Perhaps it’s something only mainland Europeans have a weakness for and only those of a certain age even but ironically it is a bit like Marmite, love it or hate it: the Eurovision Songfestival.

Ah back in the day (and I am talking the nineties here though I presume the ABBA years must have been pretty good too – alas too young!) you had people with an act who could sing.

Ok, maybe not but the songs were good.

Ok maybe not all, but the Irish songs always were and they actually had to stop winning to avoid Greece- style economic tragedies.

So maybe it wasn’t all good, but it had a certain je ne sais quoi (SEE WHAT I DID THERE? IT’S FRENCH!)

It was camp, my favourite year is the year of the Israeli transvestite…what’s her name now?  Was it Dana? (Answers on a postcard please!)

In any case it didn’t have  the non-broadcasted semi-finals that they seemed to have resigned to in the last decade.  Not sure why , though I am guessing the extension of the European Union has something to do with it a show with 40 songs would be a little much even for the die-hard Eurovision fan. In the non-broadcasted semi-finals the small countries battle it out to be seen all over Europe for one night. Germany, France, UK, Spain ( they pay enough to get into the final) and Norway ( as it is hosting) are exempt.  I don’t really understand why the UK is still bothering: they never win and now Terry Wogan is not presenting it anymore there is no reason to watch it, let alone participate. Even we as a family  in the Netherlands would watch the event on the BBC some years as Wogan was a bit of a legend in his presenting style.

Back in the day when a stylist was sent out with a fiver to get some foil.

Wogan who resigned because he thought the contest had become more an East European Songfestival and political fest than an a music event. Of course he is right: France will never give the UK the full amount of points if any, Cyprus has the backing of Greece not Turkey or the other way around, most of the Balkan states will pat each other on the back and the Scandinavian countries will do the same but less obvious. I don’t know how this televoting thing works, but who cares: if we used to just watch the part of the voting now I would suggest to sit back and enjoy the ride up until the voting; knowing that the bigger the camper the better.

I just had a look on the official Eurovision website and whether it is the recession or whether the budget just hasn’t changed since the ’70s hayday the videos look just a little bare… But perhaps that is me, maybe I remember it bigger and camper (than a row of tents) like when you go to a place from your childhood and it just looks smaller. I had a look at the UK entry and bless yous – don’t worry you won’t have to organise the Olympics and the Songfestival in times of coalition. (The Belgian entry is of course named Tom) The Netherlands have sent the genuinely lovely Sieneke who at the age of 18 had never left her parental home to go abroad. I think that it’s great for her to take this opportunity and just do it, because even though the song is not my  kind of music: the girl can sing!

So good luck to all the contestants and all the other people who are not too busy washing their hair on the 29th of May. Sorry that is mean: Enjoy It and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!

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