The thing is, I'm not, by all accounts, a very easy person to talk to. The socially awkward chit chat I do do tends to be so laced with sneery, off putting west midlands sarcasm that most people avoid me at all costs unless they (and I) are drunk- and so for those that do attempt conversation, my Eurovision obsession at least offers SOMETHING to hang the opening gambit on. "Where is Eurovision this year", they try, "Who's our entry this year", or "Are you going this year" are all standards, followed closely by "What's your favourite ever entry?"
What all of these selections have in common, of course, is that they are Schlager- simple, catchy, happy, medlodious pop tunes, a genre that has sadly all but died out in the Eurovision largely thanks to one nation- Hungary.
Back in 2009 Hungary's Zoli Adok strutted onto that stage in Semi 2 with all the hallmarks of a win- a pumping disco number with a fun chorus, three pretty girl dancers doing a dress-rip reveal, and a highly amusing dance routine. Sure, its level of camp makes you wonder quite how Zoli got into (and out of) Russia alive, but the thing that upsets me to this day is that it crashed out of that semi and only got 16 points.
So upset were the Hungarians that their "overload in a disco fantasy" didn't make it that they took 2010 off, and came back in 2011 with one more go at schlager- their 2010 entry was a certified "fan favourite"- ie a woman of a certain age singing about empowerment, a smattering of whitney bits, and a thumping, pumping, disco beat- and whilst they managed to sneak into the final, they placed a dismal 22nd on the Saturday night.
So what since? In 2012 we got "Depeche Mode in a bad mood" which sailed into the final, and last year they managed to enter this plodding, self indulgant, stoner-hipster-spacecake-Nizlopi toss without the courtesy of a chorus, a key change, a middle eight or even a discernable tune, and had the cheek to come a whopping 10th.
And so marks the death of schlager. Once Eurovision represented an opportunity- a rare, fleeting, annual opportunity to see me smile in a genuinely joyous way about the world as I wriggled about and sung at the top of my voice and dad danced in obscure european ice hockey stadia to songs by discomforting boy/girl acts like Chanée and N'evergreen. Now countries like Hungary enter dark drum and bass songs about child domestic abuse to critical (and scoreboard) acclaim, and not only am I not impressed, but it will also do spectacularly well, just you see.
My favourite's La Det Swinge, by the way. LA DET SWINGE. By the Clare Balding twins from Norway. Rock and ROLL!