Nearly six weeks ago, I spent a sunny Sunday indoors when I could have gone out to play, writing a preview of Eurovision for a well-known magazine, as I have done before. It was all done, proofed by a handful of friends who I knew were in that day, improved and amended and submitted the next day.
When the magazine plopped through my letterbox, I searched in vain for the article. Something else that I wrote and photographed has gone in, but unless I've missed it, the Eurovision article isn't there. I'm still waiting for a reply to my e-mail asking why. I'll be buggered if it's going to waste completely, so let's publish it here instead, complete with the two alternative titles. Enjoy.
Eurovision – enjoy the ride
It’s Eurovision time! Your exits are here, here and here
It might require a little more concentration than usual to follow Eurovision this year. Firstly, there are a record-breaking 42 countries in the two shows, as we welcome debutants Georgia and the Czech Republic into the qualifier and the prodigal Austro-Hungarian empire returns after both countries had a strop last year. Serbia and Montenegro arrive in Helsinki separately, after their tetchy 2006 divorce, increasing the number of former Yugoslav countries to a useful six (with two of them sending singers called Marija, just to confuse people). All 42 of these countries will be giving their votes in full at this year’s final, as last year’s experiment, where only the top three countries were announced by each spokesperson, has been abandoned. You may like to go out clubbing after the songs. The voting will probably still be on when you get back.
Secondly, there’s the potential language confusion. The Latvian entry is in Italian and the Belgian entry is in English – the first time the French-speaking Belgian broadcaster has done this. Even the French entry is in Franglais. Not to worry though, there is a song in French – it’s the Cypriot entry. Got all that? Good. The Norwegian song has a Spanish title, the Spanish song has a Spanglish title, the Ukrainian entry includes bits in German and Mongolian, while the Romanian song has more languages in it than we can count, in a shameless attempt to connect with populations all over Europe (much like the UK entry’s listing of European cities).
Ah yes, the UK entry, by Cyndi. Sorry, by Scooch. Following the lead set by Slovenian dragsters Sestre in Eurovision 2002, Scooch are dressing up as trolley dollies to sing ‘Flying The Flag (For You)’. It’s the smuttiest, most innuendo-laden song that Eurovision has ever seen, from any country, but we get away with it by calling it ‘traditional British postcard humour’. Would you like something to suck on for landing sir?
So what if our song doesn’t have much in the way of verses? It’s choruses we need and choruses we have. You can’t accuse the UK of not sending entertainment to Eurovision, with this and Daz Sampson’s classroom rap last year, and we might as well, because we don’t stand a chance of winning, so we should aim to entertain. The last three years have shown that the good people of Europe cannot be persuaded to spend their hard-earned cash on voting for the Big 4 countries (France, Germany, Spain and the UK), when they already have a place guaranteed in the next year’s final, so they cast their televotes for a country that needs the points instead.
All that Scooch’s song needs to add is a key change, which is sadly lacking in the original version. It’s obvious where the key change should go, so let’s hope they sort it out. Finnish television has also warned participating countries that the ‘runway’ part of the set in Helsinki is only for the presenters and the interval act, which is going to make Scooch’s line, ‘Your exits are here, here and here’, slightly less effective, unless they stage an act of rebellion on the night.
There’s more variety than ever in Eurovision this year, with German swing, proper Finnish rock (not the pantomime rock that won for them last year), Slovenian and Latvian popera, a homage to Pink from Estonia, grizzly rock from the Czech Republic and Iceland and some strong pop from Moldova, Belarus, Turkey and Greece (whose Sarbel is also this year’s top hunk – and he’s British!) Serbia provides the best of the big ballads, again. Georgia’s début, if singer Sopho repeats her performance from the Georgian national final, should display the biggest ‘performing dress’ we’ve ever seen. Who could ask for more?
10th, 12th, 14th May
Semi-Final 1 – Tue 20 May
01 Montenegro - Zauvijek volim te – Stefan Filipović
02 Israel – The Fire In Your Eyes (Ke’ilo Kan) – Bo'az Ma'uda
03 Estonia – Leto Svet – Kreisiraadio
04 Moldova – A Century Of Love – Geta Burlacu
05 San Marino - Complice - Miodio
06 Belgium - O Julissi - Ishtar
07 Azerbaijan – Day After Day – Elnur Hüseynov & Samir Javadzadeh
08 Slovenia – Vrag Naj Vzame – Rebeka Dremelj
09 Norway – Hold On, Be Strong – Maria Haukaas Storeng
10 Poland – For Life – Isis Gee
11 Ireland – Irelande, Douze Pointe – Dustin The Turkey
12 Andorra – Casanova – Gisela
13 Bosnia-Herzegovina – Pokušaj – Laka
14 Armenia – Qele Qele – Sirusho
15 Netherlands – Your Heart Belongs To Me – Hind
16 Finland - Missä miehet ratsastaa – Teräsbetoni
17 Romania – Pe-o Margine de Lume – Nico & Vlad Mirita
18 Russia - Dima Bilan - Believe
19 Greece – Secret Combination – Kalomira
Semi-Final 2 – Thu 22 May
01 Iceland – This Is My Life – Eurobandið
02 Sweden - Hero - Charlotte Perrelli
03 Turkey – Deli – Mor ve Ötesi
04 Ukraine – Shady Lady – Ani Lorak
05 Lithuania – Nomads In The Night – Jeronimas Milius
06 Albania – Zemrën e lamë peng – Olta Boka
07 Switzerland – Era Stupendo – Paolo Meneguzzi
08 Czech Republic – Have Some Fun – Tereza Kerndlová
09 Belarus – Hasta La Vista – Ruslan Alekhno
10 Latvia – Wolves Of The Sea – Pirates Of The Sea
11 Croatia – Romanca – Kraljevi Ulice & 75 Cents
12 Bulgaria – DJ, Take Me Away – Deep Zone & Balthazar
13 Denmark – All Night Long – Simon Mathew
14 Georgia – Peace Will Come – Diana Gurtskaya
15 Hungary – Candlelight – Csézy
16 Malta – Vodka - Morena
17 Cyprus – Femme Fatale – Evdokia Kadi
18 FYR Macedonia – Let Me Love You – Tamara, Vrčak & Adrian
19 Portugal - Senhora do Mar (Negras Águas) - Vânia Fernandes
Final – Sat 24 May
02 United Kingdom – Even If – Andy Abraham
04 Germany – Disappear – No Angels
19 France – Divine – Sébastien Tellier
22 Spain - Baila el Chiki Chiki - Rodolfo Chikilicuatre
23 Serbia - Oro - Jelena Tomašević ft. Bora Dugić
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Chig's Gigs & stuff 2007-2008
11/12 Steel City Tour: ABC, Heaven 17, The Human League - Wolves Civic
21/01 Sing Live! - B'ham Symphony Hall
05/02 Mika - Berkeley Square, London
13/02 Shayne Ward - Nott'm Arena
21/02 X Factor - Nott'm Arena
04/05 Scooch-Nightingale, B'ham
12/05 Hosting Eurovision night @ The Nightingale
17/05 Jason Donovan-Nott'm Royal Concert Hall
25/05 Pet Shop Boys - Wolves Civic
26/05 Liberty X - Nightingale, B'ham
27/05 Scooch & Björn Again - B'ham Pride
16/06 Muse, The Streets, Dirty Pretty Things, Rodrigo y Gabriela & Zane Lowe - Wembley Stadium
28/06 Brotherhood of Man & Buck's Fizz - Nott'm Royal Concert Hall
14/07 Sing Live! - Summer in the '60s & '70s - Royal Leamington Spa Centre
14/09 Rise - Leek Wootton Village Hall
16/09 Erasure & Onetwo - Wolves Civic
17/09 The Twang & The Priory - B'ham Carling Academy 2 (private gig - Janice Long's Radio2 show)
20/09 Turisas & Abgott - B'ham Carling Academy 2
27/09 McFly - Wolves Civic
10/11 Buck's Fizz & Futureproof (The X Factor), Nightingale, B'ham
17/11 Vengaboys & Andy Williams (The X Factor) - Nightingale, B'ham
01/12 The Human League plays Dare! - Hammersmith Apollo
10/03 Gary Numan Replicas Tour & Daggers - Wolves Wulfrun
15/03 David Gray - Symphony Hall, Brum 18/03 Russell Howard, Alexandra, Brum
20+22+24/05 Eurovision Song Contest, Beograd, Srbija
10/06 Eurobeat-Almost Eurovision, B'ham Hippodrome
12/06 Yazoo - Wolves Civic
14/06-16/06 Bingham Cup, DCU, Dublin
24/06 Westlife & Hope - Nottingham Arena
07/07 Duran Duran & The Duke Spirit - NIA, B'ham
01/08 kd lang - Symphony Hall, B'ham
Who is Chig? Contact me: chig at cmdh dot freeserve dot co dot uk
Chig is Nicki French's official stalker...but she doesn't seem to mind.
Chig's life can sometimes be a right pain in the balls...
Dogtown, The Amazing Mrs Pritchard, Robin Hood, The X Factor, Spooks, Extras, Mock The Week, Popworld, Ideal, Deal Or No Deal, Eggheads, Hollyoaks, Never Mind The Full Stops, Doctor Who series 2 repeats on BBC3, The Bill, Match Of The Day, Ant'n'Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway.
Chig has failed at two attempts to watch the whole series of Invasion, so if you have it on DVD...
Chig still fancies Jesse Metcalfe...
...and Brandon Flowers, Roman Sebrle, Jonas Armstrong, Matthew Fox, Stefan Booth, Stuart Manning, Gary Lucy...
Chig is directly descended from the following families. If you have one of these surnames, we're possibly related, so feel free to get in touch:
Crowe, Harborne/Harbourne, Higgins, Hutchins, O'Sullivan/Sullivan, Talliss/Tallis.
Above: My Gran with her Gran. Snitterfield, Warwickshire, c.1930.