Saturday, June 26, 2010

Europe in a Tacky, Tuneless Nutshell

You won't be able to read it online unless you pay for it because it's behind a firewall, and you probably don't want to shell out the cash to buy it, so maybe you can pick up the New Yorker issue with Anthony Lane's droll piece about uber-kitschy Eurovision Song Contest at your local library, where it's free. If you do, you can read stuff like this, a delicious rebuke to those who tout the superiority of European ''culchuh":
The third method [of winning the contest], which is by far the most popular, and which has brought mirthful pleasure to millions on an annual basis, is to sing in Eurovision English: an exquisite tongue, spoken nowhere else, which raises the poetry of the heartfelt but absolute nonsense to a level of which Lewis Carroll could only dreamed. The Swedes are predictably fluent in this ("Your breasts are like swallows a-nesting,' they sang in 1973), and the Finns, too, should be hailed as early masters, with their faintly troubling back-to-back efforts from the mid-seventies, "Old Man Fiddle" and "Pump-pump," but the habit continued to flourish even during those periods when the home-language ruling was in place, as cunning lyricists broke the embargo by smuggling random expostulations into their titles and choruses. Hence such gems as Austria's "Boom Boomerang," from 1977 (not to be confused with Denmark's "Boom Boom," of the following year), Portugal's "Bem-bom," from 1982, and Sweden's "Diggi-loo Diggi-ley," which won in 1984. The next year's contenders, spurred by such bravado, responded with "Magic, Oh Magic" (Italy) and "Piano Piano" (Switzerland). Not that the host nation relinquished the crown without a fight, as anyone who watched Kiki Danielson can attest. Her song was called "Bra Vibrationer." It was, regretably, in Swedish.
In which, no doubt, it sounded far less weird and icky.

Update: This year's winner is a German named Lena, who sang "Satellite," not to be confused with a German named Nena, who sang "99 Luftballons," though not in the contest.

Update: The antithesis of--and antidote to--crappy European songs.

Update: The far-from-inimitable Kiki Danielson sings the all-too-forgettable Bra Vibrationer. With oddly-attired dance duo thrown in at no extra charge.

Update: Diggi-loo Diggy-ley, anyone?

Update: Nuki Nuki--a song that wasn't in the Eurovision contest, but sounds like it should have been.

No comments: