10 Reasons Why Eurovision Is The Perfect Analogy For Life

It’s been two weeks now since the dust settled on the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest (let’s not even discuss my opinion on the winner – I’d like to keep this civil…) and it occurred to me today that Eurovision is the perfect analogy for life. Seriously. Now, stay with me for a minute… I promise I’ll make a valid point in a moment. Before I do, let me just offer a brief explanation on the subject of Eurovision for the uninitiated.

Eurovision is an annual song contest held in Europe (funny, that) which has been running since 1956. Screening to an estimated 200 million people globally (including ever-increasing audiences in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, USA and China), it is the biggest and longest-running international TV song competition in the world. Infamous for its mixture of the fantastic, the incredible and the questionable, Eurovision has become a cultural phenomenon in its 62 years of operation.

I am, as many of you would know, an enormous fan of Eurovision. For me, the lead-up to each year’s competition is full of excitement, as the songs submitted by competing countries (of which there are more than 40) are announced and chatter begins in earnest in corners of the Interwebs that are dedicated to the Eurovision obsessed; and there are many, many, many of us. There is an absolute solidarity that exists amongst the hardcore fans, and interacting with other Eurovision-tragics becomes, for me, a highlight of each year’s preparations.

Then, each May, the big week arrives: Eurovision week. For, you see, this is no mere one-off concert. No, no, no. Eurovision is an event. Even if you’re not attending the live production of the contest (which I have yet to do but will definitely be doing as soon as practical!), there is so much to see and do and hear when it comes to Eurovision, thanks to the two semi-finals and grand final, all of which have a range of associated activities. YouTube has become an absolute treasure-trove for the Eurovision fan, with so much extra content being posted that it becomes almost a full-time job to work your way through it all (seriously; I’m planning a speaking tour for late 2017/early 2018 and I’m holding off on deciding on my May 2018 availability for another few weeks until the preliminary 2018 competition dates are announced so that I can plan my tour around Eurovision… and no, I am not kidding).

In Europe, Eurovision viewing parties are huge; for those of us in Australia, we can either watch the delayed broadcast on SBS TV’s ‘Eurovision Weekend’ (where the whole thing is broadcast over Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings of one weekend – an endurance event if playing the Eurovision drinking game*) or get up for the 5am broadcast and substitute champers for coffee as we celebrate our beloved Eurovision.

So, back to my core point: why Eurovision is an analogy for life. Well, I couldn’t just settle at one reason why, so here is my list of 10 Reasons Why Eurovision Is The Perfect Analogy For Life:

  1. Eurovision is a heady mix of the exciting, the fabulous, the dull, the unintelligible, the hideous and the downright cringeworthy – just like life, really. Life is a mixture of the good, the great and the ugly, and it’s the crap stuff which makes the great stuff stand out even more. Which is really helpful, because…
  2. Eurovision is full of a LOT of filler crap. With 42 songs being sent in 2017, it’s to be expected that there’d be some plodders in amongst all the gold. That’s life, isn’t it? Not every single day is full of fireworks and rainbows, and that’s okay. Mediocrity serves a purpose. Which is great, because…
  3. The mediocre craps makes the crazy crap seem like entertaining fun rather than just polished turds. In 2017, we had disco-mirror cannons, a musical milk-churn and a very large man singing a pop/opera duet with himself. Madness. And that’s what makes Eurovision so great, because…
  4. The wacky shit makes Eurovision – and life – WAY more fun. How boring would life be without all the crazy, kooky bits? Very boring, that’s how boring. Because…
  5. Variety is the spice of life. Or is that paprika? Either way, if you like a bit of variety in your music, Eurovision will deliver. This year featured pop, dance, rock, hard rock, hip-hop (well, sort of…), folk music, yodelling, popera (that’s pop-opera for the uninitiated) and a traditional-sounding Romany ditty set to a driving beat and featuring a Romany rap. And don’t even get me started on the staging, because…
  6. Everything is better with a wind machine and backup dancers. Walking down the street is dull. Walking down the street with four backup singers dressed as the Wiggles while someone in a cheap-looking gorilla suit trots next to you as you sing a song about how Westerners have co-opted Eastern philosophical beliefs in order to make themselves famous on social media? Now that’s interesting. And exactly what Italy did this year with their entry, Occidentali’s Karma. Because…
  7. When in doubt, always remember that obscure concepts are far more palatable when presented in a fun way. I don’t think I need to explain this one; it pretty much speaks for itself. My uni studies would be so much more interesting if delivered by a guy in a gorilla suit. Fact. Next…
  8. You can never accurately predict the outcome. This is not the place to talk about the complex voting system that sees national juries and the public deciding on who will win, nor is it the place to talk about the so-called ‘voting blocs’ that exist (cough, cough, Greece and Cyprus). Far from it. See, the thing about Eurovision is that there is so much variety that it’s nigh on impossible to accurately determine which song is going to win. Case in point: 2016. Australia very nearly won the whole thing with Dami Im’s amazing Sound of Silence, but at the end of the night it was the haunting 1944 by Ukraine’s Jamala which swooped in and robbed Australia won the contest. Just like life, you can never predict what is going to happen, and while you may not always be happy with the outcome, it is what it is (and really, isn’t the journey more important than the outcome anyway?!). Which brings me to my penultimate reason why Eurovision is the perfect analogy for life, because…
  9. The most weird and random stuff you could ever imagine can actually happen. Like Australia being allowed to compete for three years now (and hopefully many more!) in a European song contest. Why? Because Eurovision, that’s why. Life is full of stuff that beggars belief, yet it just goes to show that absolutely anything is possible if you just dream and believe (and throw glitter at it). Which brings me nicely to my final point…
  10. Life, like Eurovision, is better with glitter. There’s so much dark stuff in the world that it’s wonderful to have moments of outright fun, full of colour and life and happiness and light. Because that’s what Eurovision is. It’s happiness on steroids. And we need as much of that as we can get.

 

All in all, Eurovision is a fairly good representation of life. Sure, it’s not all perfect – as I write this, I’m listening to all of my favourite tracks from Eurovision 2017 (because I’m completely ‘method’) and there are 21 songs which I absolutely love; not bad at all, considering there were 42 entries this year – but a lot of it is pretty great and, ultimately, a whole lot of fun. Now, if we could just find a way to have Eurovision once a month instead of once a year, I’d be all set.

Jeremy

 

*For those unfamiliar with all things Eurovision, the Eurovision Drinking Game is best played with more than one player (otherwise it’s just alcoholism) and involves taking a drink every time a performer wears white, stands in front of a wind machine, says “I love you!” or “Thank you Europe!”, or is surrounded by fire effects, amongst other things. Needless to say, it basically involves drinking non-stop for the entire length of the program and is less of a drinking game than a test of stamina, which is why most Australian Eurovision fans enter rehab after the annual SBS Eurovision weekend.

 

PS: Want to get your head around the wacky wonderfulness that is Eurovision in one song? Watch the YouTube video for Estonia’s 2017 entry, “Verona”, which didn’t make it past the semi-final. It’s full of overwrought lyrics, clumsy metaphors, key changes and references to Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet – not to mention an instrumental break where the female singer in the duet does some hardcore soap opera acting to show how dismayed she is by the loss of their love. It’s everything Eurovision should be and it’s my absolute favourite track from 2017. Find it here and enjoy!

 

 

Jeremy Godwin is an Australian author, public speaker, blogger and independent publisher who specialises in mental health, self-development and personal growth, and is currently seeking treatment for a serious Eurovision addiction. Follow his blog, Stuff I’ve Learned (So Far), here

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