Diary of an old cheeser

Hi there! Like other blogs, this is my chance to wax lyrical (some might say talk utter cr*p) about a) what's happening in my life b) all of my pet obsessions in particular music, tv, movies, books and other generally connected things, quite often of the retro, old and "cheesy" variety. Hence the title of my blog. Feel free to leave a comment if the mood takes you. There's nothing like a good chinwag about one's favourite topics and besides I love to meet new people! Cheers, Simon

Sunday, May 13, 2007

You've got to speed it up #1

Gu and I have just got back from a weekend with a lovely friend and ex-workmate who lives in a charmingly English village in Hertfordshire. One of our main reasons for visiting was to see our friend's new Jack Russell puppy, who is very cute but somewhat over-energetic and demanding as dogs can sometimes be. Pets are rather like children I think, they require nurturing, patience, time and energy, as well as a high degree of selflessness. Gustavo and I freely admit we're too damn selfish for either! Anyway, in honour to the new pup I burned a compilation CD of doggie-themed toons, which was good fun. Some of the highlights included:

How Much Is That Doggie In The Window - Patty Page. No, not the Doris Day version - I don't care for Doris' pronunciation of Doggie which sounds more like "Dough-gie"! Very cute and twee.

Ruff Mix - Wonderdog. Anyone remember this? It was a hit in the early 80s and consists of lots of sound effects of barking dogs which have been put through a computer, against a funky guitar backing/beat. Bizarre but eminently danceable. And did you know that X Factor Impresario Simon Cowell, once dressed up in a dog suit to promote the track? Funny how you never refer to that one on your CV, Simon...

Puppy Love - The Osmonds. Puke-making! Twee! Sickly sweet! But hilarious too.

Who Let The Dogs Out - The Baha Men - Who let let the dogs out? Who? WHO!! WHO!! WHO!! WHO!!! Sung/barked in the style of a dog of course.

Anyway, you get the picture. I know it sounds barking, but the CD was a howling success. Although I forgot to include the "K9 and Company" theme tune and "Get Down" by Gilbert O' Sullivan. Which was a doggone shame.

And while we're on the subject of silly, cheesy, fun tunes, Eurovision was of course broadcast night, and we all ended up watching it. And however much of a musical snob one might be, Eurovision is undeniably top entertainment, for the following reasons:

- The "interesting" melting pot of musical genres - whilst some countries manage to produce musical entries which sound relatively current and "in", others are hopelessly anachronistic and out of touch. The songs sometimes are an embarrasingly obvious/cliched representation of their country's musical style/heritage - take this year's Irish entry for instance. A Mary Hopkin-clone Oirish lady with flowers in her hair, a fiddler and a jig type accompaniment.

- The camp, outlandish costumes. The Ukraine entry for example. Hardly the kind of thing you'd choose to wear round Tescos. And erm, is the singer a he or a she? An alien wrapped in bacofoil with Elton John shades? A new Cybertrannie? Still we had Dana International a few years ago didn't we? Mind you Dana was considerably more, er, attractive...

- The daft dance routines, sometimes overly OTT and theatrical. One German rock artist a few years ago called Guido Horn actually finished off his act by climbing up a large pole. Talk about a show-off.

- The bizarre/banal lyrics (an oft-occuring "issue" is that many foreign artists choose to perform in English and when the words of their songs are translated, the "original" meaning gets fudged, thus creating lyrics that are either nonsensical or just plain weird. On the other hand they can also tend towards the mega-cliche variety e.g. "Oh baby I love you so much, my heart is yours, I am thrilling to your touch", blah, blah, bleeeeuuuuugh!!")

- Terry Wogan's commentary adds a much needed dose of irony and humour to proceedings. He's been doing it for years and his sarcastic, biting voiceover rips the piss out of the whole thing. I distinctly remember him referring to one female artiste one year as "wearing a get-up that looks like her Grandad's dressing gown". Lovely.

- The voting spokespeople from each country, usually a highly glamorous dolly bird with faux-posh-Euro-does-English accent and plastic-y features/teeth: "Hello Helsinki, thiiiiiis iiiiis Sweeeeden!"

- The voting itself. "UK - nil points" ("points" pronounced French style). Actually, did you know that last bit is apocrophyl? Because, of course when a country casts its votes, it never actually says which countries have been awarded zilch points. We only hear about those countries which scored REAL points. The rest is a process of deduction, of course.

...And I'm sure you can all add some other valid justifications for Eurovision Ecstasy to the above list. I'd be interested to know what they might be!!

Anyhow, last night's show, whilst enjoyable, was a birrova farce in other respects. Firstly, because the UK entry came second from last!! Sacrilege!! I have to admit, Scooch's entry is complete and utter trash. Camper than camp itself. Two tres queeny air stewards and dolly bird stewardesses, doing an "Exits are located toward the rear" routine. HOW original. I mean, Britney did that YEARS ago. This makes songs by Steps or Vengaboys seem like works of unparalleled, intellectual genius. When I first heard it I thought, oh my God, we don't stand a chance with this. Even your average homo down G.A.Y. would refuse to wiggle his skinny hips to it.

And yet....surprise!!..."Flying The Flag" HAS grown on me after repeated plays. Yes it's disposable and silly, but it's also dancey, frothy and fun. And more to the point, it looked/sounded bloody good in comparison with some of the other Euro entries, some of which were total excrement. So why the hell did we do so badly then?

In a word, politics. Neighbouring countries voting for one another. It doesn't seem to matter if a song is decent or not, at the end of the day who's in favour gets the most points. A dodgy state of affairs. Hence the winning entry from Serbia, an okay
but ultimately rather bland number, sung by a dykey looking bird with pudding bowl hairdo. By way of recompense, the ultra-camp- trannie-sung Ukraine number came second. Personally I think the Ukraine should have won; the Sapphic Serbian was as dull as dishwater. Still at least they didn't suffer the humiliation of Ireland, coming last of all. Not only did the Irish lady vocalist sound hopelessly out of key, they also fitted the "bizarre lyrics" criteria to a tee, with a reference to "archipelagic icicles" or something equally daft. France was my favourite in the naff lyrics department though, with their "ditty" about a Parisian love affair: "I see you by the Eiffel Tower, with your Chanel bag, I want to rendezvous with you." Zut alors! What next? "I want to eat a croissant and cafe au lait with you dans la Eurostar at Ashford"? "I want to don a horizontally striped shirt and onions and cycle with you past the Arc de Triomphe"? Ooooh laaa laaaa!!

So all in all it was a fun affair, but I still feel that the UK was robbed. Next year I pray we fare much better. We honestly deserve it. Although for me, nothing has ever been quite the same since the days of Bucks Fizz. Sadly, now those days are gone. But perhaps it'll be a new beginning for the UK next year and we'll get a piece of the action, whilst the rest of Europe has to run for their life. Or am I living in the land of make believe?


  • At 7:14 am , Blogger Steve said...

    I must admit Karen and I bailed out of watching Eurovision - we just couldn't face it - and so put Pulp Fiction on instead. As good as Wogan is, Samuel L. Jackson beats him hands down every time!


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