Monday, May 26, 2003

In the US edition, demons dance like a white band on Soul Train.

Several of you have asked wanting to know what the Eurovision Song Contest is, and how bad can it be?

Since 1956, the Eurovision Song Contest has horrified people across Europe. Countries vote for songs and groups, there are embarrassing heats in which groups and songs compete and are voted on by your grandmother (in 1977 the UK even had a punk contender, who came in last in the UK vote with a song called "Shut the Door in my Face". And I was a 16 year old punk, and even I thought it was rubbish). Sometimes countries pick an established star to represent them and the viewers of the country vote on what song will be sung. Sometimes it's a band-song combination. Either way, most of the people in Eurovision look like they came straight from an Embarrassing Hairstyles website without stopping to comb their hair. Then again, Eurovision is fundamentally about national embarrassment. Here's a German embarrassing moment.

Occasionally, as in the case of Abba, the winning Eurovision band goes on to fame and fortune, but mostly they don't.

In the UK version of Good Omens there's a line about demons dancing like the British group in the Eurovision Song Contest. To see what we meant, here's a BBC clip about the contest.

And the word from the street is...

Hello Neil.

Being British, you probably already know how all the songs ever entered in the eurovision song contest possess such a dismal quality that you promise yourself never to waste any more time watching it. Time is to precious anyway. Well, to reassure you, even compared to that average of quality the the latest entry by england was indeed of such a poor quality that England can be happy that the idea of negative points has not yet passed the minds of the eurovision song contest organisation.. My girlfriend and I (she made me watch it) were speechless afterwards. It almost compensated for yet another 3 hours that I will never see again. Almost.. I did not know a singer could be so out of tune.. Nothing to do with politics, indeed..


Of course, because there's a so-bad-it's-well-not-good-but-everyone-will-at-least-remember-this-show-as-opposed-to- most-other-Eurovision-entries (where the UK came in in the top five with something forgotten by the following morning) quality to the whole thing, it could be said that this was a complete and utter British Eurovision triumph, an opinion shared by some of you...

Dear Neil,

Regarding the Eurovision contest, I have to admit to sitting through the entire thing, and I want to assure you that politics had nothing to do with the British song receiving no points. Living in Israel, I've become accustomed to wondering what factor - political anymosity or bad music - contributed more to our consistently low ratings over the last few years, so at least the Brits can be spared wondering. The British song was awful. The singers had an even lower than usual familiarity with singing live, the music was unintelligible, and the costumes (the most important part of any Eurovision presentation) were absurd.

Not that this is something to be ashamed of. Eurovision music by defnition sucks, and it's quite an accomplishment to have boiled its inherent suckiness down to its purest form. The British 2003 entry will no doubt live on in infamy, (joined by the Israeli 2000 entry, which included some rather aggressive waving of cucumbers) long after this year's winning entry - a forgettable song from Turkey sung by an especially frightening young woman - will have been consigned to oblivion.

I'm glad I had a chance to send you this, as it gives me the opportunity to thank you for this blog, which has become a daily stop for me, and for your books, which have given me many hours of pleasure.

Best Wishes,

Changing the subject, I was just told that there's now a Japanese comedy about Americans in Japan, in which all the actors are mannequins (and the father looks somewhat like Desire) available, subtitled, on DVD. I think I'd want to be assured it was either a) funny or b) mindcrogglingly weird before I ordered a DVD, but if any of you are more adventurous than I am, you can learn about it at You can get it from, along with things I had previously assumed were more or less mythical, like the Hello Kitty vibrator.