Well fancy seeing you here...

Hello and welcome to the rambling rollercoaster of useless ponderings, strung together in what the internet calls a "blog," and the voices call a waste of everyone elses time.

Please check your sanity at the door (along with your dignity, logic, principles, good taste and prejudices against daftness.)

"I am here to seduce you into a love of life; to help you to become a little more poetic; to help you die to the mundane and to the ordinary so that the extraordinary explodes in your life." -Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh

Sunday, 25 May 2008

Eurovision: Should Have Gone To Specsavers

This week was Eurovision week!

That exclamation mark is ironic, by the way, as the event was anything but worthy of acclaim. The contest has always been ridiculous - and was celebrated as such - but now the European eccentricity has given way entirely to a calculated political parade. The astonishing blend of lunacy and national pride has been replaced by sly allegiances and an almost schoolyard-clique approach to voting for ones neighbours and allies. Any element of competition that may once have existed has now been tamed by greater political aspirations. I imagine the newer, less powerful EU countries dolling themselves up like the new-girl in the office, nervously dropping compliments to the longstanding players so they might have someone to sit with in the canteen. (Though if Bosnia Herzegovina gets drunk at the after-party and photocopies its arse, while Armenia and Sweden have a fumble in the toilets then the next EU summit G8, might need more than Bob Geldof taking a stroll to keep the peace. Thank God Columbia wasn't there; just look at the bad press Kate Moss got for their national hobby!)

Our act was mediocre: entertaining, inoffensive and non-threatening as many of our higher-placing entries have been in the past (think Cliff Richard singing 'Congratulations,' or Bucks Fizz, or Lulu.) The fate of Andy Abraham was decided in Parliament however, long before he stepped onto the Eurovision stage, and his joint-second-to-last ranking in the competition supported this unfortunate prediction.

The winning act was a Russian singer who sells out stadiums in his home nation, and so is a more accomplished performer with a larger base of supporting fans than former talent-show runner-up Abraham. Top-ten acts this year included the gloriously naff Latvian pirates - who represented a little of the old Eurovision - and were endearingly camp and ingenuously appalling. Other acts attempted to be subversive, ironic and mocking of the whole Eurovision tradition - which sullies the memory of the formerly good-natured bonkers-music-fest, where Europe could exhibit it's nutters on an international stage without upsetting Amnesty International.

Terry Wogan's commentary was humorously sardonic and derisive as always, and is really the only remaining reason to suffer three hours of sequinned circus showcasing. Whether he will return to the event next year is uncertain, as after 37yrs he is tiring of the change for the worse. This will also have been the first year where he could predict - purely politically - who would win. He was convinced that with the fuel and energy crises, and other political instabilities, a Baltic state would scoop first place and he was proven correct.

The complexities of modern media have seen me reaching back to entertainment from simpler times, and I have a renewed appreciation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I reference him occasionally because he had ties to Portsmouth, but have been reading a little about his life, and how the last few years of it were given over to an unfortunate regard for the supernatural, un-tempered by his previous scepticism.

I remember years and years ago first watching a documentary about the Cottingly Fairies (I think it might have been on those Arthur C Clarke video's, actually, which may be why I get the two Arthur C's confused.) The younger of the two girls involved - by then an elderly woman - was being interviewed, and said that they had traced images of dancing angels or cherubs from a prayer-book, and drawn wings on them before cutting them out and attaching them to hatpins - so that once placed in the ground thy would flutter realistically. They took five photographs, but I think only admitted to faking four of them, and insisted that they did initially see fairies. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was duped by their 'evidence,' along with much of the country, and referenced them in several publications - helping increase the fame of their fictional imps and gnomes.

The Cottingly Fairies


However, the most glorious piece of information that came to my attention regarding the author - and the thing for which I will love him forevermore - is the tale of a little prank he played.

The anecdote suggests that one day he sent a telegram reading: "Flee at once. All is discovered," to five of his friends - just to see what they would do. All of them were outwardly upstanding members of the community and gentlemen of merit, but one of them vanished, never to be heard from again! Conan Doyle has no idea why his friend disappeared, but surmised that even the best of men have secrets.

I adore things like that! It was mischievous of him, yes, but was a rather benign prank - made more out of curiosity than malice. Though his friends' guilty conscience complicated matters far more than predicted, it was his intrigue at human nature that lead him to write the note, and his disregard for everything right and proper that persuaded him to send it! Sir Arthur Conan Doyle achieved a lot, but I will remember him most fondly for that amusing little telegram, and for taking seriously Elsie Wright and Frances Griffiths' photographs of 'fairies.'

The only other notable moment of this week was the discovery that I cannot spell Piranha's (see, I just had to look it up then, and then I made a cup of tea and had to look it up a second time because I had forgotten it again.) So I have renamed them "Snappy-Bitey-Fish." I have also decided that I hate Wikipedia, because well-meaning people edit all the nonsense out of it.

There is nothing as useless as fact.

Well... Except for Boris Johnson.

(...Or having midget shelf-stackers in Tesco's)

(..Or maybe a chocolate ironing board.)

Okay, so there are lots of things more useless than fact - but few less interesting things to find on an internet web-page about Pir-... Pira-... Pirhana-... Snappy-Bitey-Fish.

The End. And I didn't mention socks once (well, not more than the once that they have just been mentioned right there.) You'll not find this superior quality drivel anywhere else of the whole inter-web-netty-cyber-thing.

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