Friday, 9 May 2008

Oh Ireland, my friend, with this singing turkey, you really spoil me!

Dustin the Turkey Eurovision

Ireland has been really good to me, and I have grown to love it back. Trouble is, love comes with more baggage than the backed-up halls of Heathrow Airport's Terminal 5.
When one of my close friends is making a complete arse of themselves, or exposing an embarrassing weakness, love pours forth from me in the guises of compassion and empathy.
I hurt for my friend.
I wish they could see that what they were doing was wrong.
I wish they realised how silly they had been, and I wished that they might see their own strengths.
Even as a wee child back in London in the 1960s, we knew that Eurovision was nothing more than a bit of a laugh. Of course there was great glory for the winning singer and kudos for the song, and we sat as a family, whooping and cheering and booing and never ever took it seriously.
But over here you thought Eurovision mattered, producing the execrable mediocrity of Johnny Logan and desperate melancholy of Brendan Graham's Rock'n'Roll Kids.
When that one made Ireland third time winners in a row, I collapsed back in my armchair, fearful that my beloved adopted country would never grow up.
And then came Dustin and 'Irelande Douze Pointe', and once more I could breathe. There was hope for my friend yet.
At last Ireland has woken up to its own genius.
As they say in Yorkshire: There's none so blind as them won't see. Maybe some kind of national post-colonial (steady steady, I know there's still that bit up north) head injury has led the Irish to seek one new master after another.
Maybe colonialism acts a little like being stuck in a mental hospital, or a prison? After you're let out, you kind of miss the comfort zone of not having to think for yourselves. You used to be able to sit around and complain, validly bemoaning your victim status, whilst all the while knowing exactly where you were and what was going on.
But then the newly-formed Republic chose to dance the necessary evil of the economic pas-de-deux with the old colonial master. To this day I can recall the looks of pure joy and vengeful bliss on the faces of Galwegians when, in the early 1990s, the Irish Punt became briefly worth more than the Pound Sterling. At that moment I understood how profoundly the Irish had willingly enslaved themselves once more.
Then came the European Union, and 7.6 billion euros of Structural Adjustment Funds, and well, just would ye ever look at that, now, sure, isn't your economy booming?
Throughout my 16 years in this country, successive governments have chosen to offer massive tax subsidies and financial incentives to foreign, mostly American companies, who come in, employ as few permanent staff as possible, make their money and naff off back to their homeland as soon as the Dollar flops or the Euro rises.
They don't give a damn about Ireland, and yet the Irish hand over to them all the financial breaks, without ever uttering a word against them when they destroy local lives and communities by leaving.
Collectively the Irish are some of the smartest folk I know, yet for the longest most painful time, they have been unable to see that what the rest of the world has known all along: that you are intelligent, hard-working (when you want to be), ingenious, imaginative, tenacious and adventurous.
But for some reason when the hands that built America work on a road in their own country, they think that filling a pothole with loose gravel and pouring on some pitch is good enough.
Seeing how the rest of the world take you seriously, isn't it about time you got your priorities right, and exploited your strengths on the home front?
Doing Irish the Irish way; the way the Irish know best, finally having the confidence to trust your own talent.
Like Dustin.
'Twould be marvellous if the national enlightenment vis-รก-vis the gravitas of the Eurovision Song Contest was merely the spark that lit the pilot light of Irish self-confidence. Turn your national backs on the financial incentives for the likes of Digital and other fly-by-nights, and demand that such monies are redirected into a new wave of electrifying and ingenious Irish start-up companies run by people who care about the country, and the well-being of the people who live in it.
So good luck to Dustin in the Serbian capital Belgrade on 20 May and hopefully the final, four days later.
Or maybe not. After all, there are more important things.
Nobody could ever say it clearer than your very own singing turkey:
"Oh I come, from a nation
What knows how to write a song
Oh Europe, where or where did it all go wrong?
COME ON!!!!!!"
Blissfully unaware that they are creating layer upon layer of absurd parody, satirising the nightmare that is the European Parliament itself, a bunch called 'The Governing Body of the European Broadcasting Union's (EBU) Eurovision Song Contest Reference Group' (EBUESCRG), (love it already) which, is described in the words of their own website as: "... a. group representative of EBU member countries participating in the Eurovision Song contest which liaises directly with the EBU to guide and approve the major elements of the concept, development and preparation of the Eurovision Song Contest" have been gently kicking up a storm about some of the Irish entry's lyrics.
Indeed, unofficially, the EBUESCRG has asked the Irish delegation to change a few of the words in Dustin's song.
At a point in the song when the Irish turkey sings a list of the names of several countries, he refers to 'Macedonia'.
Trouble is, apparently some people prefer it being called the 'Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia', while others like it trimmed down to 'FYR Macedonia'.
Blissfully unaware of how droningly dull it is to dissect wit, the EBU has planted its official backside on the fence, refusing to state clearly if a request has come from somewhere to change these lyrics, and if so who so, and if the Greeks why now, and whatever happened to humour?
Yet it matters not a jot, and that is my point. The entire event is worthy of nothing more than a whimsical glance, and now I can love the Irish all the more because I know that you believe it too!
Shooo boopy doo.
Catchy that.


Anonymous said...

But you can always drown your sorrows at Break for the Border this Friday (16th May) in aid of Headway, who offer support to people affected by acquired brain injury. In additon to Mickey Harte and Alan Hughes there will be a host of Eurovision hits and dancers. Tickets €20 in advance/€22 on the door- see

Charlie Adley said...

Sounds good - thanks for for the tip!