Dear Sir Terry
This weekend was the Eurovision Song Contest; the annual spectacle of music, strange traditional consumes & dubious musical interpretation of songs (and, as you might say, that’s just the interval acts). It was as it has ever been: a pile of unconnected international pop pap presented as a serious content. The most important thing, you must agree, is to remember your sense of humour. Over the years, you have urged us not to take it too seriously.
I wasn’t around for the 60s Brit-winners such as Sandy Shaw or Lulu. I don’t really remember the song contests of the mid-70s when classics from Abba and the Brotherhood of Man were born. I do remember Johnny Logan, Bucks Fizz and Bobbysocks in all their 1980s glory. When Ireland went on a winning streak in the mid-90s we were holding Eurovision parties in our University flats. It was fun and an excuse – if one was really needed – to get very drunk and laugh at rubbish songs. Which we did with an international feel.
So, what happened this year? Why are you so frustrated? Why are we suddenly upset about the bias? Simply because we did not do well? That’s a little childish, isn’t it?
The Scandinavians always voted for each other (as they did this year). For goodness sake, we always expect Ireland to vote for the UK and vice versa (and we hope Malta does too) while we know the French won’t. Call it political, call it similar musical tastes but that’s how it’s always been. It’s not going to change. But that doesn’t stop it being wonderfully silly entertainment in the best sense.
The last 10 contests have been won by Sweden, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Turkey, Ukraine, Greece, Finland, Serbia and Russia. If we take the 90s as the point when Eastern Europe started to enter the content then that makes it five wins to the new countries (Estonia, Latvia, Ukraine, Serbia & Russia) and 5 wins to the older entrants (Sweden, Denmark, Turkey, Greece & Finland).
Seems pretty fair to me. So, why have you started to loose your sense of humour?
Update on the voting from popbitch: “If only traditional Western European countries had voted this year the UK would have been third from bottom, rather than one of three with the lowest points”.
On this day…
No other posts on this day.
ITV’s Friday night soap, Echo Beach, is not doing too well, according to The Guardian. This is a shame really as I don’t think it’s the worst programme on television by far and, given some time, could be a ratings winner. It does suffer from two problems: it’s in the wrong slot and the behind-the-scenes ‘Moving Wallpaper’ doesn’t do it any favours.
The Guardian reckons ITV Viewers want something different on Friday nights, “They like cars and explosions, and shows they know. With Echo Beach they got Hollyoaks by the sea. You can’t replace dark, edgy dramas with surfer teens and expect the audience not to flinch.” This maybe true but I think the Moving Wallpaper factor is just as relevant.
Moving Wallpaper (MW) is the comedy-drama of the behind-the-scenes shenanigans that airs immediately before the soap. Yet the soap is supposed to be able to stand alone. If, however, you watch an episode of MW then you can’t help but look for the references: the skimpy bikini, the surf board, the picture in the shop – whatever it is – and that devalues the soap itself. It’s a great idea and MW is funny and, as it stands, MW is the better programme because of the way it is viewed. Separate them and they might both work with different audiences; after all, a drama about hot young things by the sea (where the need to remove clothes) is usually a ratings hit!
On this day…
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You could be mistaken from yesterday’s post but television isn’t really that important. It does make for something to write about which doesn’t relate to the cold outside. Still, the wonders of the web never cease and it appears that DigiGuide – if you pay an account – might be able to do something close to my TV alert system that I hoped for. In this multi channel world, with increasing competition, channel controllers will find it harder to make their shows stand out and need to get the word out about a new series via more mediums than a promotion on their – or a sister – channel.
I have another example. Ghost Whisperer is, according to Wikipedia, “one of several fantasy television programs about young women with gifts for supernatural communication”. I think that makes it sound less ridiculous than it is but it’s immensely enjoyable. In the last episode of Series 2, “Melinda has a terrifying experience that reveals some information about her family” which is all well and good but does leave us wanting the next series. Now, who knows when that will air? If you find out, let me know.
On this day…
2003: In Need of Exposure? Visit A Salon!
2008. Go on say it, 2008. How did we get here? Not only 2008 but, basically, February 2008. I really want to go and shout it from the rooftops: February 2008. If you expressed each year as a percentage of your life to date then each one is worth less than the the one before. Back in 2000, each year represented about 3.3% of my life; this year that number will be 2.6% of my life. So, I guess, each year appears to pass quicker because it represents less of the time you have spent wandering the earth.
That reads a little gloomily really. I didn’t intend that, it’s just such a while since I was here yet it feels like such a short time.
January is the time of nostalgia where we review the highs and lows of the previous years. I discovered this year that there were only thirteen episodes of Mr Benn. Honestly, only thirteen yet it seemed like a thousand. See, I can count my life in trivial TV facts. Can it really be 18 (or maybe 19) years since Michael Cashman played Colin in EastEnders? Is it really six years since Gary Lucy last appeared in Hollyoaks? The actor who used to play Adric in Doctor Who now lives in Connecticut. Yes, these are the great televisual questions than we grapple with through the years.
We all love television programmes in some way. So, why then, in this multi channel age is it almost impossible to know when a new series of your favourite television show is on. Boston Legal, one of the best TV shows on today, starts a brand new fourth series on Thursday on Living TV. But you wouldn’t know because it’s not been promoted well. They have been showing ‘coming soon’ promotions for a few weeks but I’ve only just seen the date. I could easily have missed it. Pop along to the living TV web site and it’s mentioned but I am not checking every day. Perhaps I should, ‘Extreme Skinny Celeb Mums’ must be post in itself .
Where is the TV episode alert system? Somebody should do it. Get a simple email notifying you when the next series of your favourite shows start. Prison Break back on Sky One? Just a little note to let you know.
I don’t want to know when every episode is aired. I can find that out once I know the series is starting but I can’t watch all the channels all the time and would like a little reminder.
And a reminder when Phil is back on TV never hurt anybody. The calendar for 2008 is Phil Olivier.
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2004: Integrity in Public Life
2004: Favourite Photography