Saturday 09 Oct 2021 | 10:21 | SYDNEY
Saturday 09 Oct 2021 | 10:21 | SYDNEY



Rory Medcalf


27 May 2008 16:00

I used to love the Eurovision song contest: the mix of Eurotrash kitsch and international electoral politics was addictive stuff. Glad I missed it this year, though. It seems Russia’s win takes the blatant bloc politics of the contest’s voting system (not to mention the taste and musical standards of the performers) to new lows. So much so that veteran BBC commentator Terry Wogan (whose quips were always half the fun) has threatened to quit, while Financial Times commentator Gideon Rachman has suggested, not entirely jokingly, the possibility of ‘ominous implications for the future of the European Union’.

It used to be such fun in the early post-Cold War years: every year would bring new, earnest, intriguingly-attired and occasionally-talented performers from some corner of liberated Eastern Europe to rock or serenade the Anglo-Irish pop culture condominium out of its complacency (especially once the rules changed to let performers depart from their national language). Sometimes the voting even offered glimpses of genuine pan-European transcendence of national or regional loyalties (or at least a chance to gang up on France). 

But now a velvet-gloved iron curtain may be falling. We are being warned of entrenched voting patterns likely to keep eastern European countries on top, with Russia as the power-broker: a case of art imitating life, or at least imitating gas supply vulnerabilities.

Then again, maybe I too am just being biased.  In the interests of full disclosure, I should admit to a personal attachment to Finland. For me, the brightest moment for Eurovision will always be when Lordi stole the show in 2006 – just before, it seems, the darkness set in.

Photo (of Lordi guitarist) by Flickr user brinstar, used under a Creative Commons licence.