Monday, 31 May 2010

We came DEAD last in EUROVISION and other news from the glowing box

We came in dead last, 10 points, I nearly died laughing with the final indignation of being pushed into absolute bottom of the table by of all countries, Belarus. My mate Stu and my wife were incoherent with laughter. Apart from the shame of finishing behind the worse song in the final, we deserved what we got. My wife used to do stand up comedy, I mention this only as she has had to come on after a stonking  great act that killed. Short of self immolation, there is nothing you can do to look good after some guy has stripped off and shot fire from his arse. Poor Josh had to perform right after the highest octane party piece of the night. Greece OPAe'd the crowd into a dance frenzy only to be equalled later by the French song, he didn't stand a chance.  I feel bad for Josh, he'll have to give back the economy pack of M&S underwear the BBC bought him. Maybe now a guest spot on the washed out Eurovision acts edition of Come Dine with me? He's so old news, even Jordan , real name Katie Price, won't pretend to have an affair with him. 

The reason we did come in last was a vestige of block voting. Belarus, the country who sported butterfly wings and bad phonetically sung English  ( I told you I would remember) had a neighbour give them their douze points, bless em. Arguably the worst act of the night, they ranked below Britain and Ukraine in poor song choice poor singer choice poor costume choice and the resulting mess of previously mentioned choices. And yet they still managed to get more points than Britain. That said, block voting seems to be well and truly dead. Some countries did not get the memo and triggered sporadic booing by giving  the Russian entry that had suicide help lines on red alert, 90 points.  Ireland however preferred voting for good songs and only gave Britain 4 points, seems Eurovision has turned the corner on at least this one big issue. The winner even came from one of the four sponsoring nations, things are looking up.

How did my countries to follow fare?

Greece 8th 140 points
France 12th 82 points
Serbia 13th 72 points
Germany 1st 246 points
Turkey 2nd 170 points
Albania 16th 62 points

Full final results here  Britain voted 8 points for Romania, 10 points for Turkey, and 12 points for Greece.

Some final thoughts on Eurovision before I file it away for another  year. Apologies to Albania, I completely forgot to praise a song that was genuinely good, catchy and worthy of any mainstream radio. Saved the big kvetching for the lowlight reel, the few incidents along the way  that caused us pain or giggles. While not a bumber crop, there were a few moments.  Russia made us want to leave the room and floss our teeth or worse, when he dropped the photo , my only thought was , were they trying to lose? Spain had a mildly amusing pitch invasion. If I'm honest, Daniel Diges managed to carry on as if it was part of the act never missing a beat. Ukraine had a tone deaf girl dressed in Yoda's cowl, who were she not dead fit, was only saved by the ubiquitous wind machine. I couldn't say much about her signing as I had the telly on mute during most of her performance.  Bjork  sang without her trade mark swan dress. Having packed on that much weight and changed her singing style..It does explain why she hasn't been invited to a Brit Awards in a while. Barefoot Georgia was a bit awkward to watch. I still don't understand why she needed help walking from her back up dancers? Maybe if they had worn orthopaedic shoes she could have at least moved around a bit. Graham Norton during the entire proceedings was his usual sarcastic self. At times you almost believed him when he ever so faintly praised Josh Dubovie or was effusive about the butterfly dresses. His best wit  was reserved for some of the jackets "even he wouldn't wear" or the times he took the mickey out of himself for being vapid during an interview with some Eurovision hostess. I missed a lot once the scores came in as myself and Stu were making inappropriate remarks about the ladies  reporting votes from various capitals. Aim for the gutter and you about got it right. You know I'm almost looking forward to next year now.

Graham Norton back at his day job, was up to his old tricks. Last Monday was yet another mostly decent ep, save for the presence of the stunned , dull  disoriented and confused Janet Jackson and her puppet master Tyler Perry. Comedian Marcus Brigstocke and Norton kept the show moving till Python Legend Eric Idle was released from the green room to thunderous applause. He of course should have been there from the beginning as he is in the grand scheme of things, bigger than Janet Jackson. You felt the programme come  to life the moment he stepped onto the altar of chat and took over. Poor Janet looked like she had just been run over by a fast moving train. I know you need the odd American guest, but they should be first made to watch an ep or two before coming on. As for Janet Jackson, the only person more out of it when they were on was Katie Price.

Speaking of mistakes, Last Monday I might have been a tad harsh on J.J. Abrahms. I basically said he needed to have some balls and tell  ABC where to go when they demanded MORE eps than three years worth. I stand corrected. Source of all that is knowable in such things, Kieth "Telly" Topping ( Telly  not his real middle name) informs me of the following.."Basically, the creators sold the show to ABC as a recurring series which had an end to it. Now, writers in that position are onto something of a hiding because, if nobody watches the early episodes, you might have to wrap the whole thing up with very little notice around episode eight! But, on the contrary, if it takes off then the network is likely to want five, six, seven, eight, ten, however many years of miling it. Simple economics of TV, that. Don't kill the oglden goose. What happened with Lost was that sometime around about the middle of season three, Casee and Lindelof realised that every time they wanted to take a step forward in terms of the overall plot, they then had to take a couple sideways (that entire episodes which existed purely to explain where Jack got his exotic tattoo from, is the example they usually cite). So, they approached ABC and said, to the effect, 'we need about fifty episodes from here to finish this so, how about we do two seasons of twenty four episodes and then end it.' ABC reluctantly agreed (since the show still had a pretty big audience) but suggested instead a compromise, three series of sixteen instead of two of twenty four. (In the end, due to a number of exterior factors we got three seasons of fifteen-seventeen-and-eighteen!)".  As I explained somewhere else, I was writing on the basis of media reports at the time of the initial announcement . This bit of news of course makes absolute sense and I thank Keith for the clarification. I stand by my opinion though that it was stretched out too long and would have made more sense without so much filler.

On to more pressing things ..... If you haven't seen Doctor Who this week, please avert your eyes for the following segment.  Part 2 of the Silurian resurrection  was everything I said it would be. Laughter, pain , grief anguish and sarcasm, and that was just the pre Eurovision debate we had before DW came on. Ok I've warned you , from here in  I'm in spoiler land...

The best and the worst of humanity is on display, warriors posture, maternal instincts lead to poor choices, love blossoms, and some memories fade for ever. DW bosses have set up a tasty sequel to take place 1000 years from now. Will humanity be any more inviting to the Silurians than they were this time? will the Silurian's military be just as trigger happy and more interested in "Living space" than sharing the planet with apes? Only the writers know for sure , but I know one thing, it will be classic stuff. I particularly liked the way the way so much sacrifice seems to be for the good, deeply flawed mother becomes teacher of peace and cooperation , lover becomes a bridge between the races. Lastly....... Amy looses Rory for good, not only is he killed, but he is lost to the rift in time. Amy strugles to remember him , but it's pretty clear for now that he's gone. Last time a companion death made me feel that bad, Adric was taken from us. Unlike Mickey, remember Mickey? Rose's ex? ... the gormless one ? No nothing?  Mickey gets shipped off to Torchwood where he marries Martha and fights aliens. Not the glorious death that will be stuff of legend and song is it? Rory will be missed by many , but not by the writers who had to figure a way to dodge the bullet of the wedding the next day before Amy signed on board the Tardis. I have saved the best for last though. The famous rift in time, the one that keeps swallowing up whole people and otherwise indestructible monsters, just got more complicated and tragic. As a fan I cannot help but think that there will be an end time for something. Perhaps the Doctor himself or the Tardis, which of course is far worse. We are used to the idea of new faces, new costumes, but the notion of our beloved knackered old type 40 Tardis one day being junked in a tragic act of supreme sacrifice to save the universe, is too much to bear. I predict a Facebook save the Tardis campaign, many letters to Ofcom and a silly editorial in the Guardian wondering what the fuss is all about.

In the perhaps it's too early to laugh department, I heard this gem from a fellow poster at Gallifrey Base.
Quote Arn....I can't see what anyone could get upset about with tonight's Who. After all a stiff Rory's been up Amy's crack plenty of times before.

Where do you go from that bit of crassness?  Why Britain's got talent of course. This programme makes Eurovision look like Royal Shakespeare. Best bits from Saturday  had to be the strange Ali Baba who did some spectacular Slavic and Turkish dancing. Pity Big Top Amanda only seems to know street dance and Michael Jackson impersonation. One hopes she doesn't get asked to judge on Strictly. Ali Baba stormed off in a huff of Mediterranean passion leaving his "friend" he met on hols in the lurch. Strange man , strange relationship. The other strange bit of casting was putting through the Michael Jackson miming pig as well as the truly awful Madonna drag queen. Truth be told, the pig was better.  Mercifully, the top 40 selection has trimmed away the vast majority of street dance troupes and left a decent amount of drag acts , freaks, singers acrobats and  assorted "other ones" .  Now it's BGT and Corrie giving us a full week of drama , pathos and utter shite, still not sure who will deliver what .

My father being a veteran who travelled with the British 8th corps ( in the polish Karpacka Brygada) has told me many stories about the miracle of Dunkirk. You need to watch Dunkirk :The story behind the legend BBC. An eye opening investigation in perhaps the most important action in World War 2 in the spring of 1940.  If you will allow me this one moment of sentimentality. Take the time to get to know your parents and grandparents. Learn the story of their sacrifices while they can still tell you. Our way of life for better or ill , is what it is because of them. If you've lost yours, make friends with somebody else's grandparents.

Now if you like Time Team or the Story of Science, you might think History Cold Case on BBC2 was worth catching. Don't bother. Where Time Team would have come to some  fairly accurate conclusion in about 6 minutes , Cold Case is still hemming and hawing 45 minutes in. It's Science for dummies dressed in a lot of pretty gimmicks. Don't wast your time. Another waste of time had to be Question Time. Alistair Campbell was told to piss off or the new ConDemn coalition was going to boycott. How very democratic, on second thought here is the link . BTW Paul saw you in Tower blocks and Togas, have you still got that leather jacket?

A few quick links Child of our time personality test  is compelling and is far from over, take the test.  Jonathan Dimbleby started an absorbing voyage across Africa . Looking through the various Players, I've found this to pass the time if there aren't any compelling programmes this week. Blackadder rides again, and Trafalgar: Battle surgeon  It's the only programme on the subject that ever mentioned that there were women on board the Victory. If all else fails, rent Life on Mars or dig out your Sweeney tapes.

On a different note, I'd like to suggest you have fun with a hand whisk this week, unplug the magimix , and make a pavlova or meringue. Takes me the same amount of time and I have more control than any magimix ever gave me.   Or get yourself a pastry cutter, canny for blending butter and other things in a pie dough ,again ditch the magimix, the moment the dough happens is special. Jamie does the Pyrennes had  a great recipe for a warm summer salad. We had it today and will keep it as a regular on the menu now.

Blog brought to you by Nick Robert's Beat Surrender on listen again,  this week's a great alternative to Eurovision. Get ready for the World Cup by taking Keith Topping's World Cup Trivia . Till next Monday then!


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