Thursday, 14 May 2009

Music should influence politics, not the other way round

Eurovision song contest, one of the bigger non-events in our music calendar has never been hailed as the be all and end all of great song writing and performance. Yet has always held a place in our hearts that I doubt will ever fade, largely due to the eclectic tunes and short skirts. However, a little bit more leg every year does not stop me hating the night that bit more every time I watch it.

The dreadful acts we as a nation put forward aside, there is a typical ... European flavour to it that leaves a very bitter taste in my mouth. It seems more an exercise in bullying that musical scholarship. The French never give us anything because we don't eat the frogs legs they insist on shipping over (and because we whipped their ASSES at Waterloo), Russia don't give the west anything because they aren't over the Cold War, the Eastern Bloc only give Russia points because twenty years ago if they didn't they were shot and Ireland only give us some because then we might give them Northern Ireland back. Terry Wogan predicted six months ago that Russia would win thanks to the Eastern bloc, and for an old guy, he couldn't have been more right.

It's not a new idea that music and politics are intertwined, but for me this intertwining is becoming a problem. Music used to speak out against political, cultural and ethnic division, and indeed in most quarters does, but when it comes to the most watched musical event of the year, it becomes a symbol of national rivalry and political discrimination. It relates to outdated, geopolitical ties that should have been left for dead after the Cold War. Good lord people, half of the viewers weren't even born until the Soviet union collapsed, so how is it still relevant now? Are Russia really going to stop your nations gas supply because you voted fairly in the Eurovision Song Contest?! Call me sensationalist, but how can we call ourselves a civilised and united continent when we can't even have some light hearted competition in the name of musical furtherment without pointing the finger at the capitalists? I think most of Europe knows that on Saturday night we put out one of the best songs and yet were compared, unfavourably, to the most woeful attempts at music ever (here's looking at you Bosnia) and left languishing with Germany, the black hole of popular music, in last place.

A small scale resolution is obviously to stop semi-finalists voting, as the great Wogan suggests, which would leave the Bloc voting less powerful a force. But is that really the problem, or is it that when it comes to popular culture classroom we are the geek with glasses and freckles who no one wants to talk to? If we are, just remember Europe, Derren Brown was that guy, and no he can fuck people's minds up on TV for money. Yeah, you better watch it.

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