Eurovision 2016: This Is Still Cello Time, Damnit!

Godamnit Barbara, I told you I’d get you an audition on Bosnian Idol AFTER sweeps!

One of the great things about Eurovision is how each country’s song offers a glimpse into that nation’s psyche. Greece is a perfect example. It has a seriously strained relationship with the rest of Europe, and this is one of the foremost international cultural events of the year. Does it choose to offer something generic in English and try to win some fans? Not even close. That tells you something about the mood in Athens.

Or take Bosnia and Herzegovina. This is a country that hasn’t participated since 2012. This year they’re back, and they’re practically beaming with national pride. The music video is set inside Sarajevo City Hall, newly reopened after a decades-long restoration. It would have been perfect, if goddamn Pitbull hadn’t ruined it:

Finally, the UK is suffering a musical identity crisis. They have a rich history of rock and pop, and yet the last couple of decades have brought them nothing but Eurovision humiliation. In recent years they’ve tried falling back on old familiar names (Bonnie Tyler, Englebert Humperdink (!)), and they’ve tried campy gimmicks (last year’s scat singing, which won them a backhanded Overthinking Eurovision Award). This year they’re hitting the reset button with two fresh faces, Joe and Jake.

Of course, it’s not only Eurovision where Britain seems to have lost its status as a world leader. Just listen to Hugh Grant’s Love Actually monologue. So once again, Eurovision serves as a danceable microcosm of the geopolitical landscape.

6 Comments on “Eurovision 2016: This Is Still Cello Time, Damnit!”

  1. yellojkt Member #

    I’m going to use this article as a chance to brag, not even humbly, that I saw “Hamilton” this weekend and it was the penultimate night of Jonathan Groff in the role of King George III.

    In the show, King George is a comic relief character and the only cast member who is identifiably of Anglo-Saxon heritage. The three numbers he sings are all pastiches of 1960s British Invasion pop. And not the good Beatles/Rolling Stones variety but the Herman’s Hermits/Dave Clark Five variety.

    The numbers are hilarious show stoppers and crowd pleasers among the older white middle class who are more familiar with that style of music than the more hip-hop based styles of the other characters.

    The teen-heartthrob allure of Jonathan Groff also plays into this.

    However, British music as a culturally dominant paradigm peaked a half century ago and has arguably been coasting on past glory ever since.


    • Richard #

      “However, British music as a culturally dominant paradigm peaked a half century ago and has arguably been coasting on past glory ever since.”

      Kind of like the Empire itself…..


    • Matthew Belinkie OTI Staff #

      How long ago did you get tickets? Occasionally I look into the possibility of buying them buy I decide to pay rent instead.

      As for the popularity of British music, certainly there are many popular British ARTISTS today. Adele. Sam Smith. Ed Sheeran. Mark Ronson. I’d argue that the Brits are actually doing quite well in terms of chart-topping artists. However, that’s different than “British music as a culturally dominant paradigm.”


      • yellojkt Member #

        We bought our tickets back in October. I may have had some sort of advanced opportunity by being an AmEx Gold Card holder (membership does have its privileges) but I paid face value for second row mezzanine aisle seats, arguably better seats than the mid-to back-orchestra aisle house seats Bernie Sanders got.

        My wife and I go to New York three or four weekends a year for various reasons, usually pinned around a Broadway show or a music concert. This trip we saw Hamilton, Waitress, and Fully Committed over two days.

        Most Broadway shows are fairly available as long as one is willing to book far ahead enough in time. The real blockbusters like The Producers, Book of Mormon, and, of course now, Hamilton have a purchasing model which is more like a rock concert where you have to scoop up tickets as soon as they come available or they fall into the hands of resellers (read ‘scalpers’). It takes a little bit of savvy to be able to know which are going to be which when reading about new shows that haven’t been seen by critics yet. For example, I was late to the game on Wicked and some others but did correctly call some shows that ended up being tough tickets later. The only time I’ve ever paid above face value was when we saw 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee as a same-day whim.

        Since we do live outside the NYC metro area we don’t have the flexibility for mid-week shows and lotteries. One thing we will do is get advance tickets for a blockbuster for say a Saturday evening performance and then when we are up there go to a reduced price matinee by standing in line at the TKTS booth. But that strategy requires some flexibility and knowledge of which shows are likely to be “on the board.”

        Our next trip up is at the end of May to see Matthew Morrison at 54 Below (yes, we are Gleeks). Tony Award nominations get announced in a couple of weeks and that may motivate us to book some other show for that same weekend.


      • yellojkt Member #

        Speaking of rock show availability, Adele is the toughest ticket in the world right now. My wife absolutely HAD to see Adele on her current tour. The only way we could do that was to buy a premium level ticket ‘package’ (which is a sneaky way for artists to enhance revenue while still having non-astronomical face prices) for her show in Montreal.

        Between the cost of the tickets and the flight to Canada, this show is probably the most expensive event we have ever booked, exceeding Stings 60th Birthday charity event at the Beacon Theater. However, all-in, travel expenses included, I think we are still below what these same tickets are going for on the secondary market just for the seat.


  2. banana #

    If you are interested in the influence of politics on Eurovision, you should note that the UK will hold a referendum on EU membership, five weeks after Eurovision 2016, and most EU members want the UK to remain a member of the EU, so Eurovision gives them a chance to show affection to the UK.


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