Norton Your Nelly


The dreaded Eurovision Song contest will again soon be upon us. Once Terry Wigon decided he’d had enough of the block voting, any fun to be had pretty much disappeared. I freely admit to spending many a happy Saturday night each spring, chuckling away to the wit n wisdom of Terry as he ripped in to the acts, their costumes, and their dreadful, dreadful songs. For the past few years it has been presented on the BBC by Terry’s fellow Irishman and reluctant celebrity Graham Norton. Eurovision is a poor imitation of its former self.

We can thank the competition for ABBA, and rue the day it introduced the world to Riverdance and the morbidly offensive Michael Flately. The music has always been biblically average, the fashions tragic, and the judging makes FIFA or the IOC seem positively fair and above board. The Russia/Ukraine dynamic will be worth a watch at the very least this year. But none of this really ever mattered as Wogan was as cutting and funny on commentary as Norton isn’t. With the correct amount of Guinness, single malt whisky, chicken dansak and convivial company a Eurovision party was a great source of ironically camp mirth and merriment. And you could always run a book on the outcome while giggly along to Terry’s witty, if mildly xenophobic banter. Norton likes making himself laugh, which he does a lot, but laughing out of context is no real substitute for his predecessor’s class.

Of course to some sections of society it still is one the highlights of the year. The ESC is, rather unsurprisingly, hugely popular in within the gay community. A pal of mine (a confirmed batchelor) runs an extraordinarily popular blog dedicated to Eurovision, which tens and tens of thousands of people visit to find out everything they ever wanted or needed to know about the song contest. Now while I’m not suggesting that everyone who clicks onto that site catches the other bus (I just clicked on it for research purposes, honestly) it’s clear that there is a huge appetite out there for this mincing wince-fest.

The newly-admitted eastern European states have embraced the contest with their huge hairy arms as a chance to express themselves. Where once they only had the excitement of annual Soviet Bloc cabbage-throwing competitions or acid rain drinking contests, Eurovision has given them the chance to show the watching millions how their prog rock and endless folk ditties can compete with the worst that Europe has to offer.

Over in Ireland it’s as eagerly awaited as The World Cup, the Second Coming of the Lord, or the Third Cumming of a Catholic Priest. The Irish have had their share of success over the years (certainly more than they’ve had in soccer or rugby) and to win the contest sends yer average Dubliner into fits of orgasmic delight. Heaven only knows how Gay Irishmen react to a win. Kleenex and change of underwear all round, I would think.

So no, it won’t be on my must-view list this year, I’m afraid. I’m not Irish, I’m ball-breakingly hetrosexual, there’ll be no Sir Terrance W and no song this year (or any other) will ever match My Lovely Horse. They really should have entered it, you know.

Big it up for Channel 4 who won’t let me embed the Father Ted video, but you can see it here.

and now a word from our sponsor…

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