Tuesday, February 06, 2007
Save a horse, ride a Norwegian

There's this thing comedians like to do: they find a dumb American, interview them, and claim the subject represents the entire nation. It's a pursuit equally beloved by non-Americans (Borat) as it is by Americans (Jay Leno), and admittedly, it can be pretty funny (Borat, not Leno).

It works because America is such a large, diverse country that you can, without too much difficulty, find someone somewhere who will not only hold a mindblowing ridiculous belief, but will also be entirely willing to elaborate this belief on camera. You can't do this style of comedy on Europeans, though, because the entire continent of Europe is utterly batshit insane. You interview an insane European, and the only response you could provoke from your audience would be, "Yeah, what's your point?"

Don't believe me? Look, here's a brief history of Europe:

1. Every European nation takes turns fighting one another, in some cases multiple times, over the course of a thousand years.
2. Eventually, they all have a gigantic fight that leaves millions of them dead.
3. Europe decides to hold an annual popular song contest.

This European insanity is not necessarily a bad thing, mind you. Since World War II, Europe has (mostly) avoided fighting itself and has instead been devoted to pursuing three main goals, which are, namely, making money, promoting public nudity and attempting to shorten the working week without reducing their capacity to make money and promote public nudity. That's not so bad. (America, for its part, has spent the time making money, restricting public nudity and trying to lengthen the working week without interfering with the pursuit of its first two goals. Australia has been pursuing the American goals, while telling itself it is pursuing the European goals.)

Come May, Eurovision will have been nobly stopping Europeans from killing each other for 51 years. I've only watched one full Eurovision contest, and that was last year's, which I helped profile for Stylus. I had seen bits of previous years, in those cases because I wanted to laugh at it, and I watched the year Russia entered tATu, in that case because of lesbians. But I've seen enough Eurovision to know one thing: it isn't all that good. It is better, however, than the other two major occasions for Europeans to gather together and not kill each other; unlike the UEFA Champions League, Eurovision actually offers contestants the chance to score a reasonable amount of points, and unlike the European Union parliament, Eurovision has decent costumes.

But before Eurovision starts, each individual nation needs to work out who is going to represent them at the festivities. Norway, for instance, holds a contest called Melodi Grand Prix, and if only them Norwegians vote properly, MGP 2007 has every possibility of launching the year's Eurovision champion. The MGP finalists have by now got through the gruelling semi-finals, and the clear standouts (i.e. the only ones I've bothered to check out) are a fantastic act who go by the delightful moniker Dusty Cowshit.

Dusty Cowshit are a Norwegian country act half way between "Rawhide" and Cowboy Troy (not that there actually is a lot of difference between those two). Germany tried to take out '06 with some Euro-country, and it wasn't half bad by Eurovision standards, but it was unfortunately played very straight. Dusty Cowshit solve this issue with their absolutely absurd song "Chicken Rodeo." Quite reasonably, Scandinavians are apparently rather impressed with these dudes. As the official MGP Web site says: "Norge liker cowboylukt!"

Let's face it: Eurovision is pretty shit. The reactionary end of pop music journalism tries to talk it up, but the rest of us can see that 90% of it is bullshit. I will admit that Kate Ryan, Belgium's failed '06 entry, had a decent enough song in "Je T'adore," but by normal pop music standards, even that was only average. The vast majority of Eurovision acts are comically bad, and the best ones are comically brilliant. Dusty Cowshit fall into the latter category, and I fully support their bid for MGP victory this year. With these guys and the possibility that Morrissey will represent the UK in '07, we have the makings of a first class cheese-fest on our hands.

Posted by Jonathan on Tuesday, February 06, 2007 at 6:55 AM |

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The FunkyFunky 7 Are:
A group of kids with WAY too much time on their hands.