this close to catching a clue when he complained to the BBC this week that their choice of host is a “problem” which is undermining the contest’s reputation:

Terry Wogan is a problem because he makes it ridiculous. I know he is very popular, and maybe that is the reason why a lot of people watch… The BBC gets a very large audience but it chooses to represent the Contest in a certain way. They take it far more seriously in Sweden. They have a genuine love and respect for it.

Ah yes, it’s all Wogan’s fault that people think Eurovision is ridiculous. Apparently viewers in Sweden will be taking that singing Irish turkey puppet very seriously this year.
How dare Wogan make Eurovision a popular, high-rating show, and retain a huge viewing audience in Britain while ratings across the rest of western Europe have nosedived? What we really need is sober, introspective chin-stroking over “Diggi-Loo Diggi-Ley“.

Countdown to Eurovision: Just when you thought Cliff Richard couldn’t possibly get any sadder…

Wednesday 7 May 2008

His faith may have guaranteed him an eternal reward in heaven, but that hasn’t stopped an unrealised desire from gnawing away at Cliff Richard for the past forty years. He’s still bellyaching over coming second in the 1968 Eurovision Song Contest.
But now, the hope of salvation is on the horizon*: the winning song, Spain’s imaginatively titled “La La La”, is accused of having won through vote rigging by Franco himself.

According to Montse Fernandez Vila, the director of the film called 1968: I lived the Spanish May, Franco was determined to claim Eurovision glory for his own country. The investigation, which is due to be broadcast shortly, details how El Generalísimo was so keen to improve Spain’s international image that he sent corrupt TV executives across Europe to buy goodwill in the run-up to the contest.

The two funniest moments in this report come when the 1968 Richard is referred to as a “starlet” (that can’t be right, can it?) , and that reference to “corrupt TV executives”. Apparently, duchessing is corrupt only when it is performed by TV executives, not by other businessmen, politicians, or Olympics officials.
* I know that phrase sounds meaningless, but it’s no worse than Sir Cliff saying, “I’d be quite happy to be able to say I won Eurovision ’68. It’s an impressive date in the calendar these days.” It’s a cheesy song contest Cliff, not one of your cheap, Portuguese wines.

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

Tuesday 6 May 2008


Countdown to Eurovision: Dogs and Cats Living Together, Mass Hysteria

Wednesday 16 April 2008

Entering a singing turkey puppet into the Eurovision Song Contest may have seemed pretty wacky but that’s just peanuts compared to the French this year: for the first time ever, their Eurovision song will be sung partly in English.
The French have a history of complaining loud and long about other countries singing in English, and of demanding new rules that each country should sing only in “its native language” (yay for monoculture!), so this abrupt volte-face is surprising, to say the least; the most surprising part being the implication that the French actually want to win this year.
Chauvinistic Frenchmen are, naturally, outraged:

François-Michel Gonnot, an MP in President Nicolas Sarkozy’s UMP party, said he was shocked by the choice. “Our fellow citizens don’t understand why France is giving up defending its language in front of hundreds of millions of television viewers around the world,” he said.

I give fifty-fifty odds on the autoroutes being blockaded by angry truck drivers dumping their loads of Sebastién Tellier CDs.
Of course the French won’t win, whether they sing in English or not, because they’re hated by the rest of Europe almost as much as the British. Perhaps if Carla Bruni were persuaded to enter Eurovision…

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

Friday 11 April 2008


Then I thought, “oh, it’s not such a bad thing to be seen as a guy who thinks he can’t be seen.”

Tuesday 8 April 2008

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

Thursday 3 April 2008

I'm thinking either (a) cage match! or (b) a singalong.

Filler By Proxy LXI: New directions in music appreciation

Sunday 30 March 2008

The curious and the adventurous are surprised by the pleasures that await them in Penetrating Wagner’s Ring.

(Found via Why, That’s Delightful!)

Three tunes I have heard coworkers unconsciously humming to themselves over the years

Thursday 27 March 2008

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

Tuesday 25 March 2008

Pleased to meet you ARF ARF ARF HOCK SPLUT PTOOIE!!!

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

Thursday 13 March 2008


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

Wednesday 5 March 2008

HA HA! You're in Bedford.

Countdown to Eurovision: the first battle is won

Saturday 1 March 2008

Dustin the Turkey has won the vote to become Ireland’s entry for the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest. Thus ensuring that they won’t, at least, come behind the United Kingdom this year.

Swings Like a Pendulum Do

Thursday 28 February 2008

Late Monday night the house swayed a little the way it does when a heavy truck rumbles past; only this time the peak vibration didn’t quickly pass. The house rocked up and down a little for five or ten seconds then stopped. I thought, “That was an earthquake, that was” (I’m getting down with the native speech patterns now) and went to bed….
Only to emerge from my house the next morning and witness TOTAL CARNAGE.

The Evening Standard, which is published three times in a day, pulled out all the hyperbolic stops. EARTHQUAKE HITS LONDON, it bawled, arrogantly trying to claim for the capital a geological event which actually happened in Lincolnshire! … It used the same agency photographs that were used around the world (none of them taken in London): a hole in a roof in Barnsley where a chimney pot had fallen through (I saw this on the front page of, I think, the Mail today); a woman in her dressing gown (“surveying the damage”, which mainly involved her standing on her own undamaged doorstep); some more chimney pots; and, er, that’s it.

But the best, most distinctly British reaction I’ve seen to the event has been this rather sheepish article, and the readers’ comments that follow it (“may I mention my bad cold in this context?”). I’ve been trying to discover what are the good bits of my British heritage to embrace. Part of this involves working out the fine distinction in nuance between Australian apathy and British cynicism, as seen on display in the linked article above:

When the bed shaking woke me up on Tuesday night I thought my boyfriend was in the throws [sic] of some kind of fit. Although having said that my concern did not extend to turning all the way over to check he wasn’t swallowing his tongue or anything so maybe on some level I just knew! I did however ask him if he was alright so I feel I can safely say I would have absolved myself of any guilt in the unlikely event of his death.

The former seems born of nihilism while the latter is of disillusionment. I am hoping my dual citizenship entitles me to both.

By “next week” I meant of course “next next week”

Wednesday 27 February 2008

I’ve finally moved properly into the new house, found my computer, found the computer’s power cable, gotten back online, gotten cut off, remembered to pay the broadband bill, and gotten back online again. Mind you, I also slipped out of town for a long weekend in Barcelona, so it’s not like I’ve been working. Barcelona’s a great city, but it has a dark side. Most particularly, every now and then I would come across a poster advertising an upcoming masterclass. By Craig David.
If life were an early ’70s sci-fi movie, you could destroy the evil supercomputer that had taken over the world by going up to it, showing this poster and saying “Craig David Masterclass”, then running for cover while it shouted “Er-ror! Er-ror! Does Not Com-Pute!” and self-destructed in an enormous, sparkly explosion. I figured this must be some mistake in translation, so I just googled for it:

The main purpose of the Masterclass in Space Movistar is getting artist and audience closer than ever, not only for fitness but also spiritually, as Craig David will answer questions from fans and explain what have been the sources of inspiration his best-known songs as “Walking Away” or his new single “Hot Stuff.”

I expect the source of inspiration for that first song was something to do with him walking away, yeah oh, to find a better day. Here’s hoping he does a masterclass in a country where the audience speaks English as its first language.