Sunday, March 01, 2015

Eurovision Memories Part 6: the one I couldn't remember

I'm jumping into my Eurovision time machine once more for the latest in my occasional series.  And it's a bit different this time, as I'm taking a look back at a contest which, probably in all my years of Eurovision fandom, is the one I have the least memory of: Eurovision 1984.

I had a number of reasons for this.  Since 1981 I had discovered that other music existed outside the chart-pop bubble, and I started to explore the indie/alternative music scene.  Yet both that and Eurovision could both live side by side in my diverse musical world.  So, I continued to watch and enthuse over the 1981, 1982 and 1983 contests.  But something very strange happened in 1984: I lost interest in Eurovision.  It struck me recently that I had no memory of the 1984 Eurovision Song Contest, so I decided to revisit the show and explore the reasons why it was the one I couldn't remember.

As I said in a previous post, you had to feast on every little scrap of information about the contest back in those days, and it was only the Eurovision Song Contest previews which gave you any idea of what the songs sounded like.  I can't even remember watching these, but I made sure that I would tune into the contest anyway.

With my growing interest in alternative music, I had not only drifted away from mainstream pop but briefly lost interest in music from other countries too.  By that time the 1984 Eurovision Song Contest rolled round, it was less relevant for me than it had ever been.

Luxembourg had won in 1983, and at the time that had been a major disappointment for me.  So in the time-honoured tradition, the 2014 contest was hosted by Luxembourg's RTL, with the multi-lingual - and somewhat 'quirky' for the time - host Desiree Nosbusch. Watching the contest now, I remember why I didn't remember it.  None of the songs floated my boat, and it was downhill all the way from the first song - and that year's winner - "Diggi-Loo Diggi-Ley".

To this day, that song remains one of my least favourite ESC songs/winners: despite their exuberant performance, the Herreys delivered the type of song which the UK media uses to beat the contest over and over again to this day.  I had invested in Sweden's entries since Abba and this just disappointed me on a grand scale.

It's all terribly bland, until Norway's Dollie de Luxe at least try to drag the over-the-top 80s into their performance, but the fact remains that for me, this falls short of their original MGP performance.

Over in Ireland meanwhile we had a young Linda Martin competing with the impressive Terminal 3, written by Johnny Logan.  I do remember at the time that I'd have been happy with this winning. Only that and "Lenge Leve Livet" are the only 1984 ESC songs I still play.

Looking back at the 1984 contest it seemed to be somebody else's idea of what a song contest of the 80s should look like, with all those nods to 80s fashion, but the sounds definitely belonged to another time and place. (In the UK's case that would be Detroit in the 60s as Belle and the Devotions tried to recreate the sound (if definitely not the look) of that era with "Love Games") but the look and feel of the whole contest is brutally old-fashioned for its time.    

Yet even in those days I had a little Swedish obsession going on, so despite my hatred of the Herreys and their boots and dance routine and diggy-loo-ing there was one redeeming feature.  Sweden would be hosting Eurovision the next year and by that time I would be back in love with the contest again.  

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