Fifty years after Jetty Paerl took to the Lugano stage and burst into The Birds of Holland, the Eurovision Song Contest is still luring 450 million of us to the sofa on that special Saturday night in May. But where once we settled down to admire the top-quality original songwriting that the contest was inaugurated to showcase, throughout the long post-ABBA decades Eurovision has come to entertain us for all the wrong reasons- we chortle at its magnificent foolishness, its stubborn reinforcement of the crudest national stereotypes, at a scoreboard shamelessly corrupted by cross-border friendship and hatred. nd as post-modern connoisseurs of showbiz meltdown, our focus has shifted from the blandly competent winners to the spangled, hapless, table-propping losers, those left to wander the lonely, windswept summit of Mount Fiasco. The gold standard of farcical failure, the benchmark of badness, to score nul points is to suffer international ignominy and find sympathetic understanding replaced by brutal guffaws. emorseful of his own longstanding contributions to the latter chorus, yet darkly fascinated with those lives shadowed by the entertainment world s most grandiose humiliati
Tim Moore's books include French Revolutions, Do Not Pass Go and Spanish Steps. He lives in London.