Now that the glitter has settled on this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, it’s time to reflect on the second year of Australia’s questionable intrusion and some of the more disturbing issues that it raises. Nothing against the vivacious Dami Im, but we were shamelessly rooting for Ukraine, not only to piss off the bellicose Russians, but to avoid the explosion of Aussie cultural jingoism had we actually won the bloody thing.
Throughout its 60-year history Eurovision has been renowned for its trashy, tacky, sentimental, overstated campiness – often coughing up some of the worst songs ever written, with performances to match. That essentially has been its charm and appeal, coupled with the political intrigue of competing countries within the European arena. Along with World Cup Soccer it’s been a ratings bonanza for SBS TV, and it’s not surprising that it was the broadcaster who pushed the case for Australia’s involvement in the event.
Opinions have been divided has to whether we really belong in an event that has previously been restricted solely to European countries and Israel. It’s a bit like somebody threw a big party that continually attracted our attention and suddenly we decided to crash it. The problem with our two contestants to date, Guy Sebastian and Dami, is that they were probably too legitimate, too talented and just not cheezy enough for the typical Eurovision performance. Beards might have helped!
It also raised that awful long running cultural cringe where Australian singers, actors and other performers are not considered really successful until they have made it overseas. The counter argument of course is that we live in an increasingly global environment, and why not send a couple of our local warblers to fly our multicultural flag in Europe?
SBS has floated the idea of an Asian Song Contest and we have to admit that seems a far more natural fit for our involvement. For starters we’d be up against the remarkable juggernaut that is K-Pop, something we might have to match with the cultivation of hundreds of dancing, over-manicured boy and girl groups. The South Koreans would also put us to shame with the staging of such an event, given their love of all things that flash, strobe and occupy a video screen wider than an ocean liner. And if we ever decided to include their northern neighbours in the party, look out for 150,000 card flipping punters in the massive Rungaro Stadium.
The problem may well be that rather than boosting our cultural egos, an Asian Song Contest could easily put us to shame as we fail to compete with not only the high-tech production values but the sheer banality of much of Asian pop music. History tells us that there is no room for genuine talent in the Eurovision Song Contest – and yes that does include the loathsome ABBA. Sludge eventually works its way to the top and the same would no doubt apply to an Asian version. If we were to compete successfully, we would need to aim for the lowest common denominator with our unique brand of bubble-gum (or is that bluegum) pop!
THE HIT LIST: The Sounds Of Seduction is nearly as old as Stonehenge – well not quite, but the legendary discotheque has been running for around 20 years. To celebrate its longevity the resurrected Dive Bar in the Kings Cross Hotel is hosting four Saturday nights in a row beginning on Saturday 28 May, as part of the Vivid Festival. Jay Katz and Miss Death plus a host of guest DJ’s will be spinning the platters along with some very funky Go Go girls and assorted taxidermy. $10 on the door. Tickets & info: kingscrosshotel.com.au/s/whats-on