One of the things I was looking forward to on the plane to London was that I could finally watch the Eurovision Song Contest
the way God intended it: with Terry Wogan snarking over the top
and futilely barracking for the UK. More to the point, the show would not be nearly ruined by some idiot at SBS
interrupting with lame jokes, fake wogs and drag queens in some ill-starred attempt to add “local content”. It was all more or less worth passing up the chance to hear the MSO play Feldman’s Coptic Light
Now I hear from The Supermercado Project
that SBS has (once again) repented for its affront to European culture and is showing the BBC broadcast
straight! I go halfway round the world to avoid that idiot they had blabbing over the top of everything last time – all for nothing!
The Eurovision forum on SBS’s website is mostly taken up with discussion about the TV feed
*, with the majority expressing relief that no-one from SBS will be involved.
At short notice I’ve pulled a few people together into the Bunker for Saturday night’s Eurovision Drinking Game:
Phase One: The Performances
The Key Change. Whenever the singers dramatically change key during the final chorus. Additional drink for every successive key change in the same song.
The Buck’s Fizz. Whenever a performer sheds a piece of clothing. Finish your drink if the clothing loss is obviously unintentional.
Is That English? Whenever someone notices that the singers have switched from their native language into English in an attempt to win more votes. Two drinks if they try to dodge the language issue by *intentionally* singing gibberish.
The San Remo. Any occurence of visible armpits and/or pointing.
The Fine Cotton. Any appearance by mercenary singers flown in to represent a foreign country. Two drinks if they’re Irish.
The Tatu. Finish your drink if the audience boos (on telly, not in the living room.)
Don’t Mention The War. Each time the German entrant sings something about everyone being happy.
Phase Two: The Voting
The Wardrobe Change. If the female host is wearing a different frock after the songs have finished. Two drinks if the male host has changed his suit.
The Hurry-Up. Every time the hosts have to talk over the announcer from each voting country to ask “Can we have your votes please?” (i.e. shut the fuck up already). Finish your drink if the announcer tries to deliver a personal message to a relative watching at home in Murmansk.
The Gimme. When Greece gives twelve points to Cyprus.
The Old Europe. When the UK gets null points from France.
The New Europe. When the Baltic states all vote for each other.
The Sympathy Vote. When anything sung in French gets a point and/or the last country without any points finally gets off the mark. A special toast to any country left with zero points at the end.
The Sandra Sully. Each time an announcer fucks up the voting results. Finish your drink if they get so confused they have to start over.
The Master of Suspense. Any time an announcer realises that the pause for suspense only works if they announce the twelve points and then the country that has won them, not the other way around. (This may not happen.)
The “Viktor, You Very Unattractive Fellow.” Two drinks if the hosts speak in rhyme and/or pretend to flirt with each other. Finish your drink if the flirting is serious.
The first person who asks why Israel is in it, or why Italy isn’t, finishes their drink.
A toast to the first person who expresses dismay when they realise how long the voting is going to take.
A toast to the person who gets so drunk you have to secretly call a cab and persuade them they ordered it when it arrives.
* UPDATE: SBS has taken the forum down, even though there’s still a link to it on their Eurovision page. They still have last year’s forum, which is almost entirely filled with dozens of posts protesting against SBS adding their own useless talent, amongst hundreds of posts by bickering Greeks and Macedonians. Guys, it’s a web page, not a soccer match.
At last, someone’s putting in the effort to piss away their intellect on obsessively dissecting Nick Hornby’s egregious failures in cultural fortitude. Of course, many
, but not on a regular basis
: the London News Review
presents a recurring column, urgently titled Stop Lying Hornby!
This is a new feature dedicated to telling Nick Hornby that he has to stop lying. It’s possible that he’s just accidentally wrong, but it seems improbable that anyone could persist in making so many egregiously false statements in that matey, trust-me manner just by chance.
Three columns so far and counting. How wonderful: someone to hate him so I don’t have to!
Has been withheld.
Perhaps because it’s now all too close to home (figuratively and literally). Perhaps because this month’s crop isn’t that great. Or perhaps I don’t want youse rootrats muscling in on all the sweet, wealthy, menopausal action to be had in this town.
I hope you have all enjoyed my month’s holiday as much as I have. Just joking! Of course, I don’t take holidays. Ever. In fact, I’ve been hard at work parlaying my modest investments into some serious capital, so I cd spin this thriving internet concern into one those hateful yet lucrative insta-bookoids that clog up the shelves by the cash registers at Dymocks. The perfect gift for an infrequently-visited relative or workmate you have no real connection with. A show on Foxtel, too, was not out of the question.
Unfortunately, I had a “misunderstanding” with my “business partners” over some supposedly “misappropriated” funds in “brown paper bags” and a “racehorse”. Like any bold, forward-looking Australian entrepreneur I have fled the country and moved to London. To be precise, a cosy and modestly-priced bunker in the small, sleepy suburb of Robson Green, NW2.
Within these walls my empire shall rise from the ashes.
Bookworms: the Penguin on my night-table is Milne’s Mr Pim Passes By
. The bookmark is a small, creased photograph of Julie Dawn Kemp
Thanks to NetGuide, Excite and Magellan for the 4-star ratings, and especially to Point for listing me amongst the top 5% of all web sites – what an honour! Without your poorly-conceived business models sending you tits-up during the dot-com boom I would have had to make up my own meaningless awards graphics.
But most of all, I’d like to thank you. Not ‘you’ the readers; firstly because, in all frankness, without you I still would have conquered this search engine summit; and secondly because I seriously doubt I have any readers, and suspect that comments left here were actually written by me when drunk. Rather, I mean the people who set up and run the Google bots and Blogger, because otherwise I’d have to communicate this important information in the old-fashioned way: by pissing it in large, crudely-formed block letters against a wall or other similarly flat surface.
MICHAEL KROGER: These are only early results, but at this stage it’s looking encouraging for…
KERRY O’BRIEN: Sorry to cut you off there, but we’re just getting in reports of white smoke coming from the Sistine Chapel.
ANTONY GREEN (pecking at laptop): That’s not what my figures are telling me.
Nicole Kidman stars as African-born U.N. interpreter Silvia Broome, who inadvertently overhears a death threat against an African head of state scheduled to address the United Nation’s General Assembly. Realizing she’s become a target of the assassins as well, Silvia’s desperate to thwart the plot… if only she can survive long enough to get someone to believe her.
Oh no! An African head of state’s life is threatened! The world has truly gone mad! No wonder no-one will believe her.
Our Nicole: Ossifer! Someone wants to kill an African head of state!
Guy in uniform: Pffft! Who’d want to do something like that? Africa is so politically stable.
Our Nicole: Exactly! Don’t you see? The killing of an African leader will have serious repercussions around the world, too horrible to contemplate!
Guy in uniform:
My god, you’re right. We came so close to the brink of armageddon back when Ibrahim Bare Mainassara
Guy in uniform: Well, duh! How far back have we gone now?
Another guy: About ten years. Wait a minute, where’s Africa exactly?
Our Nicole: You don’t understand. This has special relevance for me, because I am also African.
Guy in uniform: You’re African?
Our Nicole: Well, African-born. I won’t confuse you by specifying a country.
Another guy: Now you got a cushy job in New York. Counsellor Troi is sensing White Guilt, here.
Guy in uniform: Enough with the frickin’ Counsellor Troi jokes, already.
Our Nicole: Anyway, he is African like me, and all countries on our continent are the bestest of friends. Besides, the people of his country will be devestated if their benevolent, competent, democratically-elected leader cannot serve out his full, corruption-free term in office before promptly calling a free and fairly-contested general election.
Guy in uniform: What country are we talking about?
Our Nicole: Monkeysflyoutmybuttania. Now are you gonna help me or do I have to call in Bob Geldof?
Guy in uniform: Alright, alright! We’ll help you stop this assassination plot you overheard.
Our Nicole: Well, it wasn’t so much of a plot, as such. It was more like a threat.
Gut in uniform: A threat?
Our Nicole: Yeah, this guy was all like, “I’ll kill that bastard, he’s eaten the last Tim-Tam!”
Guy in uniform: Never mind, we won’t let him get killed. Not until he’s safely on his home soil.
Guy in uniform: Welps, this calls for action. Who’s for donuts?
All: Mmmmmmmm, donuts…..
(Enter Monkeysflyoutmybuttanian ambassador)
!!! SPOILER ALERT !!!
HIM (slapping my shoulder): You happy?
HIM: Do you think it’s funny doing that?
HIM: Making a girl disappear, just like that.
ME: Depends on the girl.
HIM: Did you have to pay someone to make her disappear?
HIM: But you had to build a castle first, didn’t you?
HIM: But not here.
HIM: Not here. You know who you have to pay for that?
HIM: Ah. Someone will tell you!
Random quotage to be found by the bucketload, at Overheard in New York (Note: one of these statements may in fact be something I said over the weekend):
Yo, that’s an oxymoron. That’s like saying ‘Peter picked a pail of pickles’ and he’s a vegetarian.
I want Gloria Steinem’s eyeballs in my fucking martini!
Yeah, deers aren’t that bad. You’re in trouble if you hit a cow, though. And even worse would be a moose, because if you don’t kill it it’s gonna kill you!
No, I am serious. Three is menage a trois, but after that it is just an orgy.
Usually when I don’t post here for a few days I’ve either been having too much fun to be bothered writing about it, or recuperating from the after-effects of said fun. The past week has been different, HOLY CRAP BIG FUCKING SPIDER
Sorry about that. Jesus I hate it when they crawl over lightbulbs.
Anyway, I’ve been busy with complex and frustrating bureaucratic tasks which inadvertently led me to discover that the South Australian Office of Births, Deaths and Marriages keeps a list of last year’s baby names
online. Amongst the one-offs are Aragorn and Boromir. Wonder if they’re twins? Or if both names were given to the one kid: less misery to share around, but no second name to fall back on, either. In any case, someone’s been sentenced to paying out playground danger money until graduation.
These are boys’ names, by the way. I was going to look up equally embarrassing girls’ names until I remembered there are no females in The Lord of the Rings. Because they’re icky.
SA has also been blessed with a little Rowdy, and baby Ja-Rule. That last one will go down well around the Noarlunga Centrelink twenty years from now.
Readers in the State of California, U.S.A please note:
Reading posts on this website, or other sites linked to this website, will expose you to lead, a chemical known to the State of California
to cause birth defects or other reproductive harm. Wash your hands after reading this site.
If you insist on reading this site without washing your hands afterwards, take it outside to a place where human life is cheap and the point of a gun is the only law (hint: MEXICO). Persons returning to California with unwashed hands may be held liable for subsequent birth defects resulting from contact with said persons. Your kink is not OK.
Do not question the State of California’s legislature’s knowledge of chemistry. After all, when was the last time you heard of something stupid coming out of California? Exactly. Please, no need to apologise.
It’s an unknown but significant amount of lead. I cannot tell you everything that we know, but what I can share with you, when combined with what all of us have learned over the years, is deeply troubling
Residents outside the state of California who have read this without proper authorisation shall report to their local law enforcement authorities. Feel free to eat paint chips off the old shed out back.
It ends with me newly rich, and a cardinal in mufti shaking my hand: “Thank you for finally convincing him not to be buried with his rosary.”
Meanwhile, Laura of Sorrow at Sills Bend dishes hot cultural theorist gossip
by linking to paparazzi photos of Slavoj Žižek’s wedding. My initial responses: (a) Gak! (b) academics get paparazzi? (c) her name is what!?
In case you were wondering, Talavir
is an Italian trade name for a genital herpes treatment.
Okay, I think we can all agree that Mr. Hornby is rather hopeless at talking about an art form with which he couldn’t keep pace, even as it toddled ahead in a rather leisurely fashion. But Hornby’s books have also always sucked (and this is no new news. Here’s a passage from a review of his second novel: “Hornby invokes the two great streams of middle-class sentimentality: the Afterschool Special and The New Yorker story.”) Moreover, they have always sucked in exactly the same way: wan, dudely homogeneity, almost fatally low on elan vital, hybrid vigor, cultural difference, self-recognition, immediacy and intensity, but high on stunted aggression, a blindered sense of superiority and convenient, flattering identification.
The books no less than the music writing race toward the endgame of the lost, melanc- and alco-holic boor, the ugly white guy whom culture has passed by, but who still manages to feel smug and lash out at everyone who fails to replicate his values
. The sentiment is awful; the prose is no better than in his music writing. I’d propose that if the Hornby-bashers recognized the stakes of fiction to be as high as those of music, they wouldn’t forgive the books quite so easily.