Tuesday, 13 May 2014

What does Europe mean to you?: 8

Hello Europe, this is Bournemouth calling. Here are the votes from the Dorset jury.


Before I give you the results of the 'Choose an Anthem for this year's archaeological Big Dig', let me entertain you all with a song... OK, well, let me at least tell you what a great show you've put on for us all tonight. Alright, so there were maybe, just maybe, a few too many power ballads..

far, far too many power ballads.

And, now I come to think of it, way, way too many examples of extreme interpretative dance

(generated, I guess, in an attempt to disguise the fact that the songs that they accompanied were, well not to put too fine a point on it, frankly a bit poo).

Actually, sometimes these unrelated background distractions far outstripped the song itself, providing the only truly memorable aspect of the performance. Ukrainian man in a giant hamster wheel anyone?

or how about Azerbaijani woman on a trapeze?

or ice-skating Montenegrin?

or bearded Austrian lady?

or conjoined Russian twins?

or milk-churning Slavs "showing their natural beauty"..?

(at least that's what I think the song said they were supposed to be doing....not really sure about that one).

In the end, though, it all boiled down to the usual mix of glorious insanity, dynamic 'lets-get-out-of-the-minibus-and-start-mattocking-like-crazy' energy and the full compliment of 'hey, hey, hey' s. So, without any further ado, the results of the Dorset jury, now that the full quota of bribes have arrived and been counted, are as follows:

Three points go to the Caligula-disco of La mia citta performed by Italy's (no second name) 'Emma':

What they hell was she thinking?...truly wonderful.

Four points go to cookery-obsessed 'Aarzemnieki' from Latvia with their Marry-Berry inspired Cake to Bake':

Quirky, strange and faintly sinister, this jolly ditty sadly never made it past the semi-final (even though the singer claims to have discovered Atlantis on his way to the kitchen).

Five points are awarded by Dorset to Cheesecake by 'Teo' from (surprisingly) Stalin-esque Belarus who gave us his sub-Sinatra / Michael Buble routine all hooked upon the line "My Sweet Cheesecake" (which continued, and developed, the baking-theme from the previous song):

I suspect something got lost in translation.

Six glorious and well-deserved points go to Hunter of Stars by Switzerland's 'Sebalter':

which threw everything at the performance including whistling, fiddling (oo-er) and a rousing interlude of hey, hey heying.

Seven points are awarded by the Dorset jury to My Slowianie - We are Slavic by Poland's Donatan and Cleo:

a rapping, slapping, heaving musical version of Carry on Matron.

Eight points to must go to the infuriatingly catchy Moustache by France's 'Twin Twin':

a heart-rending tale of one young man's unsuccessful attempts to produce hair on his upper lip.

Ten points are awarded to the spectacular No Prejudice by Iceland's answer to the Teletubbies, the wonderfully named 'Pollaponk':

an inspired piece of synchronised, hirsute primary-coloured madness.

And now, the moment you've all been waiting for (cue drum roll). 

It was a truly close-run thing and several times during the night the song that eventually came second (No Prejudice) was vying for first place, the lead changing many times over as the jury debated, argued and punched each other, but, in the end, there could really only ever be one winner. Twelve points go to Rise Up by Greece's 'Freaky Fortune featuring RiskyKidd':

OK so there was a bit of rapping BUT it had a trampoline AND of course, was the only song of the entire night that featured contest then really.

So as Greece once more tops the list of successful themes for the dig (I'd shout 'fix' if I didn't know that the voting had been so scrupulous and fair), rural Dorset prepares for the archaeo-musical onslaught.

C'mon and rise up! Thank you Europe and good night.

Monday, 5 May 2014

What does Europe mean to you?: 7

As we speak, the annual competition "choose an Archaeological Dig Anthem", which most TV pundits still refer to (in rather outdated terms) as the Eurovision Song Contest, is making preparations for the first of two semifinals, with the final, in Copenhagen, set for Saturday May 10th 2014...'s all very exciting.

Every dig needs an anthem: a wildly insane 3 minute burst of hectic energy with (ideally) enthusiastic trumpets, a rousing chorus and, with any luck, a good handful of 'hey, hey, hey' s to be played on a constant, teeth grinding, hair-raising, brain-melting, mattock-wielding loop. Transmitted on tannoy systems around the site, nothing gets the picks, shovels and wheelbarrows moving more effectively than a loud and sanity-free slice of Europop.

This time, no doubt, all journalistic eyes will be on the bigger political game (more so than usual anyway). In previous years it's been refreshing to see, across the European Superstate, neighbours vote for neighbours, allies for allies, old enemies for new friends. Better, I've always thought, to see badly-dressed representatives from the Balkan states each giving one another 12 points rather than the alternative (immaculately uniformed representatives from the Balkan states laying into one another with bullets). This year, however, Europe seems more divided than ever. For the last 3 years, the Russian entry to Eurovision has been booed by the crowd (surely their songs weren't that bad?), so how Russia and Ukraine get on in 2014 as they share the same stage, is quite frankly anyone's guess. Finger's crossed that inspired lunacy wins the night (although I suspect that whatever the result, there won't be much celebration on the streets of eastern Europe).

Last year, Greece’s entry Alcohol Is Free (sung by Koza Mostra, featuring Agathon Iakovidis) won the Big Dig Anthem prize:

Although the unofficial voting system broadcast by the BBC claimed they only came 6th (with a mere 152 points), behind Russia, Norway, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Denmark (none of whom had men in skirts, trumpets or a single 'hey' in the chorus - thus disqualifying them all on a technicality).

Who will win the coveted 'Big Dig Anthem' prize for the 2014 season? This time next week it will all be over so dust off your spandex pants and buff up your's showtime.