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.