Eurovision 2015:  Building Bridges of Hilarity on Twitter

Eurovision 2015: Building Bridges of Hilarity on Twitter

This year the broadcast for the Eurovision Song Contest happened when we were at Aquadome, a thermal spa in the Tyrol region of Austria, the host country.  It seemed only appropriate we crash out in our hotel suite after a long day of hanging out in thermal pools and see what talent Europe could produce.  Also, BBC1 was one of the few English speaking channels on the television.

Eurovision 2015: Building Bridges

In Eurovision 2015, 27 countries sent entrants that competed against each other to win a brief moment of glory and then slide back into obscurity.  In the nearly 60 years of this song contest, only some of the winners have gone on to fame, most notably ABBA and Celine Dion.  Winning Eurovision provides a useful if expensive way of spotlighting countries who need a publicity boost.

The biggest complaint about Eurovision is the block voting.  Each country is allocated from 1 to 12 points to give to other countries because you can not vote for your own country.  Nonetheless, many countries have a buddy system where they give their biggest votes to each other.  For example, the Scandinavians all vote for each other as do the former Soviet republics.  The UK has no friends and usually winds up at the bottom of the pile with a pity vote thrown at them by maybe Ireland.

Eurovision banner

Austria, last year’s winner and this year’s host country, chose the theme for Eurovision 2015 –  building bridges.  We’re not sure where (or by whom) these bridges were being built but it seems a nice idea in this day and age.

For example, Putin would probably like a “bridge” back to the former Soviet colonies reinforced with tanks. The British public are voting in a couple of years on whether they want to burn their bridges and leave Europe.  Greece are protesting their austerity bridge.  Australia, making a guest appearance, would need  a really long bridge over the continents of Eurasia.

Conchita Wurst, the Eurovision 2014 winner, is building a bridge between genders.

Conchita Wurst Eurovision 2014 singer

Image credit: Adrian Snood

Eurovision on Twitter

Eurovision is hysterically funny if you watch it along with a twitter feed.  They are so many British wits who bring out their best punchlines for this show.  It’s a foregone conclusion the British aren’t going to win so their natural reaction is dark humour.

Here are some of my favourite use of Twitter’s famous 140 characters for Eurovision 2015.

Russia

Russia had a good song and an attractive, if somewhat emotional, singer.

Eurovision Russian singer

They came perilously close to winning.  I can’t imagine a show noted for its campness being any fun hosted by a country as restrictive as Russia.  Notably, a few countries completely refused to give any points to Russia in protest over their foreign policy and their stance on homosexuality.

The Russian who announced his country’s points was also quite funny when he announced in his best Count Dracula voice the twelve points would go to themselves.  The funniest point was the split second when no one knew if he was serious because it is something Russia would completely do.

https://vine.co/v/eqXVU2zwB9O/embed/postcard

Hungary

Hungary had a nice if somewhat earnest song and the singer had a gorgeous outfit.  Overall though it was a snoozefest.

Spain

Bringing out the big guns for Spain was Edurne a hot blonde who ripped off her clothes on stage.  She’s dating the Manchester United goalie and, as noted by many, clearly a good catch by him.

Greece

Greece can’t afford to put on a Eurovision contest so they probably did not send their strongest candidate.  I thought their staging was notably lacking in special effects (probably couldn’t afford that either).

Australia

Australia, with its huge Eurovision fan base, were invited to be guests in this year’s contest.

Austria

Even the host country was not spared some ribbing, especially when the piano caught  fire during the set and the singer blithely continued with the song.

Austrian piano fire

Eurovision 2015 final scorecard

Am I the only one who’s concerned that this guy’s piano is on fire? #Eurovision2015 — Catherine Bracy (@cbracy) May 23, 2015

United Kingdom

The song was dire.  Enough said.

This has got about as much chance of winning as a Liberal Democrat. #Eurovision2015

— Elizabeth Windsor (@Queen_UK) May 23, 2015

This video will be attached to our resignation letter when we quit the EU. #eurovision2015 — James O’Malley (@Psythor) May 23, 2015

In General  

It’s All About Sweden

In a Eurovision show with the Building Bridges theme, it seemed only appropriate that Sweden win.

  • Everyone likes Sweden.
  • They haven’t invaded anyone in a long time and have no plans to do so in the immediate future.
  • The Swedish royal family is remarkably modern.  The next two sovereigns in line for the throne are both female since they abolished male primogeniture.  Prince Carl Philip made headlines last week by announcing his engagement to a soft porn model.
  • The country itself is modern, progressive, educated  and a great place to live – the qualities so many other European countries want to emulate.

Oh yeah, the Swedish song was pretty good and the singer, Mans Zeimerlow, easy on the eye.

Conchita Wurst and Eurovision 2015 winnter

Image credit: Franklin Heijinin

If I were Sweden though, I would definitely keep an eye on Russia.

Not Just Pretty Medieval Faces in Carcassone

Not Just Pretty Medieval Faces in Carcassone

I was fascinated by the stone medieval carvings in the city of Carcassone, the largest and best preserved walled city in Europe.   The faces were so expressive that you could only marvel at how talented the stone masons must have been.

This statue is Lady Carcas who supposedly fended off an attack on the city by Charlemagne.  She used ingenuity to convince Charlemagne that Carcassone was stronger than it actually was so that he retreated without attacking the city.  Nice story but it actually is completely fabricated.

Lady Carcas

This statue is a replica of the Virgin Mary which graces the entrance to the Narbonne Gate, the main entrance to the medieval walled city.  She looks pretty ecstatic doesn’t she?  In the original statue which is now located in Carcassone Castle, she is holding baby Jesus.  Maybe she’s just happy about having her hands finally free.

Madonna on the Narbonne Gate

I love these gargoyles on the Basilica of St Nazaire located in the city.  The expressions make me laugh.

Gargoyle

“OMG! Why are my ears bigger than my hands” cried the first Gargoyle.

Gargoyle

“Did you see those fugly shoes?” gasped the second Gargoyle.

Gargoyles are glorified stone water spouts. When the statues were just decorative and didn’t serve any drainage function, they were called chimera.

chimera on Basilica of St. Nazaire

The medieval version of the Three Stooges.

chimera on Basilica of St. Nazaire

Even dental intervention wouldn’t have made this face attractive.

The statue of this lady in the Basilica of St. Nazaire is simply beautiful.  Of course, it could be a very pretty man with flowing locks as well since I think maybe the statue is wearing a suit of armour. I don’t know though – those hands look too pretty to ever have grasped a sword.

lady in st. Nazaire Basilica

“Moi? Beautiful? Why thank you kindly sir.”

In the Castle of Carcassone, there is an exhibit of statutes and other decorative stone work that has been salvaged from nearby ruins.

Doesn’t this man look like he is wearing a bad wig?  Or maybe it is a medieval combover.

face at carcassone castle

I am not amused.

This person looks really happy with life, or maybe they are just happy to be having a particularly good hair day.

Face at carcassone castle

Smile, you’re on stone.

Who knew medieval faces could be so expressive?  I expect those stone masons had fun creating these faces.  I definitely had an amusing time ascribing thoughts to their faces.

Which one is your favourite?  My favourite will always be the gargoyles.