Sunday, May 13, 2007


Another disgraceful performance at Eurovision, I see. We were out for Emma's birthday and didn't see the actual performance or voting, but we were doomed to failure from the outset.

The UK have got Eurovision all wrong; we have an intensely kitschy perception of the competition. As a result we pitch up increasingly woeful parodies of past success on the assumption that the rest of Europe share a desire to relive the hedonistic days of Bucks Fizz. Even the show where the UK representative is chosen is no longer called; 'A song for Europe' it's called 'Making your mind up'.

Scooch were one such parody with a lineage that stretches back to Abba. They were originally formed as a Steps clone. As Steps became successful, two things happened - they became popular around the world and were unable to be in all the places they needed to be at the same time. Secondly, the more successful they became the more ragged they got and the more they believed in their own talents. It's the typical lifecycle of a pop band. Scooch were there to squeeze a few more dollars from the Steps cash cow after they split to pursue catastrophic solo careers, and sell a few CDs whilst the originals were saying 'Konichiwa, we're Steps, we hope you like our new single' in unison to the vast Japanese market.

Steps, of course, were firmly positioned as family fun, smiley pop. They had nice singalong choruses, didn't say motherfucker, and did simple dance routines that everyone from 8 to 80 could learn. They were perfect for weddings. Which is exactly what Abba have been distilled into. A criminal injustice, in my view, because they were probably the greatest song writers since the Beatles. The Abba brand has been so dumbed down it is no longer possible to give them the credit they deserve.

The rest of Europe don't see this, they don't get the irony or build the link back to days of yore. Sure, a Eurovision winner can look quite cheesy to UK eyes, but the common factor is a song which is universally 'fun', and has a transfer value across all nations. The spoken-word double entendres that punctuate the Scooch song; 'Some salted nuts sir', will mean nothing to a majority of Latvians.

It's unlikely that the UK will ever win Eurovision again - firstly, we're not a member of the new school. The Eastern Bloc invasion means that there is a voting cabal that the UK will never be able to penetrate. Secondly, whilst no bad song is going to win the title, the voting is not on the song alone. It's a commentary on global social and economic politics. Our ongoing occupation in Iraq is not going to bode well with the voting public. So it's not really advisable to have a song which claims to be 'flying the flag all over the world', they might as well sing 'we invaded Iraq and we don't give a shit'.

Morrissey and Jarvis Cocker were both mooted to be writing songs for Eurovision, which may be a worthwhile experiment. But we're more likely to simply attract an increasing band of desperadoes trying to drag themselves out of their showbiz mire and onto the heady heights enjoyed by, em, Katrina and the Waves.

I'm fascinated by these people; the basic economics of scraping a living from anything that is vaguely related to showbusiness. Take band member Russ Spencer (oh, and compare the picture of him here, with the one on their official site), who's main career credits are being in Scooch, a second rate imitation of a second rate imitation, and coming second last in Eurovision. Prior to that he was in the TV show Boys Will Be Girls, which involved creating a girl band made up of boys in drag. At what point will Russ realise that his dream to be Bono, Robbie Williams and John Lennon is likely to remain unfulfilled.


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