Monday, 11 May 2009


One topic that is constantly in the news (at least in Cyprus) is that of European expansion - in particular the possibility of Turkey becoming the first Muslim country to join the European Union.

A lot of countries support this, but Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkosy, the leaders of Germany and France, aren't so keen. They feel that Turkey lies geographically outside of Europe.

Now, this isn't a political blog, so I'll make no comment about this particular issue. There are however other, wider, definitions of Europe. I'm thinking in particular about the European Broadcasting Union.

The EBU is an organisation that includes countries such as Egypt and Tunisia, that are of course part of North Africa. It's associate members even include Canada and the USA. In the old days, the EBU organised live events broadcast around the globe by new-fangled satellite technology. These satellites didn't do anything other than reflect the TV signals, a bit like having a large mirror in space, and so the quality was somewhat ropy, but the resulting blurry images were high tech in the 50s.

Sadly, associate members don't appear to be included in the annual Eurovision Song Contest. This is the most famous of the EBU's activities. EBU countries can each submit an entry, and each country shows the competition live on TV. Each country also votes for what it thinks is the best song, and the country that wins gets to host the next year's event.

Sweden's Entry in 1962:

A few years ago, that well known European country Israel won with a transvestite singer. Last year, the Russians won, and so this year's competition (the 54th) is being held in Moscow.

Traditionally the competition serves two purposes. First, it is used to showcase each country's worst singing talent - a bit like an international karaoke evening. Secondly, it promotes hostility and disunity through Europe, with countries giving more points to their friends, and "null points" to their enemies. Some people claim that Russia won last year because of all the former Soviet Union countries.

Sometimes, though, people don't play by the rules. In 1974 ABBA won the contest for Sweden and became internationally famous. This year Andrew Lloyd Webber has written the British entry. I can't comment on it, since I've not heard it.

What's really disappointing that the USA and Canada don't get to take part, and so the majority of readers of this blog won't be able to go through the same pain as the rest of us. I mean, you won't be able to enjoy the marvellous annual event that is the Eurovision Song Contest.

This contest starts tomorrow. It used to be only one night, but now it's three because there are so many countries involved that they have to have two nights of semi-finals. So that you don't feel completely left out, here are the entries for Cyprus and Greece. I think it's a bit sad that both entries are in English last year - at least the Cypriots had a Greek song in 2008.





Dan said...

First !

Bee said...

Dan you big doodoo head!

I hate those talent shows. They make my ears bleed. ABBA rocks, Brian. They ROCK!

Jean Knee said...

we suffer through enough of that sort of thing. I couldn't even tell the first one was English

Can you hear the drums, Fernando?

Jean Knee said...

I always knew we were part of Europe. one big world, baby

why was I not FIRST?? that position should be reserved for me

No Cool Story said...


Thanks for writing this. I have seen the videos on YouTube but had no idea what that was all about.

Fascinating really:
"First, it is used to showcase each country's worst singing talent"

Also, why would those songs be in English? So weird.

(Suffering along with the tue bond of blog brethren!)

Brian o vretanos said...


Poor Jean Knee


At least ABBA were musicians.

Jean Knee:

Blame Dan.


Last year, at least the Cypriot entry was in Greek. I think they hope people are more likely to vote for them if they can understand the words.

Thankyou for feeling my pain.