I just love the Eurovision Song Contest. Always have. Always will. You can get your whole year's supply of tackiness and camp in just a few hours and I don't understand how it's possible to watch it and not smile. Everthing about it is over the top, from the costumes, to the ever more crazy performances - last year there were giant flaming hamster wheels for goodness' sake, to the key changes, to the annual surprise when Norway votes for Sweden and Cyprus votes for Greece. The blatant Eastern European bloc vote got a bit above itself for a while to the extent that it scunnered long term commentator Terry Wogan, but the new voting system seems to have quelled it slightly. Given that it's in Norway tomorrow, it must have done.
The first year I actually remember watching it was in 1976 when, happily, the UK won with Brotherhood of Man who apparently are still together. If you were in Ibiza this week, you could have caught them performing in hotels there for Thomson. I absolutely loved the song, Save your Kisses for Me and watching it again just seems to sum up the 70s for me - medallions, shirts open to the navel, dodgy moustaches. Not really a good look but that's how it was when I was 8.
The next year the contest was held in London and Lynsey de Paul and Mike Moran did Rock Bottom - I loved that one too. It seemed the height of sophistication at the time, but looking back at it now, it's really funny, satirising the economic mess at the time. I love how the conductor even wearing a bowler hat, dressed up like a city banker.
My personal 70s favourite was our 1978 entry, The Bad Old Days by Coco. Bad was the word, because they gave Britain its worst result to date, coming 11th out of 20. The costumes were garish rather than camp and I think that the only reason I have fond memories of it is that it compared well against "We're on the March with Ally's Army", the soundtrack to Scotland's spectacularly failed attempt to win the World Cup. Cheryl Baker, one of the line up for Coco re-appeared in much more slick style in 1981 to win with Bucks Fizz.
In 1979, we were represented by Black Lace whose song, Mary Ann, was nowhere near as "good" as their later hits like Agadoo.
It's hard to say whether 79's effort was better or worse than tthe uber sickly "Love Enough for Two" by Prima Donna. I have a scary feeling I was word perfect on this at the time. Looking at it now, the costumes look as if they belong on toddlers, not grown adult, the choreography is dire and the song, well,it's kind of like eating a pink cupcake with extra frosting and sugar on the top.
Someone clearly took our selection process by the scruff of the neck in 1981. Bucks Fizz had Eurovision veteran Cheryl Baker, who had been in the dreadful Coco 3 years earlier. Their song, Making your Mind up was faster paced,had a double entendre in practically every sentence and had the campest choreography ever. It was brilliant!
I probably should feel ashamed of how much I loved our 1982 entry, One Step Further, by Bardo, but, in my defence, it got to number 2 in the charts so I can't have been alone. I just wanted to be Sally Ann Triplett in her polka dotted blue mini-dress. I might even have fancied the guy in the braces.
I think the trip down Memory Lane should probably end now. I don't know if my husband can stand any more tacky songs resounding round our house. I did just ask him whether I confessed to my love of Eurovision before he married me and he confirmed that I had so he can't complain he wasn't warned.
Tomorrow night we all need to get behind (and I know that some would do that with particular enthusiasm) Josh Dubovie singing a song that you can tell a mile off was written by Pete Waterman. It's Jason Donovan all over again - and I love it.
It's going to be a weird night tomorrow night with no Sweden and no Netherlands - how on earth did that happen? The favourite is from Azerbaijan, called Drip Drop but I wonder if it's actually, with its Beyonce choreography, and all, just a bit too sophisticated for Eurovision. It's very good, though and I won't complain if Safura wins.