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It sure was all kinds of everything at this year’s Eurovision contest

May 20th, 2024 2:45 PM

By Southern Star Team

It sure was all kinds of everything at this year’s Eurovision contest Image

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IT’S been another daft week on Planet Earth with the Eurovision bringing the old-fashioned song contest firmly into the realm of geopolitics.

It has always been a bit political but this year things have gone into hyperspeed leaving us all, I fear, a little overwhelmed and anxious.

Dana singing All Kinds of Everything feels like a John Hinde postcard from yesteryear. Even Johnny Logan would have to admit that his flared jumpsuit and solemn delivery feels like something from another galaxy now.

Weird Europeans hopping around on a stage is a damn sight better than an actual war, though, so I’m all for international affairs being conducted and concluded in a colosseum of camp in Malmö. It’s also far cheaper than wasting billions on tanks and drones and the only thing in danger of dying really is music itself.

This year, we had calls for widespread boycotts on the Israeli entry in the run-up to the competition but they then enjoyed a huge public vote, not to mention 10 of the douze points from Ireland. I bet nobody saw that one coming.

Whether this was down to sympathy for the performer, who was brilliant, or the result of some intricate IDF sci-ops campaign is one I’ll leave to the conspiracy theorists. The voting is as opaque and impenetrable as the workings of the UN, if you ask me.

In recent years, I have to say I’ve switched off from the Eurovision entirely, mostly because of Ireland’s consistently woeful entries and I tended to bat it away each year like an annoying fly. A fixture on the Eurovision house party circuit I was not.

This year was different. Firstly, the Irish entry by Bambie Thug, who performed Doomsday Blue, was absolutely terrifying, electric, mesmerising – exactly the sort of weird concoction of industrial noise and supernatural theatre I would have adored as a teenager. Arguably, they are the best thing to come out of Macroom since Art Ó Laoghaire, and what expresses modern Ireland better than a non-binary witch from North West Cork singing about deploying hexes and twisted tongues?

There was jeopardy aplenty in the run-up to their performance in the final, however, when a spat with the Israeli national broadcaster forced the Irish entry to pull their third rehearsal.

Bambie has been a firm critic of the war in Palestine, and rejected calls to boycott the competition, preferring instead to take part and express their views – they ended their song by belting out the phrase ‘love will always triumph hate’. If only.

They finished sixth in the end, with what was the best song and most affecting performance, in my opinion.

If only the Cork defeat of Limerick in the hurling was on free-to-air as well. It was some weekend for the rebel county.

TCD brought to book

THERE’S been another form of warfare taking place on campuses across the US in recent years which are now transferring predictably to Ireland, with students blocking the Book of Kells in a five-day encampment demanding that Trinity college divest from investments in Israeli companies that have activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and appear on the UN blacklist.

The students were successful and the college authorities backed down, but it’s a troubling reminder of the simple narratives that seem to have taken hold amongst the right and left in academia, which can often be far removed from reality.

It’s easy to forget that most of the non-democratic states in the Middle East would never allow Bambie Thug to express their identity, or even exist for that matter.

Indeed, Israel is one of the only states with developed lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights. Jordan and Bahrain are the only two Arab states where homosexuality is legal.

Of course, this does not justify the actions of a right-wing fundamentalist regime in Israel, led by a ‘real’ thug and criminal in Netanyahu.

But history and politics rarely fit into the comforting binaries that today’s students seem to require.

Nice idea, but bad result

‘Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses’ goes the famous poem about the Statue of Liberty and how she welcomed all those immigrants fleeing poverty and oppression in Europe and beyond.

I don’t think she’d be best pleased by some of the specimens on view in Dublin through the monumentally naive New York-Dublin portal which was recently launched off Dublin’s O’Connell Street with a live link to the Flatiron district in Manhattan.

It’s just another example of why we can’t have nice things in the capital, I’m afraid.

What was pitched as a live link between the two cities allowing people to interact became a scandal as gurriers on the Irish side waved images of the planes hitting the towers in 9/11 and a variety of pornographic scenes into the screen.

One gem of a human being had to be removed by gardaí for allegedly trying to hump the portal.

It was a lovely idea but it only takes a few idiots to bring one down as we all know. There are some things it’s best the world doesn’t know about.

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