Good show! No politics allowed
The Eurovision Song Contest was never everyone’s cup of tea. Banale, trite, cheesy? But this year it got into a hullaballoo over whether Vladimir Zelenski should be allowed to speak at it last night. No. No politics please. Shut up, if you don’t mind.
Yes, a Zelensky visit might have been immensely symbolic but he probably wasn’t going to ask the fans to give him guns. Ukraine won last year and so it should have hosted the show this time around but there are too many percussionists and whizbangs over there already. The Brits put it on in Liverpool, the Mecca for old Beatles fans. It was amazing to watch the phantasmagorical light shows and pyrotechnics.
It wasn’t live on television but YouTube had it on, as Zimbabweans would know from YouTube’s coverage of issues hushed up by our local state media on corruption and misrule here. (There evidently was some sort of monopoly on broadcasting rights out of Liverpool.)
As for the politics, this year’s Ukrainian act had lyrics saying ‘’stick your middle finger up,’’ presumably at Putin, and ‘’no matter what you say, we got no fear’’ in the song entitled Heart of Steel.
Former Soviet territories except Putin’s current acolytes were all in, now considered part of Europe thanks to the dissolution of the USSR by Mr Gorbachev. The musical troupe from Croatia, one of the Soviet era’s nastiest regimes, wore quasi-miltary uniforms and the Chechens were pleasant enough for those of us who thought people only kill each other in Chechnya.
Non-European Australia and Israel were performing among the 26 participating countries too because of their long associations with Western broadcast organisations that have run the contest since Day One.
All in all, a shedload lot of money was spent on stadium and stage decor, multi-coloured spotlights, trick photogaphy and graphics – Israel’s, of course, included the Star of David – for this extravagant extravaganza. Billions of viewers are expected to watch it around the world later to enjoy the music, the extraordinary costumes and the lithe gymnastics-like dancers in tight, revealing outfits oozing sexuality.
Electronic voting for the winners took place with the only proviso that you couldn’t vote for your own country. Individuals were entitled to 20 votes but you had to pay up-front Euro 0.99 with a bank card for each vote you cast.
All this boodle could have bought plenty of guns, ammo and combat drones for Vladimir Zelensky, the former stand-up comedian, actor and performer himself who became Ukraine’s president well before Vladimir Putin took Russia to war. The entertainment world would surely have loved to see him on stage once more, not always on the stage of international politics begging for fighter planes, tanks and missiles that he seems very good at.
(***By the way, three times more people took notice of my recent ‘rumpy pumpy’ offering here on this medium than looked at my war stories a day earlier. It goes to show that Oscar Wilde was right when he said: Life is far too serious to be taken seriously. ***)