The rise and fall
I remember the first time I watched the Eurovision bash.
It was in 1965 in a friend’s house as my parents wouldn’t get a television.
It was somewhat surreal as the television was a black and white affair [colour television was only a wet dream at the time] but they had added “colour” to the screen: my friend’s Da had stuck a sheet of cellophane over the screen that gave the top third a blue tinge and the bottom third a green tinge. I presume it added something if you were watching a programme showing a scene with a lot of sky and grass but it didn’t do much for the Eurovision. My friend’s Da was immensely proud of his “colour” television.
My friend was wildly excited about the whole thing and was determined to record the whole affair. This being years before the video recorder was invented, he set up a portable cassette recorder with the microphone in front of the screen. This meant we all had to watch in stony silence for the entire duration in case we ruined the recording.
The format of the programme was simple: there was one stage and one orchestra. Each country would provide one singer and their own conductor for the orchestra. Poor Noel Kelehan always got stuck with the conducting bit for Ireland. In other words, counties were judged on the song and the singer and not on anything else, as everything else was equal.
Years later, I had got hitched and had my own home. I had a colour television too. One of the experiments they used to try in those days was the “simultaneous broadcast” to provide better sound quality. It meant moving the television into the centre of the wall and setting the loudspeakers each side and then watching the picture on the television while listening to the sound on the FM radio in glorious stereo. As this experiment was run by the BBC, that was the channel of choice [watching RTE and listening to the BBC gave a surreal time-shift effect]. Those days were when I discovered the joy of Terry Wogan.
By this stage the old format of one singer, one orchestra had long gone and the singers had become acts. The whole affair was becoming more lavish to the point where people were judging the presentation and showmanship and not the song. Terry Wogan loved this format as he could rip the piss out of every act, which he did, with relish. The Eurovision became an annual event and fun to watch.
Terry Wogan left and the acts became more silly. I stopped watching as the commentators were taking it much too seriously and the songs were crap anyway. Music was forgotten in the rush to be more daft, with crazy costumes and pyrotechnics.
Last Saturday evening we watched “Queen in Rio” as I have converted Herself into a rabid Freddie Mercury fan. At one point I switched to the BBC and there was a bunch of weirdos prancing around with yellow heads, screeching somethorother. I switched back hastily. Later I tried once more but the blasting of flashing lights have Herself an instant headache so I switched channels again.
A week ago I predicted Ukraine would win. This was based purely on the silliness of the whole thing [and when did Australia join Europe?]. I hadn’t heard their entry and purely out of curiosity I found it yesterday on the Interweb. It was crap and Rap.
I fucking hate Rap.
Ukraine could have sent a crying cat this year and they’d still have won
They could have followed Ireland’s example with a stuffed turkey? In fact they could have saved a bit and not bothered to enter… They still would have won.
What’s Ukrainie for “My Lovely Horse. With your fetlocks blowing in the wind.”
I really wanted Latvia to win. It would have been a Green Anthem no radio station dare to play. If youve not heard it the first two lines are
‘Instead of meat I eat veggies and pussy
I like them both fresh, like them both juicy’
‘Cause my sausage is bigger, three, two, one, all the girls go eco,
if you want your man‘s tongue longer than a gecko‘s,
oh, when you eat your veggies, baby, think of me.
When Graham Norton took over from Wogan, he asked when Wogan prepared his script. He was astonished to discover there was no script, Wogan ad libbed all the way through. The BBC had no idea what he would say next!
Wogan was one of the few people to realize the whole thing was a wind up.
Wogan’s commentary was always right on the nail. Nothing was sacred and he made the whole show almost unmissable.
I remember “Simulcasting” – it was particularly useful when HiFi VHS recorders came out. IIRC the original Live Aid was broadcast that way, and I’ve still got the tape(s) somewhere. The practice often lead to complaints from “traditional” BBC Radio Two listeners, as they didn’t see why their normal programmes should be disrupted just so some horrible “Pop” group could be watched and listened to in glorious stereo…
I remember that too. Wasn’t it the TV as one channel and the light programme as the other for the original tests?
Possibly, but I only remember when BBC Radio 2 (and later, Radio 1) was used for the stereo audio, with the TV signal carrying normal mono. The VHS HiFi recorders I had would lay down the standard video & mono audio tracks, for compatibility with older units, and encode the stereo (supplied via phono sockets from your tuner) underneath the video tracks as two (different frequency) carrier signals of low level. As I recall, this was known as “Depth Muliplexing”, and also allowed backwards compatibility, with only a suitable deck being able to read this additional information. Unfortunately, as the spinning video heads began to wear, the HiFi tracks would suffer before picture quality noticeably worsened. Some years later “Nicam” stereo audio was added to TV signals, and the ability to record from external inputs was often missing on cheaper VHS recorders…
I used to watch rugby and footy on telly (duh? Where else) and listened to commentary on radio. Because the telly commentators were just shouty know nothing’s whereas the radio commentator had to explain in a normal voice what exactly was happening and why.
I have watched footy on telly in other countries, not knowing the language, and the shouty know nothing style is everywhere. For every 10 yards (metres) that the ball gets away from the centre line the voice goes up an octave, the volume doubles and the word rate increases. As the ball crosses the goal line only dogs and cats can hear the very high volume gabble.
Horse racing commentaries are just the same. You can tell how far the horse has to go purely by the pitch [and speed] of the commentary.
When I was still able to listen to shortwave radio (before those fucking “Powerline” Internet extenders were invented), any South American footy commentary always stood out. Even though I am not the slightest bit interested in football, and don’t speak a word of Spanish or Portuguese, the incredibly animated way the announcers carried on was amazing. And when one side actually scored: “Goooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooal”