I don’t care, I don’t care at all how this seems, I will always be absurdly excited about Eurovision, I haven’t missed one in the last 32 years and I will never miss one in the future. I’ve said this before, I don’t like it in a hilarious / let’s laugh at those ludicrous Europeans / oh-what-a-camp-night way, I like it the way that’s imposed on me, burnt into my psyche through the early years of the 1980s, watching it year after year on a small TV in my parents’ bedroom, a rare night in the year when I could stay up late, memories from a childhood that I’ve mostly blanked out, though this I still remember. And I know from when I used to live in London that Eurovision has become a camp monster in the minds of thousands of gay men, just another event on the gay calendar alongside a Kylie tour or a new Gaga video, but I also know that there are many boys – usually from the Continent – who like it for the same reasons that I do, because it was part of growing up and it makes you feel nostalgic and sad and lovely.
This year, I have a clear favourite and this clear favourite is Belgium. Mind you, I’ve only heard just over half of the songs, because I haven’t watched the second semi-final yet (as it hasn’t happened yet at the time that I’m writing this) and I haven’t looked online for the rest, but this will have to do.
The Belgian entry is sung by a Belgian person called Tom Dice. His song is called Me And My Guitar. I think this is Belgian for My Guitar And I.
Tom Dice is a young, white guy with a nervous disposition, tired eyes that look like he’s stayed up all night and an unfortunate mouth-to-nose ratio, so instantly I can relate 100%. In a direct clash with the rest of the entries which invariably invest in multiple dancers, pyrotechnics, elephants, kitchen sinks and scandalous choreography, Tom Dice just stands there with his guitar and plays his little song. He’s such a rebel you know. For the purposes of loving him (because I want to), I will choose to ignore that this is an equally cynical ploy to stand out and win votes, so you can shut up about it.
Tom Dice’s song is catchy enough, I guess, not that we’d care if it wasn’t at this point, though it doesn’t offer absolutely anything new when you’ve heard a million singer-songwriters before, but he is our preferred Eurovision entry this year and we’ll just have to put up with minor details like that.
His lyrics are laughable, and by laughable I mean brilliant, balancing between English-as-second-language sentimentality (hello me) and self-deprecating underdog nuances (oh hello), with all the depth and impact of sixth-form poetry written by a bullied teenager on a paper napkin and left out in the rain on a grassy field.
Tom Dice’s song starts with the magnificent self-referential line:
“People always say: ‘Tom this is going too far’”
This is instantly brilliant, and I actually think Tom is alluding to Bret Easton Ellis’ Lunar Park with this mixed reality and art technique. Well done, Tom!
“I’m not afraid to change my dreams
Just me and my guitar”
Awww! Tom! We’re all rooting for you.
“And no one may ever know
The feelings inside my mind”
You know what, I’ve thought about this. Tom refers to the feelings inside his mind. If Tom wants to feel with his brain, who are we to stop him? For thousands of years lyricists have fallen victim to such clichés as ‘thinking with my head’ and ‘feeling with my heart’. Well enough of that. Tom is using the same non-conformist streak that made him play an acoustic song on the Eurovision stage, to change perceptions we’ve all had about that which human organ does what. And I’m all for him.
Then Tom goes on a bit more about chasing his dreams with his guitar or something and finally he gets to the song’s core, its existentialist backbone, with the following tortured couplet:
“So maybe I should get a nine to five
And I don’t wanna let it go
There’s so much more to life”
At this point, practically the whole of Europe is screaming “NO, NO, TOM! DON’T GET A 9 TO 5, DON’T END UP LIKE THE REST OF US. There IS so much more to life, and you’re going out there and get it buddy”, practically elevating him to a representative of the people, a Prince of Hearts, a hero for all us tormented office workers (I’m pretending to have a job now for the purposes of this) who gave up our dreams, got a 9 to 5 (I love that phrase) and can only live vicariously through the success of people like Tom, who broke away, followed the feeling inside their minds, didn’t compromise and chased the dream.
If Tom wins Eurovision, it will be a victory for everyone in Europe who has a job that kills them, for everyone who settled.
If Tom doesn’t win Eurovision, I fear the worst, because the proletariat has had enough, and this might be the last drop. I pray that I’m wrong, but I see bloodshed.