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Bleat Release Me

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The BBC has (finally) put this year's UK Eurovision up on their website, and the 'promotion' can begin. At long last, the entry is sung by a professional (Englebert) and the song has been written by hit-making, award-winning writers. Good. Too many amateurs and half-arsed Lloyd-Webbers since the UK last won with Katrina & The Waves (pro band, pro writer).

Inevitably, these events are greeted with the usual bleating. "We never win. Europe hates us" "It's all about politics", "It's just voting for your mates" etc.

These are MYTHS, perpetuated to disguise the fact that "we" have entered a bunch of pony songs, cobbled together at the last minute. Germany and Russia are just as unpopular and they've done okay recently.

There are problems; as usual the dear ol' BBC is the last of 43 representatives to get its entry posted up online; and the BBC hasn't got the funds to send Enge out on a promo tour (the Azeri government have reportedly spent $6million over the last three years).

In t'olden times the songs couldn't be released on vinyl until after the competition. This is now difficult to police. Germany's entry two years ago was number one in 12 countries by the day of the final. Millions already knew it.

Eurovision bosses have (partly) dealt with the geopolitical argument by combining televoting with 'expert' juries. Yes, geopolitics & diaspora play a part (Cyprus & Greece, Denmark & Germany, Russia & Serbia) but there is now so many countries these extra points are irrelevant. Plus, UK citizens, Ireland always give 'us' points and 'we' gave Jedward the full douze last year.

The 'neighbours' argument doesn't stack up either. Plenty of the Balkan nations hate each other. This doesn't stop them doing much better than the UK. Again, this is more to do with the proximity of promotional tours, concerts and TV appearances that the UK rarely gets involved with, unless the artist's management coughs up.

Eurovision is great. There is a unique skill in writing a song that can be popular from the west coast of Ireland to the eastern fringes of Siberia, from the arctic wastes of Finland to the trendy suburbs of Tel Aviv.

There's lots of cash to be made if your song wins. An artist can break new markets. The Eurovision Song Contest demonstrates not that "Europe hates us" but that "we", the inventors of pop music, are way behind the rest of Europe when it comes to the Grand Prix de Chanson. And, perhaps significantly, that we simply don't understand our near neighbours.

The simple truth is that the UK doesn't take Eurovision seriously enough.

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