Exile brings a few consolations: I managed to miss last weekend's attempt to re-stage the Treaty of Versailles, and so I have yet to see or hear the Serbian lesbian torch song that managed to pluck everyone's votestrings (except Malta's). I can't even comment on whether Sir Terence's liver was under more intensive strafing this year than last. But Small Boo came up with a gem of an idea that might help to transcend all the petty factionalism and block-voting that has marred recent Eurovisions. Each country is allowed to pick one song that has previously been entered in the competition, and enter an all-time Eurovision Playoff. Since the event's been going since 1956, some of the original performers may be unable to come up with the goods, so a substitute is permitted, but it must be a passport-holder for the relevant nation. (None of this Celine-Dion-pretending-to-be-Swiss malarkey.)
For example, one presumes that the good people of Sweden would choose 'Waterloo' to be their entry, unless a massive, collective brainfart gives the honour to 'Diggi-Loo, Diggi-Ley'. But, as any fule kno, Abba will be unavailable, since Agnetha (the one we all fancied back in 1974, before dismissing her as being too blonde and obvious, compared to dark, mysterious Frida, but then, a few years ago, we realised, nah, it was Agnetha's bum that did it for us all the time) is a recluse who refuses to come out to play, even for all the peroxide in Gothenburg. So maybe the honour should go to The Hives, or Peter, Bjorn and Jon, or her off of the Cardigans.
But of course, this presupposes that the best songs get entered for Eurovision. Which is, of course, piffle. I can only think of three entries that might possibly represent the best of their respective nation's art: 'Volare' (Italy, 1958); 'L'amour est bleu' (Luxembourg, 1967); 'My Star' (Latvia, 2000). Significantly, none of them won.
So let's tweak the concept. Each country is allowed to enter one song that has been written since 1956, whether or not it's been a Eurovision entry. And this is where my knowledge of Euromusic starts to fall down, and where I need your help, people. If you know a heart-wrenching Cypriot ballad or a slamming slab of Hungarian techno that encapsulates all that's best in its country's musical tradition, let's hear about it. Or even something really cheesy you once heard on holiday. In the meantime, here are a few to get you thinking.
Austria: What else but 'Rock Me Amadeus'?
Belgium: Jacques Brel's 'Ne me quitte pas' (just edging out 'Ça plane pour moi').
France: 'Playground Love' by Air.
Germany: Can, Kraftwerk and Rammstein offer some choice morsels, but it's got to be 'Da Da Da'.
Iceland: 'Ammæli' (aka 'Birthday') by the Sugarcubes, the best thing Björk's ever done.
Ireland: presuming we're restricting consideration to the Republic, which raises a whole number of questions, as well as excluding Van Morrison and the Undertones, I'd plump for 'The Boys Are Back in Town'. U2 and the Corrs can do the catering.
Norway: 'The Sun Always Shines On TV'.
Spain: 'Black is Black' by Los Bravos.
Sweden: 'The Winner Takes It All'.
UK: Time for Morrissey to come up with the goods, I feel. 'Everyday Is Like Sunday', maybe?
Any suggested amendments/additions?