Version Web du clip de Julien Doré, premier single extrait de son album "Ersatz".
While all of you US readers are enjoying Memorial Day weekend, having already forgotten which David won the latest American Idols, Europeans are worshiping their own Idols this weekend, with the final of the Eurovision Song Contest. If you're not European born and bred, it's hard to understand this transcontinental communion with kitsch, camp and good old clean fun.
Virtually everyone in Europe grew up with that Spring rite of passage, stuck in front of the cathodic cube, waiting for the Eurovision anthem, not Beethoven's Ode To Joy, but Marc-Antoine Charpentier Te Deum and its triumphal trumpets (it's French baroque music, for the classical-impaired among you). Long before many Eastern countries joined the Union, they could compete with the moneyed West, and join such geographical oddities as Israel and Turkey (technically, Turkey halfway seats in Europe anyaway).
In fact, I think the Eurovision is probably the only thing that really unites Europe: not the Euro, since many countries haven't adopted it, not our 2000 years of shared wars, and certainly not the mania to regulate everything from the size of cucumbers to unpasteurized cheese, nor that habit to unleash unbridled capitalism on our formerly State-run train systems or energy companies. Which used to work perfectly well without the Union meddling, thank you very much, as the Brits can attest.*
The most famous band to ever emerge from the contest is Abba, other than that there are few chances you may have heard of the winners. When I was growing up it was dreadfully boring, and when I was a teen I certainly couldn't stand the bland music that was being played. Then, over the last decade or so, countries started to embrace the kitsch of it, and send trannies, band cross-dressing in flight attendant costumes, fake Metal icons a la Spinal Tap, and so forth. This year Ireland sent a puppet turkey, France sent a very ugly clone of Michel Polnareff (but far less talented), Sebastien Tellier. Whom I find dreadfully boring myself, even though the Brits sounded very excited with our choice.
I would have much preferred we sent the winner of our own "American Idol" (it's called "La Nouvelle Star" , formerly known under its Proustian name, "A la recherche de la nouvelle star"), the super cute Julien Doré. His style of music isn't really forward, it's retro trying to follow in the footsteps of Gainsbourg. But I cannot resist a former art student with Marcel Duchamp's name tatooed on his arm.
UPDATE: Russia has just won. With a very boring song. Shhhhhh.
* Note to the European Union leaders: why don't you study your history a little bit? You know, if most of the transportation, health, education and energy systems had to be progressively taken over from private businesses and run by State companies, there's a reason. I swear. Look up history from the late 19th century to WWII, will you? It will help immensely. Meanwhile, if you can avoid boarding trains in Britain, do it. Not only you will save time, but you will likely save your life as well.