Shelley rules the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) 2012

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On Saturday, Shelley slept most of the day and only stirred when it was time to go visit our friends to watch the finals of the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC). I’ll explain everything about it for you in a minute.

First, you need to go and buy lots of junk food: chips, chocolate raisins, chocolate cookies, peanut curls, malt beer (without alcohol), etc. Shelley insisted on riding a bit on the conveyor belt but I snatched her off again before the cashier tried to scan her…

Then you take the subway over to your friends. Shelley was rather confused, though, because the subway ran above ground for the biggest part of the trip. She said it was highly illogical but jumped up to look out of the window nonetheless. When she finally sat down, she complained about the pattern of the seats. I believe she felt it clashed with her bag-dress, so I’m being nice and don’t show you the picture (it’s blurry anyway).

Then you arrive at your friends. It’s imperative that they have a big monitor (because who has a TV anymore?) and a big bed to fit 4-5 people and a cat. Then, of course, you throw out the cat because he can’t resist going at the plastic wrappers of the snacks and we’re not sharing.

Of course we needed to predict the winner, and Shelley gave us the Page of Wands from the Karma Music Tarot. I then urged everyone to draw another card for our own favorites. You have to know that all of us never liked the winning song best, so Europe clearly has some catching up to do to match our exquisite tastes.  The card Shelley gave me for my favorite was the Oito de Paus/Eight of Wands from the Tarot Atalla. At this point I should probably mention that none of us had seen any of the performers before because we only ever watch the finals. So basically we had no idea what any of this meant at this point. I confidently assured everyone it would all make sense in the end…

Onward with crucial facts about the ESC. It’s the biggest music TV show in the world, being broadcast live to 42 countries at the same time with 100 million viewers. All of which send a musical representative to the two semi-finals, during which 26 participants are selected for the finals (selections are made by a combination of a jury vote and viewer televoting from each participating country). The great thing about the ESC is that it’s a crazy hodgepodge of musical styles, mad outfits, involuntarily funny performances and general accidental high camp. Which is probably why it has a history of being especially popular in the gay demographic, although I’m not sure that’s still true today. But the queer connection has stuck with me, so I watch it. And because I get a kick out of dissing the costumes, cringing at wrong notes (singing has to be completely live), and boggling at the altogether weirdness of it all.

After all this dry explanation you’re probably dying to know what Shelley had to say about the whole thing. Her favorite group were the Russian grandmothers (who had the oldest ESC performer ever) because they wore patchwork dresses. For the full-immersion experience you can watch their performance here (song starts at 0:20). Shelley posed with them for a quick shot.

My own favorite turned out to be the all-girl slightly Sapphic schoolgirl burlesque performance of a catchy little pop song from Cyprus (watch it here, song starts at 0:50). It had everything: odd hairstyles, amusing choreography with girl-on-girl lifting, queer subtext, dancers who didn’t look anorexic, kneesocks, and a dancing platform made of books. What’s not to love? By the way, I think Shelley did a great job of capturing the colors of the costumes and the style of the dance moves in the card she gave me to represent my favorite!

But what’s with the winner, you ask? We’re not quite there, yet. First, there is the voting component of the ESC, which is completely ridiculous and boring, except that it’s not. Every country calls in live to give its votes (yes, every single country of all 42 participating ones). First they give their points from 1 to 7 all at once, then they individually announce the recipients of their 8, 10, and 12 points. This is done in both English and French. You really need to watch at least one example of this if you don’t know the procedure. Really.

So, what about the winner? Well, based on it being a duet of a blonde woman and a slightly darker-haired man and having some red-pink-orange light at the end, we thought it might be Iceland. However, the winner was a Björk-esque barefoot singer from Sweden. No duet, no pink sphere, no desert, no dress with a ripped seam, nothing. I sadly concluded that Shelley had gotten it all wrong this time.

Until a few minutes ago.

Because I kept wondering about how the Page of Wands from the Karma Music Tarot could match the winning song. Fire? No, there wasn’t anything particularly fiery in the performance. Someone young? No. While the singer did have a kung-fu fairy-like girlishness and wasn’t very tall, she definitely wasn’t the youngest participant.

And then it hit me. Shelley was made from cards sent by people from all over the place, right? So, where did that particular card come from? I quickly looked up the list of contributors on Aeclectic and saw that it was indeed a member from – wait for it – Sweden(!!!) who had contributed the card. I mean, what are the odds?!

So this goes down as another smashing success for Shelley. Even if it took me a while before I understood what she had to say.

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5 responses »

  1. Great post here. Shelley has a charming and childlike sense of wonder and interest in the world around her; she has not yet become jaded by her world travels. Dare I point out these traits’ similarities with the Page of Wands and do the classic AT tarotist “This reading seems to be more about *you* than the person you’ve asked about” thing?

    The Karma is among my shortlist of favorite decks. The artist is Danish and a musician, so a win for Denmark would have been nifty.But the trouble with trying to use the cards to predict an outcome in which you have no prior knowledge of the field is that you don’t know anywhere near enough to be able to use the information to make an educated pick beforehand. It would be like someone asking me a question about taxes or physics–the cards could very well be dead-on, but I wouldn’t even begin to know how to interpret them to give an answer.

    The first thing I would have noticed with this Page is, yes, the childlike fire and energy of a Page of Wands generally (it would be either a child or someone with a child-like approach, as you indicate, and perhaps high-energy), but also the Cirque de Soleil/acrobatic image in the center. I might have taken it literally.

    Now that I know the winner is Loreen (who indeed was high-energy and brought a childlike sense of enthusiasm and fervor), I wonder if it might be linked to my first thought at seeing her, which was “She doesn’t look indigenous to Europe; I’ll bet her parents are immigrants” (and I was later correct on both counts, and on the suspected ancestry of origin). I see in that central acrobatic image contrasted with the two “ordinary” people on the ground a sense of “outsider/exotic figure in society.” Loreen is different, perceived by some as an outsider by, but rather than trying to hide herself away and trod the straight and narrow, fitting into a “normal” lifestyle, she has taken a route that makes her stand out even more, that draws all eyes to her.

    Looking forward to more of Shelley’s escapades…

  2. @ Chiriku:
    I believe that Shelley takes on some of the interests and characteristics of the person she’s with at the time. But she seems to instill a desire to do extraordinary things in all of us, even if it’s just taking pictures of her in interesting places (and even if we don’t end up doing most of the things we thought of).

    Predicting the winner without any previous knowledge was almost a reverse reading: the task for me as the reader was to find a way to make the card fit the result, not to gain any knowledge before the act. Perhaps it was a little like doing a predictive daily draw in the mornings and seeing how it fit your day in the evening. Which I believe is a legitimate way to learn more about the range of meanings a card can have.

    Your reasoning for why the Page of Wands was a good fit for Loreen makes a lot of sense to me, especially the bit about being different than the norm and not hiding it. Thanks for broadening my understanding of this particular card, too!

    @ Prince Le Normand:
    That’s just what I thought. Interestingly, another reading with Shelley for someone else contained an almost scary amount of seemingly random associations on my part that ended up making very concrete sense to the sitter. I don’t think I ever had so many of these in just one small three-card reading. But Shelley is something special indeed!

  3. That card from the Tarot Atalla was my contribution to Shelley. :-)
    I was happy to see its prominent role in your reading! It was a wonderful surprise, indeed!

    And thank you for all the Shelley posts, though I have participate of the making of the deck, I have been away from ATF, and thus haven’t been following its journey! I was ready to know more about it through your blog!

  4. @ Saturness:
    It’s so nice that people who read my blog speak up about the cards they contributed (Sharyn also had one she donated come up in a reading). I’m glad you could get a glimpse of Shelley’s travels through my blog even if you’re staying away from AT for now.

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