The appeal of this evergreen contest has morphed over the years from a serious attempt at European cultural union in the wake of World War Two, into a glorious camp-fest beloved of anyone who’s ever slipped into sequins and gold lamé. In 1956 only seven countries took part and the UK missed the submission deadline would you believe. Reluctant Europeans - surely some mistake?
This year a note of seriousness has crept back in with the news that some national flags and flags of proscribed organisations won’t be allowed into the audience arena and that any “political” waving of the LGBT+ rainbow flag will be frowned upon.
The organisers are in a pickle now, what with the UK’s entry being sung by a proudly Welsh performer from Rhuthun alongside his friend from Stoke-on-Trent: no Welsh Dragons allowed so maybe just the highly visible use of some tasteful Wedgewood?
As for the “political” use of the rainbow flag – surely everyone will just boo the contestants with openly homophobic governments instead, so the waving of flags would seem preferable to that for the poor performers involved surely?
Back to the music itself: forty years ago the UK won with Brotherhood of Man and Save All Your Kisses For Me, with not a disputed flag in sight, although Sweden refused to take part, afraid they might win and have the hideous expense of hosting it all over again. These days the UK seem to be the whipping boys of the contest, shunned by even the pan-European LGBT+ equality vote.
How can the UK do this year? Lovely Joe & Jake sing that we’re not alone and we’re all in it together – a strangely familiar remark…. so can they break the UK jinx? Or are we headed even further towards Norway’s fabulous record of coming last on eleven occasions? I almost envy that one.
With tactical voting, intense European rivalry and power-broking, cheery Australians, a tasty buffet, in-screen bar, great frocks and, you never know, maybe even the occasional good tune, what’s not to like?
So, nul points for guessing that come 14 May, I’ll be here at FACT, waiting with baited breath to see the whole crazy shebang. This year we are screening directly from the BBC, not live streaming, so whatever happens, it’ll look crystal clear. I’ve got a rainbow flag with a Welsh Dragon on it to cover all bases, and although I probably won’t repeat my Conchita beard effect from last year, I’m definitely ready to party!
As ever, we’ll be raising money for Children in Need and Liverpool Pride, keeping good faith with the Contest’s original human rights raison d’être – good clean fun with a heart of gold after all.
Book your ticket to The Eurovision 2016 Party at FACT - tickets include pre-screening party, and a goody bag to take away!