Coronation then Eurovision? Saturday TV’s not getting any better – Vladimir McTavish
This May, pantomime season is seemingly endless. Last weekend we had the coronation, today we have Eurovision. At least one of the two spectacles has embraced democracy.
Last Saturday in Westminster, an unelected head of state had a rather silly metal hat stuck onto his bonce by the head of the Church of England, a church most English people choose not to attend. Seven days later, Liverpool plays host to a bunch of musicians of varying ability from throughout Europe, and for some bizarre reason Australia. The winner is voted for by the public, a concept yet to be embraced by the Royal Family.
I didn’t watch any of last Saturday’s Westminster knees-up on TV, but was unable to avoid seeing pictures in the following days’ papers. What struck me most about our new head of state was the state of his head. After spending an estimated £100 million on a coronation, you would think they would make sure that the crown would actually fit. It looked like it might wobble off at any moment.
In some of the shots I saw of the King and Queen, it looked like they’d been photographed sticking their heads through an old-fashioned seaside Aunt Sally. Before they blew their budget on the world’s biggest sword, you would have thought someone would have realised it might be an idea to e-mail Charles and ask for his hat size.
And so on to this Saturday. To be honest, I have always struggled to understand the appeal of Eurovision, although I used to watch it up until I became a teenager. In my defence, there was nothing else on the telly when I was a child. In fact, Eurovision was probably an improvement on the normal Saturday night programming which included such insufferable rubbish as The White Heather Club and The Black And White Minstrel Show. Believe it or not, casual racism set to music was regular weekend viewing back in the 60s.
What I have never quite understood is how Britain, the home to such a rich pop heritage, has only managed to win the competition five times in its 67-year history. While other countries send their big hitters, the UK always picks someone from the B team.
The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who, Pulp, Oasis, and Blur were never asked to play Eurovision, or more likely wouldn’t have touched it with a bargepole. Contrast that array of talent to the actual UK winners. Brotherhood of Man, Lulu and Buck’s Fizz are hardly likely to be inducted into the Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of Fame.
How about Ed Sheeran? I would have thought he’d be perfect Eurovision fodder. Cleared this week by a US jury of infringing copyright, Sheeran actually admitted in court that some of his songs sound like others. And when I have accidentally listened to one of his tunes, I’ve sometimes thought “haven't I heard that before?” However, what I usually think is “I hope I don’t hear that again”.
When I was a kid, Eurovision seemed to last all night. Now it actually lasts all week. I will be on stage myself tonight so I will miss out on the spectacle once again. Ah, the joy of working on Saturday evenings!