No Wham Bam from Essex Man! – Eurovision “Lets Get Cynical”

In honour of the UK’s contribution to the success of  Eurovision 2010 – by being part of the foundations, or “building blocks” of the contest  (we came last!) – I have changed my topic header from “Lets Get Lyrical” to “Lets Get Cynical” for this outing. 

Perhaps it should the title should actually read “Lets Be Whimsical!” as our attitude toward Eurovision continues to be a bit  suspect and we do treat the earnestness of our European neighbours with some circumspection  ( ), if in fact not just a little contempt.    

I also thought I’d better write a brief word about the music and lyricism nonchalantly thrown together by some enthusiastic amateurs, called Waterlad and Stock cube (names sound contemporary but just couldn’t place them), which at not so short notice had become the UK’s song entry for Eurovision.  I had neglected to mention the UK in my earlier Eurovision related postings  , just like most of Europe bar the UK, and this seemed a tad unpatriotic, so hopefully this post will correct the imbalance and put the spotlight firmly back on the UK – just like the result has!     

Our commiserations go out to Josh Dubovie on the failure of his punk styled smash and grab raid on the Eurovision fortress. At least he was willing to sacrifice himself on the altar of creativity and was true to himself  throughout by applying his self-styled Avant Garde approach to everything even his costume………..    

Josh Dubovie The UK's Punk Rock and Roller

Whats wrong? What you don’t think you were watching the same show as me. Your saying in the version I watched a nondescript song , sung by a nondescript singer (though pleasant enough voice) wearing a nondescript  suit, accompanied by several nondescript dancers created a nondescript performance for which the UK could be proud.  Well if you say so………     

Actually photograph is from a production of “We Will Rock You” and shows the boy even though he is an “Essex Man” has personality afterall, some allure,  and given the right tools some talent. Maybe that talent only extends to musical theatre but why did we not exploit this with dance and costume..pseudo punk anybody?     

The 1980’s spawned some great songs. Very few in fact were by Stock, Aitken and Waterman (SAW). In the main they gave the hairdressers something to dance around their handbags too and the stocking fillers at Christmas.    

If you were going to give your entry an eighties feel wouldn’t you aim for the stars and reference Wham, Split Endz, The Police, Ultravox, Gary Numan, Culture Club, Soft Cell or the The Jam rather than the ghastly trio of Kylie (better in 2000’s), Donovan and Astley? The mentality that would go fluffy and ignore the fact that the backing beat needed to sound like the eighties, not be produced by equipment used in the eighties, would understandably find the opportunity of producing a fashion song with an eighties vibe a “poison chalice”.    

It could have been worse. How? Well instead of doing a montage of lyrics from Jason and Kylie songs:    

So if you bring the sunshine
I’ll bring the good times
Just add your laughter
It’s happy ever after
I don’t know about you
But that sounds good to me

they could have reinterpreted Sinitta’s So Macho lyrics:    

I don’t want no seven stone weakling
Or a boy who thinks he’s a girl
I’m after a hunk of a guy
An experienced man of the world
There ain’t no way that I’ll make do
With anything less than I’m used to
If I have a man tonight
He’s gotta be right, right, right

Having Josh spinning round singing “luvie Dubovie’s” to the man – ok women with a gender change (I mean in terms of prepositions not a sex change!) – of his dreams would have been even more embarrassing to the general population than “That Sounds Good To Me”  – but more embarrassing than coming last? The consolation of this approach is that at least we would have picked up some of the gay vote with the “So macho” lyrics.  Strangely the most distressing thing for Josh when reflecting on last nights events is that the gay vote passed him by. The kiss of death for any young male singer who is no longer a teen or as young as the beaver, sorry Bieber, and wanting a pop career.    

From the music and melody point of view slowing down the introduction to Kim Wilde’s “Kids in America”  was preferable to something such as “Toy Boy” by Sinitta and the dreadful canned drums, but “all in all” we really are just “splitting hairs” and “clutching at straws” because  nothing as a percentage of nothing is nothing!    

Josh Dubovie given a song similar to “Never going to give you up” from Rick Astley, one of the few SAW songs that stands further lyrical scrutiny and test of time, may have had a chance of a top ten finish and done the eighties theme justice. However “when all is said and done” perhaps the eighties slant itself was wrong, as quite a few of the countries voting, are either in fashion time warps or experiencing fashion trends that change every five not every two.     

Josh seemed a pleasant guy, but unfortunately he found it difficult to project his personality and so appeared very bland. You may say this never did Rick Astley any harm but neither did it rocket him to international superstar status like George Micheal. George’s Wham bam approach to dressing – the tight shorts, white trousers, open shirts, infamous, shuttlecock, makeup, perm – all served to create a branded personality, and one which importantly  reinforce the appeal of his mellifluous voice. He also had one big advantage: songs that engaged using universal themes and shared experiences not platitudes and empty aspirations – cue waterfall tumbleweed.    

So what if we wanted to win and not just stretch our eighties themed karokee in order to gain a top ten place?  

Well Josh could have been given an up tempo song similar to “Freedom” and a dance routine with energy to match.  And if to this was added sexy male and female dancers, who actually interacted and had spark, then we could have been on the right “track”.  A good costume, that had impact and interest, could have then been the magic stroke. 

I would never be 100% sure about Josh Debovie as the ideal candidate for Eurovision, like the Essex Man as the 90’s approached he looked like a duck out of water, but I am sure he could have embraced the sense of theatre imbued  in the archetypal eighties look. The George Michael style from the era of Wham could have worked for him. The good news was he already had the hair and the flashing insincere smile and wink, and apparently, according to the rumour mill, a good natural impersonator of a shuttlecock. To that add the trademark stripped T-shirt or open collared shirt and tight pants and Bingo! you have the best game in town for capturing all the minority votes, who are in fact the majority of active participants on this occasion.   More “Ur a vision” than Eurovision perhaps, but if we want to win? !$#*?!      

The final irony must be that the opening lyrics of “That Sounds Good To Me” appear to anticipate a winning scenario – “all the happy faces”. Though the lack of empathy in “How do I begin to imagine”  does sort of point to a completely different outcome.      

How do I begin to imagine all the happy faces I’d like to see?
The final destination, the sounds of celebration
If I could find the opportunity

 Or perhaps we have mis-read the lyrics completely and they in fact allude to the comic horror film Final Destination because I felt like I wanted to die watching it.    

We all better watch out for the next few days in case the boggie man, or Pete Waterfall, is coming to get us. Eurovision 2010 is certainly something to scare the children with and I  just hope the World Cup 2010 doesn’t go the same way and we get the chance to limp home after a another nondescript performance. Well at least we can’t come last!  

The Epitaph or is it a wake…………  

And what of Josh, keep an eye out for stripped down versions in teen mags and the Attitude “Naked Edition” . And the  pantomine’s, the many Christmas Pantomines . He could do a good Jack but even may want to get Aladdin!