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The Anglovision Song Contest and La Diversité

So, the annual camp-fest is over. The Grumpy Old Man retired to his favourite darkened room for most of it but emerged in time for the voting. Actually, I do – just – remember a time when I enjoyed it in a “serious” way, back when Abba were a novelty for not singing in their own language… Apparently “about 99%” of last night’s entries were in English. Ok, maybe some slight exaggeration there, but the trend seems inexorable.

Regular trips around Western Europe in recent years have left me underwhelmed by the seeming ubiquity of Anglo-American pop music, but a trip to Cyprus last year lifted my spirits. I don’t think I heard one English song on bus or car radio all the time I was there. So, as the votes began to pile up for Azerbaijan last night I won’t say the night was filled with Eastern promise, but, having not yet heard the song, I did allow myself some optimism that the winner was going to offer something a little bit different. Oh oh!

My own vote? Well, I didn’t hear the songs, so can only comment on the voting presentation. Fantastic! Marvellous!! Stupendous night!!! What a great show!!!! Shall I go on? Well, only to say top marks to the forlorn Frenchman who manfully delivered the tally of his country’s votes – entirely in the language of that country. Amazing!!! C’est magnifique, mais ce n’est pas la guerre…

But here’s the rub. The anglophone craze actually does the UK no “favours” at all. The Blue effort was evidently indistinguishable in the monocultural monotone. So what’s the solution for those who would seek a return to the glory days of Sandie Shaw or (Sir) Cliff Richard? Well, it’s obvious isn’t it? We’ve got plenty other languages here. How about making 2012 the year when the UK shows some linguistic and cultural invention and enters a song in a language other than English? What is there to lose?

Someone should be getting on the phone to Julie Fowlis now.

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