My name is Alfie. I’m 23 years old. And I’m a Euroholic.
I am, more precisely, a politics-obsessed Europhile: two causes which have rarely been less popular in my homeland, but which go together hand-in-hand.
Combined, they mean that this May I will be reduced to a quivering heap of nerves. On the 6th May Britain goes to the polls for a general election – a contest which is very likely to go badly for my team, and leave me wanting to drink a ballot box of gin. On 29th May Europe goes to the phones to select its best-worst song of the year in the annual lycra-wrapped camp-fest that is the Eurovision Song Contest – a contest which is still more certain to go badly for my team, but will nonetheless leave me wanting to climb onto the roof and sing ‘Dancing Queen’ while downing bad sangria.
On paper, Eurovision ought to be a simple exhibition of all that is best (that is to say, worst) about Europop. What’s so wonderful about it is that it is actually a hugely expensive and divisive annual piss-up in which our ancient continent puts on far too much make up, inebriates itself on gallons of glitter-glue, and vulgarly exposes itself to billions of people around the world, before tearing itself apart in a schizophrenic and viciously political frenzy, comprehensively debunking any naively held-notions of European rationality and sophistication.
It is a salutary reminder of how far we have to go.
Anyway, anyway. I urge you to find a way to watch it, wherever you are – especially if you are not European. First, brush up on Eurovision myth and legend, with this handy BBC minisite, launched because the UK is about to select this year’s abysmal entry. You need this in your lives.