August 2009 Archives
Long-term readers of Boom Bang a Blog will remember Chris Knight, who filed some rather good reports and interviews from Belgrade in the run up to last year's Eurovision.
As well as liking song contests, Chris is also dead keen on the great outdoors and BBaB is happy to report that the group Mr Knight is a leading member of, Outdoor Lads, won the Best Float trophy in the parade at this year's Pride, held in Manchester over the Bank Holiday weekend.
Chris is in the safari suit colours in the middle of this photo. Well done to him and all the other Outdoor Lads. You can find out a bit more about the group, an outdoor pursuits group that's just for the boys, here.
Boom Bang a Blog was also at Pride this year. Tragically, I didn't have a float from which I could proudly wave a 12ftx12ft placard of John Siddle standing next to Alexander Rybak while dressed as Katie Boyle, although I did see the woman who plays Lilian in Shameless having a chat with Anthony Crank on the big stage - and danced to Bucks Fizz after too many shandies.
So, a fairly successful day all round, then.
The following clip is shown to students of TV production everywhere. It's the feed from industry legend and maverick, the late Stewart Morris, a stalwart of big BBC productions, as he directed his team through the hairy final moments and winning reprise of Eurovision 1977 at the Wembley Conference Centre in London.
PLEASE BE AWARE! Mr Morris does not hold back on his language, so don't click on this clip if easily offended by extremely salty words.
Our favourite bits are where he's screaming at someone to make the flags start revolving and the moment he realises the end credits have gone missing.
That's how the Contest ended, but let's delve a little deeper into how it all began in 1977...
It's another nine months before Contesty things get going in Oslo, but the Turkish media was in a bit of a tizz last week over the news its biggest international star may have signed on the dotted line for National Eurovision Duty next year.
In his homeland, pop stars don't come any bigger and such is his stardom on t'other end of the Continent, if the reports are true, a top five Turkish finish is practically guaranteed in Oslo.
But nothing has been confirmed yet. Tarkan's manager, Ulgar Atash, has strongly denied the reports.
One official statement read: "The reports that Tarkan will represent Turkey in Eurovision 2010 are not true... TRT (Turkish telly) has not offered it to Tarkan this year. Tarkan received proposals on participation in the Contest in previous years, but he rejected them. If we receive such a proposal this year, we will reject. Tarkan is not going to participate in this Contest in the coming years."
That does sound rather final. However, Turkey's representative last year, Hadise, made similar official rumblings before her participation was publicly announced.
In 1976, the BBC decided to stop asking an established act to put themselves forward for Eurovision and A Song For Europe became an open competition for the first time since 1963. This meant that songwriters could now marry up their potential entry with the act of their choice, which composers found a far more favourable arrangement.
Michael Aspel hosted the Miss World-style heat, which even got the front cover slot on the Radio Times, where 12 acts lined up for the right to represent the UK. That line-up included Tony 'Amarillo' Christie, who finished third with this and '60s favourite Frank Ifield who sadly finished last with this. After a close-fought fight with the group CoCo (and you'll hear more about them in a future Bluffer's Guide) and some genuinely good-quality contemporary stuff among the competing dozen (Boom Bang a Blog's personal favourite is this), the winner-by-a-squeak of A Song For Europe 1976 was Brotherhood of Man with Save Your Kisses For Me.
The quartet's biggest battle was already behind them. When they got to Eurovision in The Hague they won with very little trouble at all.
Winners 1976: Brotherhood of Man perform Save Your Kisses For Me for the United Kingdom
The song topped the charts and went on the be the biggest selling single of the year in the UK, shifting more copies than ABBA's Dancing Queen, Elton John and Kiki Dee's Don't Go Breaking My Heart and the much-hyped/much-banned Sex Pistols early work.
And there was also that dance.
If this report about Azerbaijanis who voted for the Armenian act (pictured below) during this year's Eurovision being taken in for questioning by the authorities regarding their national loyalties is true, it's a disgrace.
Despite its ridiculous songs, nonsensical lyrics, questionable fashions and over the top choreography, the one thing Eurovision gets so right each year is that it makes 200 million people sit down in front of the gogglebox for three-and-a-half hours and be nothing but entertained.
To use it to prove a political point isn't just completely aginst the spirit of the thing, its downright ludicrous.
What next? Everyone who voted for Ireland must automatically be a member of the Daniel O'Donnell fan club?
Firstly, has anyone heard Angel sing live? If the answer is 'no', then could she please put her plans to represent the UK at Eurovision on hold until she can prove she can belt out a tune in an arena with 10,000-plus people in it?
There seems to be a habit of Big Brother contestants wanting to enter Eurovision. Regardless of the fact they have absolutely no singing talent/experience whatsoever, they are still under the impression this will be no barrier to them entering a competition where singing talent/experience is vital to you doing well.
As you may have read in the press, Angel, the Russian ex-housemate of the show about seven people are watching this summer, is determined to keep her head above the notoriety parapet by throwing her topper into the ring for next year's BBC ticket to Oslo.
It's just ridiculous. The thing is, if the BBC goes back to its half-hearted approach to Eurovision next year, then there's a very good chance Angel will be inpart of the shortlisted line-up of hopefuls.
The same thing has happened before. Kemal, an entrant of BB past who spent a lot of time flouncing about the house and harumphing dramatically if he didn't get enough attention wanted to 'do' Eurovision. Most insultingly of all, Chanelle - a girl whose only ambition in life was to marry a footballer on the night she entered the house, suddenly decided she was a singer when the public (quickly and quite rightly) lost all interest in her and said she was going to 'do' Eurovision in a duet with her boyfriend and BB housemate, Ziggy.
Is there something pumped through the air conditioning in that house in Elstree which miraculously turns the wannabes within into world class singing talent? If not, then could these ridiculous attention seekers please stay away from our Contest? Thank you.
Bags-of-fun former Eurovision winner, Johnny Logan, has been speaking to the Irish Times about his disappointment in the way the country he has thrice earned the Eurovision trophy for has become rather rubbish at Eurovision, likening those behind the national selection process to "headless chickens".
The 20th Eurovision Song Contest came from Stockholm and it was very, very blue. The set was blue, the scoreboard was blue and the presenter's dress was blue. Debutantes Turkey were also blue, albeit in more abstract fashion - and we'll get to them later.
This was also the first year that 'douze points' was awarded at the Eurovision Song Contest. The voting system had been thoroughly overhauled to make everything as fair as possible, ABBA had suddenly made the Contest seem a credible sorta-thing for pop groups to enter and the viewing figures were going through the roof across the continent.
All 1975 needed was another top-drawer, bespoke slab of prime European pop to take the trophy and the Contest could maybe, just maybe, become the event songwriters of every calibre would sweat semi-quavers to be part of.
The judges went for this:
Winner 1975: Teach-In perform Ding Dinge Dong for the Netherlands
If you read the Bluffer's Guide to Eurovision 1974, you'll have seen mention of British singer Ireen Sheer, who represented Luxembourg in Brighton.
Here she is, singing Bye Bye, I Love You, possibly the only French song ever performed with a British accent.
"Hmm... those Swedes I passed in the wings seemed quite talented..."
Poor Ireen had the misfortune of being the Eurovision entrant which followed ABBA in the draw - a bit like that stand-up comic who thought he was finally getting his big break with a slot on the Ed Sullivan Show, but ended up coming on right after The Beatles had finished their historic first performance and failed to make any impact at all.
However, an article of the BBC News magazine website yesterday listed 30 Britons who are really famous abroad, but nobody has the faintest idea who they are back in the UK. Can you guess who made the list? Check out number 26...
We can't find the story that goes with this magazine cover, but as you can see, it's the ever popular Scandinavian periodical Allers (it's still going strong today). In this edition, dated April 29, 1973, Sweden's 1966 runner-up, Lill Lindfors and Anni-Frid of the as-yet-to-be-called-that ABBA were asked by the team behind the staple read for Swedish housewives of the era, to come up with some lovely outfits for just 300 Swedish kroner. Boom Bang a Blog is not entirely sure if that was a lot of money or not in Sweden in 1973, but it works out in today's money at about ÃÂ£25 and five pee.
As there appears to be no link to the article from the cover, it's not clear who won, but our money is on Anna-Frid. Anyone who witnessed what she turned up on stage wearing as ABBA hit its international peak must realise what a slave to trends our Frida was (ahem).
The very serious-looking lady pictured below Lill Lindfors on this particular cover of Allers didn't appear to be taking part in any sort of fashion challenge, though. In fact, Boom Bang a Blog's internet-based research indicate Estelle Bernadotte is linked with Swedish aristocracy, so could probably afford to spend a lot more than 300 kroner on a frock and a handbag in Scandinavia's mid-70s equivalent of Primark.