I read with great interest in the Tribune last weekend that:
Some people date the decline of our economy to the moment we sent Dustin the Turkey, a national in-joke, to mock our European neighbours with a terrible novelty song.
In the past we took the Eurovision song contest very seriously. When Dana won in 1970 with ‘All Kinds of Everything’, her Eurovision win was all we had. By the time Johnny Logan sang ‘What’s Another Year’ in 1980, the Euro- vision was our main industry; it accounted for 75% of our GDP; there were Fás courses in writing pop ballads; every able-bodied youngster was apprenticed to a previous winner. Norway had oil. Denmark had fisheries. We had Eurovision wins. And now, with new-found humility, Ireland is trying to kick-start that industry once again.
That was the general feeling underlying Friday’s Eurosong 2010 Late Late Show Special: “We need the win!
Sending Dustin to represent Ireland was a bad joke that only we found funny. It is often said that the people previously loved the Eurovision but were let down by our inability to make relevant music any more. How cruelly it backfired. It was hardly our proudest moment to have a glove puppet turkey from Sallynoggin representing our country in a song contest.
It got me thinking about how Ireland went from that crap to this in 25 years. I found some images of Ireland in the 80s. Activities at the time used to include standing on a ditch watching rally cars go by, watching Paul McGrath and sniffing glue. I didnt really look too hard but you get the picture.
The change was gradual no doubt but I think a lot of the status anxiety was aroused by television. In Dublin in the mid 90’s I remember Friends started and people were hooked immediately. There was a lot of empathy shown to the characters. It seemed to make people who watched it more perceptive and wittier by watching it. It embraced absurd topics and everyone had a great laugh recalling the episodes.
A few years later it was Sex and the City. I was trying to claim to some friends that this show was one of the biggest phenomena in Irelands transformation from ugly duckling to broke rich guy.
The finale of ‘Sex’ was in 2004 and long since the the brits and the famine which had held the nation back. Around the time of the finale a lot of its female fans knew very little about it but they knew it was for them.
Fast forward to now and after consuming tons of Ugg Boots, GHD’s and san tropez tan bottles:
Dublin is like one of those plain girls in a high-school movie who takes her glasses off, lets her hair down and starts hanging around with the cool gang of New York, Barcelona and Berlin. Suddenly, she starts ignoring her old plain friends in Castlebar and Cork, who are a bit of an embarrassment with their funny accents and last year’s clothes. They are like the bridge-and-tunnel crowd you hear the woman cringing about on Sex and the City, suburban oafs who come into Manhattan at the weekend and lower the tone of the place.
How else could this sort of thing get published without people ridiculing its absolute hideousness:
Perfect for kicking off those Louboutin slingbacks, pouring a glass of Moët et Chandon and finally watching that boxed-set of Sex and the City (ah, nostalgia!) while Mr Big unwinds with a fat Cohiba after a hard day transferring loans to Nama.
Then there was this: