Sunday, May 13, 2007

Belgrade 2008 Eurovision Song Contest!!!


We jumped and screamed last night as votes were coming in. A tense standoff reminiscent of 2004 between rising Eurovision superpowers Ukraine and Serbia, this time ended favorably for us. Marija won! I am sorry for Verka, but ultimately I decided to play it safe and vote for my other favorite – Slovenia just in case.

I spend the whole day at Belgrade Design Week (more of that tomorrow) listening to interesting lectures and hoping that rumors of surprise guest Brad Pitt, would be false. Fortunately, it was all a publicity stunt. Otherwise I would have been seriously tempted to miss the contest and go the BDW after-party.

I’m very happy Belgrade will get to host Eurovision which is, in my view, the ultimate and most amusing pop spectacle. Yes it’s trashy and camp, but that’s what makes it so good to watch. Plus it’s not bad for the local economy or the gay community.

So, as we are devising plans how to manage to come back from New York next May to see the spectacle live in Belgrade Arena, I have to mention three things which kind of spoil the fun for me:

“Political voting”
Immediately after the show we switched to BBC where there was again talk of political voting in the contest. Although voting certainly is predictable I think it’s just a bad case of sour grapes. If anything, much of the voting is a triumph over politics. We have to remember that many of these “block” countries are not on perfect terms with each other and some have even gone through conflicts.
Voting is just a result of similar languages and sensibilities and it’s a positive sign. Yes, in this sense, some eastern countries do have an advantage, but it is not enough, unless you can also draw votes from the west.
The whole story kind of reminds of something Rem Koolhaas said at his lecture yesterday, speaking of the West’s attitude towards architecture in Russia, China and Arab countries. He spoke of latent racism or at least latent feeling of superiority, in not being able to accept that the world is changing and shifting focus. So, if the UK wants to fair better next time maybe they should just send something less teletubbiesque and maybe they’ll get some votes. Who knows, if Scotland secedes in a few years maybe England will finally get some “political” votes.

Nationalism
We took a walk to Republic Square to see the spontaneous outpouring of public joy. There was quite a crowd, and it was mostly benign, but naturally there were also significant numbers of football-fan-like types chanting the usual nationalistic slogans along with Marija’s name. These are the same people who would probably beat her up in the street if they suspected she was a Gypsy or if it turned out she actually was gay.

Snobbism
We ran into some friends who were actually angry that we won and that people were rejoicing because Eurovision “lacks quality”. I tried in vain to explain that whether you like it or not it is at least good PR, free advertising and a great opportunity for tourism in Serbia and Belgrade. Some people should just relax and not take everything too seriously.

7 comments:

Ange said...

It's funny, for some reason the feed delivered last years entry of this date into my newsfeed today - May 14, 2006, and I thought I would share with you what you wrote:

"In the years to come I expect Montenegro will give Serbia douze points (and vice versa). Who knows, maybe it’s that extra boost that we need to win." ...

Good Prediction ;)

Marko said...

:)
What can I say, when I'm good, I'm good.

Thanx for reminding me

Anonymous said...

"...Snobbism
We ran into some friends who were actually angry that we won and that people were rejoicing because Eurovision “lacks quality”. I tried in vain to explain that whether you like it or not it is at least good PR, free advertising and a great opportunity for tourism in Serbia and Belgrade. Some people should just relax and not take everything too seriously......."

Yes, that would be the B92-watching, LDP-voting, Sonja Biserko-loving zombies.

The same people who don't mind the brain-cell-killing Big Brother on their ideological mouthpiece B92 TV channel or the fact that all of their favourite political leaders (Ceda, Kandic, Pesic, etc.) legitimize Zeljko Mitrovic's criminal empire by regularly appearing on his Pink network, now have the audacity to scoff at Eurosong for its "lack of quality".

Serbia is one strange, f_____ up place.

Marko said...

Hey, I actually watch B92 and vote for LDP...
but one thing is sure - there's a lot of intollerance on all sides.

Anonymous said...

"...Hey, I actually watch B92 and vote for LDP..."

Well, nobody's perfect.

You might wanna work on that, though. Strictly on a personal level, that is. There's plenty of help out there.

Marko said...

i'm quite pleased with myself, on a personal level. But then again I watch a lot of Eurovision so it balances things out.

Helen said...

Serbia got a very much deserved win in this year's Eurovision, the song was amazing, and that's without being able to understand a word of it! Some people do take it all too seriously though. Hope to be in Belgrade for the final next year....hoping that Sweden and the UK will finally send something decent enough to have a chance at winning! ;-)
Saw Marija here in Malmö last week. I so wish I could sing like her!