Eurovision 1978, From Best To Worst:

1. Baccara, “Parlez-vous français?” (Luxembourg)
2. Ireen Sheer, “Feuer” (Germany)
3. Harmony, “‘t Is OK” (Netherlands)
4. Caline & Olivier Toussaint, “Les jardins de Monaco” (Monaco)
5. Carole Vinci, “Vivre” (Switzerland)
6. Co-Co, “The Bad Old Days” (United Kingdom)
7. Nilüfer & Nazar, “Sevince” (Turkey)
8. Mabel, “Boom Boom” (Denmark)
9. Jean Vallée, “L’amour ça fait chanter la vie” (Belgium)
10. Izhar Cohen & the Alphabeta, “A-Ba-Ni-Bi” (א-ב-ני-בי) (Israel)
11. Tania Tsanaklidou, “Charlie Chaplin” (Τσάρλυ Τσάπλιν) (Greece)
12. Gemini, “Dai li dou” (Portugal)
13. José Vélez, “Bailemos un vals” (Spain)
14. Colm C. T. Wilkinson, “Born to Sing” (Ireland)
15. Seija Simola, “Anna rakkaudelle tilaisuus” (Finland)
16. Björn Skifs, “Det blir alltid värre framåt natten” (Sweden)
17. Joël Prévost, “Il y aura toujours des violons” (France)
18. Ricchi e Poveri, “Questo amore” (Italy)
19. Springtime, “Mrs. Caroline Robinson” (Austria)
20. Jahn Teigen, “Mil etter mil” (Norway)

I didn’t think I’d like anything more than Baccara, the Spanish duo who competed for Luxembourg, but German disco diva Ireen Sheer came very close.  “Parlez-vous français” is no “Yes, Sir, I Can Boogie,” though.

Eurovision 1970, From Best To Worst:
1. Katja Ebstein, “Wunder gibt es immer wieder” (Germany)
2. Hearts of Soul , “Waterman” (Netherlands)
3. Gianni Morandi, “Occhi di ragazza” (Italy)
4. Eva Sršen, “Pridi, dala ti bom cvet” (Yugoslavia)
5. Mary Hopkin, “Knock, Knock Who’s There?” (United Kingdom)
6. Dominique Dussault, “Marlène” (Monaco)
7. Dana, “All Kinds of Everything” (Ireland)
8. Julio Iglesias, “Gwendolyne” (Spain)
9. Henri Dès, “Retour” (Switzerland)
10. Guy Bonnet, “Marie-Blanche” (France)
11. Jean Vallée, “Viens l’oublier” (Belgium)
12. David Alexandre Winter, “Je suis tombé du ciel” (Luxembourg)

"All Kinds of Everything," the winner, is sort of pathologically insane. This was a weird year overall—after the four-way tie the previous year a bunch of countries (Norway, Sweden, Finland, Austria and Portugal) all decided to boycott, meaning that the show was barely an hour long. That’s what prompted the introduction of the videos preceding each song, although here they’re all really pretty cinema verité things. The Germans and the Dutch have the only really good songs here, despite the presence of Mary Hopkin and Julio Iglesias.

Eurovision 1968, From Best To Worst

1. Claes-Göran Hederström, “Det börjar verka kärlek, banne mej” (Sweden)
2. Wenche Myhre, “Ein Hoch der Liebe” (Germany)
3. Odd Børre, “Stress” (Norway)
4. Kristina Hautala, “Kun kello käy” (Finland)
5. Massiel, “La, la, la”  (Spain)
6. Dubrovački trubaduri, “Jedan dan” (Yugoslavia)
7. Cliff Richard, “Congratulations” (United Kingdom)
8. Ronnie Tober, “Morgen” (Netherlands)
9. Gianni Mascolo, “Guardando il sole” (Switzerland)
10. Sergio Endrigo, “Marianne” (Italy)
11. Line & Willy, “À chacun sa chanson” (Monaco)
12. Chris Baldo & Sophie Garel, “Nous vivrons d’amour” (Luxembourg)
13. Carlos Mendes, “Verão” (Portugal)
14. Claude Lombard, “Quand tu reviendras” (Belgium)
15. Pat McGuigan, “Chance of a Lifetime” (Ireland)
16. Isabelle Aubret, “La source” (France)
17. Karel Gott, “Tausend Fenster” (Austria)

An excellent year! Especially for the northern countries. I absolutely love Claes-Göran Hederström, with his jazzy trenchcoat and his song, whose title translates as “I Think I’m Falling In Love, Damn It.”

It recently came to my attention that Gmail went and deleted two of my email accounts for, from what I can tell, no reason whatsoever. (Two different email addresses which were linked to two different domains and which forwarded to two different Gmail accounts, which seems like an odd coincidence…) I wish I’d known sooner! It’s been over a week, possibly as long as two.

It recently came to my attention that Gmail went and deleted two of my email accounts for, from what I can tell, no reason whatsoever. (Two different email addresses which were linked to two different domains and which forwarded to two different Gmail accounts, which seems like an odd coincidence…) I wish I’d known sooner! It’s been over a week, possibly as long as two.

We haven’t had a good Falco Friday at the office in a few months now! Will rectify today…

(Source: polojasno)

The only time I will bring this up.

I just started to respond on someone’s Facebook wall to “Bye Sierra,” the really poorly copyedited Huffington Post response to the “Hey White Gays” editorial that’s had the internet a-flutter for seven whole days now, and then I realized that Facebook commenting on a Huffington Post article is probably the single worst use of anyone’s time, so instead hi Tumblr, here is a list of thoughts that I have had over the last few days.

1. When I saw Sierra Mannie’s original editorial and didn’t read the caption, I assumed that the photo of Beyonce was a photo of a white man in Beyonce drag. This is maybe not an important point, aside from the fact that I’m overdue for an eye exam, but I found that to be the most surprising element of this editorial. Everything else, I think, I’ve seen pretty regularly for a long time now.

2.The first two references I saw to the editorial were both from gay friends on social media (one white, one who I’m assuming doesn’t identiy as white although I don’t really know him that well and you know how Facebook friendships are.) Both of these gay men referenced their own experiences dealing with friends who got really offended when asked what the deal was with gay men fetishizing black female pop culture. Here, I’ll quote one: “I have asked so many gay white dudes I know why they think gay men fetishize black women, but most of the time, the people I’ve asked have been super offended by the very question… And while this article doesn’t hazard any guesses as to why, it does make the basic point that it ain’t fun, it ain’t cute, and it needs to stop. Agreed.”

3. I’ve wanted to ask certain people that same question, although my morbid fear of anything resembling confrontation has prevented me from ever doing so.

4. The friends I have who are the biggest Beyonce fans are both gay men from the deep south, which leads me to another point that I think people aren’t acknowledging: Sierra Mannie’s experience as a young woman of color in Mississippi—who originally framed this article for readers of University of Mississippi’s student newspaper and not for you—is maybe not something that you can relate to and/or make assumptions about, Mr. Snarky New Yorker.

5. She’s a senior in college, calling her a kid is demeaning.

6. Three artlcles I will probably never read:
"Dear Black People: Cut White Gays Some Slack" (Vice)
"Dear White Gays: Don’t Listen To Time Magazine" (Thought Catalog)
"A Response To Sierra Mannie, From A White Gay" (BuzzFeed)

7. Black women that I get really excited about these days in a way that might seem like a little much: Lizzo, Katey Red, Mariah Carey.

8. Seriously, have you heard Me. I Am Mariah. The Elusive Chanteuse? IT IS SO GOOD. And, as my fortysomething boyfriend described it the other day, “age appropriate.” But I digress.

9. The people that I’ve seen reacting the hardest against this article (again, I’m referring to internet commenters because I have had exactly one conversation about this article in real life and it was with someone who hadn’t read it) all strike me as being super insecure. I don’t think that ranking minorities by order of discrimination is a particularly useful exercise, but we all live in our bubbles, self-inflicted or otherwise, and the northern white gay urban bubble is actually pretty good right now. So listen to the angry minority person who lives in the state that you’ll probably never go to.

10. Sierra Mannie is more articulate than any of her detractors, or at least the couple that I’ve bothered to read. Which might just mean that Time has more thorough editors than the Huffington Post. (I mean they must.) But seriously. Here is something Mannie says:

Black people can’t have anything. Any of these things include, but aren’t limited to: a general sense of physical safety, comfort with law enforcement, adequate funding and appreciation for black spaces like schools and neighborhoods, appropriate venues for our voices to be heard about criticism of issues without our race going on trial because of it, and solid voting rights.

Here is something that Anthony Michael D’Agostino, “PhD. Candidate,” says in the Huffington Post:

And when you brew us some “truth tea” oblivious to the fact that “t,” as used in gay male social circles, in fact, stands for “truth,” which we “spill” as a double entendre of “tea, ” thus making your condescending brew of “truth tea” read like an amateurish cup of awkward “truth-truth,” it sounds like someone watched Paris is Burning a whole half time before she thought she could talk down to gay men in their own lingo.

I can’t wait to read his dissertation about how incorrect it is when people call them ATM machines. Also stay away from the gay T.

Eurovision 1956, from best to worst:

1. Walter Andreas Schwarz, “Im Wartesaal zum großen Glück” (Germany)
2. Michèle Arnaud, “Ne crois pas” (Luxembourg)
3. Dany Dauberson, “Il est là” (France)
4. Jetty Paerl, “De vogels van Holland” (Netherlands)
5. Freddy Quinn, “So geht das jede Nacht” (Germany)
6. Franca Raimondi, “Aprite le finestre” (Italy)
7. Lys Assia, “Das alte Karussell” (Switzerland)
8. Fud Leclerc, “Messieurs les noyés de la Seine” (Belgium)
9. Michèle Arnaud, “Les amants de minuit” (Luxembourg)
10. Tonina Torrielli, “Amami se vuoi” (Italy)
11. Mony Marc, “Le plus beau jour de ma vie” (Belgium)
12. Corry Brokken, “Voorgoed voorbij” (Netherlands)
13. Lys Assia, “Refrain” (Switzerland)
14. Mathé Altéry, “Le temps perdu” (France)

1956 Eurovision was the first Eurovision. There were only seven countries, each of which was represented by two songs. Everyone sent two different singers except Switzerland, who ended up winning with the snoozier of its two entries. This was primarily just a radio broadcast and though it was filmed for a television audience no known tapes of it remain. Two disappointments: the song by Freddy, the German sailor, of whom I’m rather fond; and the fact that “The Drowned Gentlemen of the Seine” does not live up to the quality of its great title.

(Source: Spotify)

“ Dr. Hazel Bennett is a former heard of the Department of Library Studies at the University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica. She has written the definitive history of libraries in Jamaica entitled A History of Libraries in Jamaica, 1697-1987 (unpublished). ”

— i’m currently reading a book about Jamaican history. I’m not a fan of the writing style at all so I’m pretending I’m reading it for a class and doing a chapter every couple of days. I’m still at the beginning, but the most fascinating part thusfar has been the author bio on the back cover.

Queens of the Stone Age, “Better Living Through Chemistry”

I went to a very large high school and kept largely to myself, or at least to the people that I had classes with. At graduation I didn’t know a single person who sat in my row, even though we were seated alphabetically and that’s also how we were placed in homerooms back when we started ninth grade.

Also, as it happened, my name fell at the exact midpoint of the alphabet. People walked into graduation side by side, with A-L on the left and L-Z on the right. But there was an odd number of people in the class, so I walked in alone, last, and sat next to the aisle in the last possible row.

A few years later I saw Queens of the Stone Age for the first and (so far) only time. It was awesome! They were really good. This was when Songs For The Deaf came out. …And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead opened. I had a great time, even though I went alone, but actually someone from …AYWKUBTTOD was walking to the bar after their set and made some kind of snide remark about how I didn’t look like I was having any fun.

Anyway, tonight Queens of the Stone Age are playing on the very stage where I got my high school diploma. I find this odd! And also I kind of want to go, even though seeing them in a seated auditorium seems kind of weird and also the acoustics in there are awful. But I won’t go, because tickets are like seventy dollars, which I don’t have right now, anyway.

Sia is awful. So awful. Remember Flo Rida’s “Wild Ones”? Sia co-wrote it and sang the hook. In case you’ve forgotten, the hook went like this:  “Hey, I heard you were a wild one / OOOOooooOOOOOoooooOOOoohhh/ If I took you home, it’d be a home run. / Show me how you do.” Flo Rida might be a terrible lyricist but he comes off kind of well in comparison. And at least he knows how to pronounce vowel sounds.

Sia’s fans and critics alike tend to write about her primarily as if she is a Very Serious Songwriter. You know, like that time that she got Rihanna to earnestly sing the line “Palms rise to the universe as we, moonshine and molly, feel the warmth.” She also co-wrote “Perfume,” arguably the most ridiculous song in the entire Britney Spears oeuvre, and Sia’s also one of the six writers credited on Kylie Minogue’s recent single “Sexercise.”

Sia also sings her own songs! Like “Chandelier,” her first charting solo pop hit in this country. It’s currently #17 and rising on Billboard’s Hot 100. The verses are ambiguous but she’s telling interviewers that it’s an anti-drinking number. It could just as easily be a pro-drinking number, but it’s hard to tell, largely because she flat-out refuses to pronounce any syllables like a native English speaker. Then there’s the chorus, which sounds more or less like a yodeler being strangled only bigger. Subtlety is not Sia’s thing! The word chandelier is stretched to four syllables, and then six.

She told NPR recently that she wrote the song in under an hour and recorded the vocals in less than fifteen minutes. It’s not very catchy.

If Sia were just another terrible songwriter with a recording career that would be one thing! But she’s really earnest! So earnest. And people are buying into it! Someone at Fader yesterday wrote a piece on how Sia is “Changing the Landscape for Women in Pop” by refusing to perform publicly. There is a discussion of feminism, comparisons to The Knife, and so forth.

Now, I love the Knife, on conceptual as well as aural grounds. But, taste aside, there are a few key things that I think need to be remembered about Sia.

1. People’s personal lives are not necessarily related to their recorded output. Remember when Ke$ha went soul-searching in the Galapagos Islands before her last album? Did that make for more meaningful songs? Don’t get me wrong, I love “Die Young,” but no. No, it did not. So the ambivalent drunkenness in “Chandelier” needn’t be, and really shouldn’t be, in any way associated with the druggy years the writer spent getting over the death of her boyfriend.

2. Sia doesn’t appear in the video for “Chandelier” and instead a child reality television star appears in her place, dancing around in a nude body stocking while Sia repeats “1-2-3, 1-2-3, drink!” You could argue that Sia is making a point about something, I guess, and that this isn’t just her label’s way of catering to the Lifetime crowd. You could also argue that it’s creepy child exploitation! And not at all like The Knife, who put like twelve anonymous vocalists on stage at the same time.

3. Sia appeared on the cover of Billboard with a paper bag on her head. Sia’s marketing campaign for this album also largely involves paper bags on heads, and I’m pretty sure the ultimate decisions for what does and doesn’t happen on the cover of Billboard, an industry magazine, are made by, in no particular order: the photographer, the stylist, the art director, the publisher, somebody’s agent, an A&R person, and, I don’t know, probably like fifty other people. But let’s for the sake of argument say that the cover was Sia’s own choice, and some sort of subversive thing. But! Sia is not what music industry people might call traditionally pretty to begin with, and on top of that—and I only just learned this on Wikipedia—she has a degenerative thyroid disease, and so you could also argue that her physical “disappearance” is less a bold statement about the industry and more a sad commentary about how labels don’t think they can sell records by unattractive people. So it’s not really at all like, say, that time that Karen Dreijer accepted her Swedish Grammi award.

In other words, I’m really not looking forward to the inevitable period ten years from now when “Chandelier” becomes a standard at Walgreen’s.