Some years ago, just after touching down in Guadalajara, Mexico, I was asked what I thought of Sarah Brightman. I had heard of the lady, knew she had been married to Andrew Lloyd Webber, and that she had in the dim and distant past had something of a career as a pop star and dancer. What I did not know was that La Brightman was a huge star in Mexico, her concerts widely anticipated events, which regularly filled venues the size of Wembley stadium.
Something similar had happened to me in Beirut where I once spent an evening listening to Samantha Fox’s Greatest Hits.
In the Middle East Ms Fox is a serious artiste, and not known for anything else.
I mention this because it drives home a very simple point. Tastes in pop music are very localised. And just to prove that point, here comes the Eurovision Song Contest 2011. Once more we shall all be delighted by this truly staggering celebration of musical diversity.
In Britain we are (well, most of us are) blessed with a sense of irony, so the Contest is something of an occasion to treasure. Last year there were some superb live blogs of the event. So, if you have planned anything for this Saturday, now is the time to throw over that plan in favour of a night in with the telly and the computer.
This year – and I apologise if this seems a familiar assertion – it is said that the Royaume Uni stands a good chance of winning. This almost certainly means that it is going to be an evening of national humiliation. The group flying the flag for Britain is Blue and you can see their performance here.
The song is entitled “I can”, which may sound like a hollow joke by Sunday morning.
British viewers traditionally vote for the Irish entry, which this year is Jedward. You can hear these winsome performers here, if you really want to.
Malta has already been knocked out, so I am uncertain whom to vote for this year. The only song I thought had any merit, actually, was the Finnish entry, which is about global warming, amazingly. There are no funky costumes, just a rather sweet song. I expect it will win a resounding nul points.