I remember Eurovision being a big deal when I was a kid. It was a very exciting event; one simply did not spend it NOT watching the TV programe which brought so many hit songs. Croatia, of course, competed as part of Yugoslavia since its début in 1961.
I am old enough to remember when Yugoslavia entered the top 5 with this song. Than in 1987, the Croatian pop band Novi Fosili (New Fossils) bested that by reaching the fourth place with “I’m up for a dance”.
Only two years later, Riva, a band from the beautiful city of Zadar actually won – with the song Rock me. I never liked the song much but I do remember the lead singer’s bangs very well – I kept seeing them on girls and women around me for months.
By the time I started high-school, the war in Croatia was about to begin, and a blond pop princess and Zagreb teenage idol who annoyed the hell out of my grunge loving teenage self was the Yugoslavian entry for the contest. That effectively ended my personal love for the contest, and no amount of national pride or opportunity for being derisive in company could compel me to watch it again. (And a bunch of fun-loving bikers tried really hard some time in 1998 or so).
When I realized that none of the Australians professing their undying love for Eurovision were being ironic, sardonic or anything else but DEAD SERIOUS, I was floored. Flabbergasted. I laughed. And asked questions. And nothing could sway them!
So, when I read that Australia had been invited to take part, I was, to be honest, as gleeful as my Australian friends are. Most of my Facebook feed was full of WTFs by Croatians, but when I asked Aussies if they were ecstatic, the answer was “Hell, yeah!” (Thanks, Cat!)
“So blown away by being included in Eurovision that it’s slightly sad. All the Finns were looking at me as if to say “Wait, you guys seriously like this? What?” I’m waiting for my call-up to sing cover versions of Elton John!” my very witty friend Nick Falkner, whom I met at the GUFF party in Adelaide, told me.
When he continued to describe how they “regularly have a Eurovision song contest dinner party for the finals. A big group of friends to sit around and watch the spectacle, listen to the music and mutter dire things about incestuous voting schemes and the implications of someone not giving Russia 12,” I became totally jealous!
It’s like he was describing part of my childhood I can never get back. Or have again, because, my love of all things Australian notwithstanding, I am not watching Eurovision again. Ever. But I can appreciate how much Australians love Eurovision and I can be very happy for Nick and all of my other Australian friends. Yaaay you! May you win! 🙂
Also – because I know Australians will love it – here is a brief history of Yugoslavia’s entries.
I learned something surprising while writing this: a summer neighbor of mine, whom I spent half my childhood being terrified of while terrorizing his younger child, sang at the contest twice.