Helloooo, Helsinki! ~ theatre notes

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Helloooo, Helsinki!

Tonight was Eurovision night here, and addicts of Europop kitsch (which seems to include 90 per cent of Australian theatre bloggers) refused all invitations and manacled themselves to the sofa, popcorn and chocolate at the elbow, sugary drinks in hand. And yes, the Finns - who take it all with deadly seriousness - did themselves proud. Even if they didn't win.

In this house, we had no problems with the winner, a classic power ballad called Moltiva (Prayer), sung with full-throated passion by the fully-besuited and unleggy Serb Marija Serifovic. And we thought it was brilliant that a woman could win without being noticeably pretty or taking off most of her clothes.

However, the result is not without controversy. Stung by Britain's second-last place, the BBC is asking "serious questions" about the biased voting of the Eastern bloc, which they blame for the poor showings by Britain and Ireland. Personally, I thought it an injustice that Britain got any points at all - Malta, what were you thinking?

Darling Brits, if you keep putting in zombie-pop entrants like Scooch, what do you expect? These staggeringly over-produced mannequins were squirmingly embarrrassing even by Eurovision standards, in a ghastly nudge-nudge-wink-wink sort of way. In their antiseptic prurience, they were even more offensive than Poland's pop porn (which fortunately didn't make it through the semi-finals). And although the Irish were not in that league, it has to be said that they were out of tune.

Our votes went to Bulgaria, Slovenia, Finland, Latvia and Sweden, with special points to the French for lifting out of last year's slump with those amazing pink Jean-Paul Gaultier outfits. And we hated Germany, Belarus, Russia, Spain and Turkey. But in the end, who can resist the Ukraine?



Verka Serdyuchka rocks! Or bounces. Or something.

13 comments:

George Hunka said...

Looks like they're spiking the vodka with bad acid again in my ancestral land. Now that's what I call postmodern!

Ian W. Hill said...

Whoa. Didn't know Barry Humphries was Ukrainian.

our man in berlin said...

Ms Serbia looked like the unpopular kid at school who had bribed the snobby prefects to come to her birthday party, luring them, perhaps, with free curling irons...yes, absolutely deserving winners! I share your disappointment that the UK got any votes at all but have to disagree about the French - as every year, the French team successfully distilled the essence of what annoys me about the nation as a whole. Serbia '08, can't wait!

Abe Pogos said...

Ms Croggon, last night I did the patriotic thing and watched Bastard Boys on the ABC. Your frivolous piece on Eurvovision raises two burning questions.

1/How dare you as a respected Aussie cultural commentator neglect watching locally made drama in favour of European trash?

2/How did Israel do?

Alison Croggon said...

Daniel, there was something about the French guy with the cat sewn onto his shoulder that charmed me - not to mention the hyper bald guy - and you have to admit that they were better than last year's wobbly chanteuse.

Mea culpa, Abe. It's one of my junky vices, along with video games. As for Israel, they didn't get through to the finals, though I thought they were funny. Although apparently the Iranians didn't think so. Why is Israel in Eurovision, anyway? If they're in it, why can't we be in it?

Abe Pogos said...

Having just done a quick Wikipedia search, apparently the Israel Broadcasting Authority is a full member of the European Broadcasting Union which produces the Eurovision Song Contest. Membership of the EBU is not exclusive to European countries. (Morocco is another non-European country that enters the contest.) Our ABC is an associate member of the EBU. I don't know what the criteria is for full membership but I suppose theoretically it is possible for Australia to have a song in competition one day.

Also, apparently the Palestinian national broadcaster has been accepted into the EBU and will be entering the 2008 competition.

As for your video game addiction, how is your dwarf these days? The last I heard he was Level 44. I don't know what that means but I know other gamers hold you in awe.

Alison Croggon said...

Thanks for that, Abe. That's quite interesting. Those other gamers can't be very hardcore - my son thinks I'm hopeless, because I play the same games over and over. As for the dwarf, he was long ago abandoned for the much more glam Samus of Metroid Prime, and then Josh got a Wii and now I'm at the boss of Zelda Twilight Princess which is frankly pretty cool, even if you look as if you're having fits playing it...

What's that noise? Is it my hi-culture cred popping sadly in the background?

Cassandra said...

Still working my way through my tape of last night, but preliminary thoughts - Serbia was a deserving winner (I'm a sucker for an overblown powerballad) - the pointless back-up singers with the immobile hair, who seemed to be there to hold Marija up (literally) in case she became too overcome by emotion, also added some amusement value. How did Terry Wogan describe them? "Prison warders" I think, but I like the snobby prefects image as well.

Ireland? Beyond. Tragic. Surely my ancestral nation can do better than that. Israel's entry was so weird and hilarious, I was disappointed they didn't make the final. So far I haven't got up to the car-crash that was the UK entry, saving that for tonight.

richardwatts said...

Ah, the magnificent tack-fest that is Eurovision. A delight on every level, and yes, down at the Spanish Club last night Ukraine was definitely the crowd favourite. They woz robbed, I tell you!

genevieve said...

My daughter's chorister colleagues from uni always have a Eurovision festnight - this year they have taped it so they can watch it without all the voting shenanigans at the end, postponing their own highjinks for a week.
I can't believe I missed it - damn. Thanks for the essential rundown on what has to be the biggest schlockfest of the year (and is much more fun that Dancing With The Stars, let's face it).

Nicholas Pickard said...

Its so nice to know that my house wasnt the only home in Australia with Eurovision blaring.

Most of my companions were behind the Bulgarian entry - but my personal favourite was the Romanian entry (and of course my beloved Slovenia).

What gave me irits though was opening up the SMH online and seeing front and centre the winner of the contest on Sunday morning.

And then (!) when I suggested to my friend that there should be a damn embargo on any news getting out about eurovision, he laughed at me and said that that was a stupid idea, as I was the only one who followed it!

I will send him your link immediately!

Alison Croggon said...

Too right, Nicholas - the spoiler on the SMH (and The Age) was a gigantic piss-off. I mean, really...

Casey B said...

I know the voting goes on too long normally, but I don't know about all this 12 - 10 - 8 and on to the next country... how are youngsters meant to learn to count in French?