Monday, 16 May 2011

sound and vision

Over the weekend, H and I attended a little get-together to watch the Eurovision grand finale from Düsseldorf. Some moments from the dazzling production and some of the entries that made the cut can make one laugh, cringe or groan but it's always fun, especially with friends, since it opens up an acceptable forum for all the stereotypes and politically incorrect characterizations of national identities. Of course, one painful and proud number does not represent the sum of another country, even though it may lend some interesting insight into the ways and limits of reinterpretation of mostly American-style pop music. ABBA was made famous through a Eurovision win, as did Lulu and Céline Dion. Apparent political influences and old grudges that normally go unsaid really seem to emerge, however, during the long, long voting process. Though the winning country from the previous year gets to host the event, audience voters cannot choose their home country, and it seems that maybe old aspersions come in to play, as the electorate, like something out of the Holy and Roman Empire of the Germans, has expanded to encompass a broader region, including the "new Europe," Russia and the former Soviet satellites, the micronations, Turkey, plus Israel and the Kingdom of Morocco.
Amongst this harmless fun, I think, suspicions lurk including conspiracy and questions about EU membership and national identity. The annual song contest, however, I believe in the end, tutors more in geography rather than geo-political intrigues and does more for awareness and togetherness than salt old wounds. See you next year from Baku!