Skip to main content

Break Out the Glitter, Pyrotechnics and White Pants. It's Eurovision Weekend!

Anyone who knows me knows that I love the Eurovision Song Contest. To me, this thing is more pride than Pride. It's the Olympics by way of Gay Christmas, and I'm not alone in that opinion. Over 200 million people watch the final of the world's biggest music competition, which is, as John Oliver put it in 2014 "...the craziest thing you will ever see."

And you don't need to watch it for very long to realise he's not exaggerating. From silver clad drag queens to giant hamster wheels to dueling pianos (on fire) to unicycling soprano sax players to bearded drag queens to falsetto-voiced vampires to epic angel/demon rap battles to yet more drag queens - and occasionally just brilliant pop songs, there is simply nothing on the likes of Idol, X-Factor, the Voice, or Wherever's Got Talent that can hold a candle to this event.

No, this guy's not from Ukraine, but he is back this year!
Now, I'm not saying all gay people love Eurovision. I'm not even saying all gay people in Europe love Eurovision. I'm just saying that on one Saturday night each May it is impossible to enter a gay bar anywhere in Europe (or Australia) and not be instantly swept up in a wave of sequins, gimmicks, and sheer camp enthusiasm. In a way, it's like the perfect springtime answer to Halloween. Where people take off their masks of normality for one night (or week if you're really keen) and just celebrate music, freedom, and friendly competition for the duration of the contest.

All. Four. Hours. Of it... by the end of which, one competing country is declared the winner, and has the honour of hosting the following year.

This year, it's Ukraine. That's right. That Ukraine.

But Ukraine has a very special relationship with the Eurovision Song Contest, and it's one that I think illustrates beautifully just what this show means to so many people. Ukraine first entered the contest in 2003 and won it the very next year with a song called Wild Dances, sung by Ruslana, who's now a household name in Ukraine, actively engaged with the country's politics. Coming at a major tipping point in Ukraine's push toward democracy, the victory was hugely symbolic and carried tremendous emotional weight for Ukrainians both at home and in countries around the world. They weren't the first country to have such a joyous and significant victory either. Ireland enjoyed an unprecedented four wins in the 90s, right as the country's Troubles were at their worst. To date, they are still the unmatched Eurovision champions with seven wins. 

So whether you view it as a night of camp silliness, or a statement of national pride and creativity, there's no questioning why so many people love Eurovision, or what it means. In fact, that significance has inspired one Australian director to make a short film about what Eurovision means to people in ethnic communities far from home (specifically Ukrainians in Australia) and LGBT people as a means to reconnect and break free from social norms for a while. The film is appropriately called Wild Dances, and while I'm not particularly writing this post to plug it,, I'm very pleased to have been one of its backers - and yes, there's still two more days left to do so via Indiegogo. Do with that info what you will!

So whether you're a seasoned Europhile, or watching for the first time, I hope you'll join us in enjoying all the songs, the camp, and the crazy. Happy Eurovision Weekend!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Death of a Cluster: Why Sense8 is Exactly the TV Cancellation We Don't Need in 2017

Sense8 is dead. Long live Sense8.

Arguably the most original of Netflix's original series has been unceremoniously canned after just two short seasons, leaving fans to speculate why, and flood the internet with outrage (to which I’m… now going to contribute). As I began writing this, a petition to renew Sense8 for a third season had collected just shy of half a million signatures with no sign of slowing. And for the first time in the history of cancelled shows, I’ve added my name to it. Because I think, for the first time in my life, I’m genuinely pissed that a TV show has been prematurely shafted.



Why did Sense8 stir me and so many others to action in a way that, say, the quiet, sensitive genius of Lookingcouldn't? Certainly, it has something to do with closure. Looking ended on an inconclusive, but logical and satisfying note, while Sense8 has clearly been pulled mid-flight after a rushed final episode ending in a cliff-hanger. Maybe it’s because Sense8 was a genuine artisti…

Pre-Order Now for GRL 2017

I am now accepting pre-orders of all three of my novels for collection at GRL. Simply pre-order using this form, arrange payment via email, and collect your books at the con.
I am offering an exclusive deal for GRL attendees. Order both The Beast Without and The Orchard of Flesh together for just $25 (save $8 on GRL prices, or a whopping $18 on Amazon's price). 
In addition, those who pre-order will get to reserve a swag torch keyring in their preferred colour. I'm bringing these to GRL in strictly limited numbers, so this is a great way to make sure you get the one you want.
Pre-order your books here and I'll be in touch asap via email. Please note, orders must be placed by September 30.