November 2010 Archives
There's one thing I can't stand about Twitter. It's when humble souls like you and me follow a favourite celebrity for a while, then send him or her those '@'-style direct messages, worded as though they are really, really close friends, despite them never having met - or are in any way, shape or form ever likely to. In rare cases, of course, the celebrity does reply. This then means that said humble soul is liable to brag to their equally humble of soul pals that he/she is now (actually) 'really good friends' with this celebrity.
Yeh, I really hate it when that happens. But there are exceptions to this thing-about-Twitter hatred. And it happened on Friday morning.
I happened to notice that the BBC's much-approved-of commentator of Eurovision's semi-finals, Mr Paddy O'Connell, was present on Twitter. I sent him the following message: '@paddy_o_c We're doing a Eurovision Pub Crawl Quiz down Canal Street tomorrow - do you have any words of encouragement for us all?'
Three minutes later I got the unexpected reply: '@jmcloughlin oh yes, start in that big tall bar in eastern Europe mode then become more western and scandipop as you walk up the street'
Oh, by the way, did I mention? I know Paddy O'Connell*. Yeh, he's my mate. We're, like, really close...
I'd, like, asked Paddy (my mate) to come along to the pub crawl but he was, like, y'know, filming for BBC Three with Brad Pitt and Cheryl Cole and stuff and couldn't get out of it, so I had to go with some other friends instead.
Here's what we did.
You'll be seeing a few more of these on here in the run-up to next year's Contest in DÃÅsseldorf. As each new month nears, Boom Bang a Blog will take a look at what's going on Eurovision-wise, be it a national final or other such fun.
Hope you like it. I enjoyed putting it together - but as always, let me know if you think it can be improved...
Now, here's a reet wizard wheeze. You will, of course, remember Boom Bang a Guest Blogger Ewan Spence (if I were Richard Madeley on This Morning, I'd introduce him as 'a good friend of the show'). Well, Ewan has now launched his own Contest-related blog to sit alongside this already successful one. Unlike, BBaB, Ewan has a real soft-spot for the end-of-year Junior version of the Song Contest (i've tried with it, I really have, honest...) and has been gearing up for all the action which takes place in Minsk, the Belarussian capital next Saturday (November 20).
It's only right that Belarus is playing host as this is the country that has won the Junior version on two previous occasions, although the Netherlands took the trophy in the 2009 edition. The host country is usually decided 18 months in advance so as not to put the kids taking part under any pressure to win the hosting rights of a gala event for their national broadcaster.
So, here's the wheeze that's wizardy. As the Junior Contest has an age bracket of 10 to 15 years for its participants, Ewan has approached people who are within that year group themselves to give their opinions in one of his regular podcasts. You'll find the first such podcast right here. Happy listening!
In 2007, Malta, the Mediterranean island which holds the Contest so very close to its bosom, was in crisis. After finishing second in Kyiv in 2005, the Maltese had slipped and slid to the opposite end of the scoreboard for the return leg in Athens, when Fabrizio Faniello earned just a single, solitary point from the kind-hearted Albanian jury for his slightly squeaky performance of I Do. It was akin to Brazil finishing last in its qualifying group for the World Cup, the latest Harry Potter book not topping the bestseller lists and Ken Barlow not straying from Deidre when a slinky middle-aged saucebucket crosses his path.
Luckily, they had plans in Valletta. Plans they appeared to have had simmering on the back burner for years. When the shortlist for Malta's Song For Europe was announced and the songs dripped themselves dripped onto the web, one song in particular caused the pricking up of ears. That song was Vertigo, performed by one Olivia Lewis, a woman who had failed to represent Malta at the Contest on 11 previous occasions. Yes, that's right. Eleven previous occasions.
For Olivia, it was twelfth time lucky at the national final stage. But by the time she got to Helsinki, she probably wished she'd stumbled at the starting blocks for yet another year.
If you follow this link here, you will be effortlessly entertained by the poptastic sounds of Another Time, Another Place, the song which finished 4th in A Song For Europe in 1971, the year Northern Ireland's Clodagh Rodgers belted out the six songs in the shortlist. This just leaves one question: why on earth didn't this come out on top? For its time, it's brilliant! Thirty-nine years later, I am most disgruntled at the way the result went and can imagine Pan's People thrusting about to this tune at full throttle on the Top of the Pops stage if Clodagh had been unable to make that week's recording due to a hotpants fitting session.
However, one shouldn't be too hard. At the time of the 1971 heat, there was a postal strike in operation so the usual method of voting by postcards which went straight to Television Centre to be counted up by a gaggle of kind old ladies in lovely blouses went straight out the window. Instead, a selection of people popped up at the end of the Song For Europe show and indicated which song they liked best. This led to the uber Eurovisiony Jack in the Box being chosen for Dublin - but would the postcards have led to a different result? Probably not.
Despite what the experts song choosers at Song For Europe thought, someone else did recognise the obvious merits of Another Time, Another Place. One year later, the song was covered by none other than Englebert Humperdinck and reached number 13 in the UK charts.
Cheers Hump, you're well good.
Good day BBaBers! You will remember in the past that Boom Bang a Blog has been more than happy to let people know about any sociable events taking place in the North West of England involving the Contest of Song - and here is the latest one.
On the afternoon of Saturday, November 20, I'm organising a Eurovision Pub Crawl Quiz, taking in the various hostelries that line Manchester's Canal Street, which will be well known to anyone who has seen the UK version of Russell T Davies' Queer as Folk.
Anyone is welcome to come along and it's a great opportunity to meet and gab away with people who think the Contest is super-smashing-fun as well as show off your knowledge.