Ten reasons to watch Eurovision

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For those of you souls unlucky enough to not know what Eurovision is, it’s an annual event where European nations, more or less, commit to send some people who have at least a vague understanding of what a tambourine is to put themselves forward as the musical representatives for their country, other countries then vote for their friends or whichever act they find the most amusing and a Eurovision champion is born…

1. It’s great for geography, not only will you get to learn the names of all the European capitals you’ll also discover lesser known facts, like Australia is in fact in Europe (well they are performing in a contest for European countries so it must be true).

2. It’s a great way to learn about international (well European+) political affairs. You’ll learn which countries are afraid of retribution if they don’t vote for another nation (just you watch all those former soviet-bloc countries break away from old alliances…), which countries like each other (close neighbours, like the Scandinavians, often stick together) and who the least popular countries in Europe are (UK is definitely up there in the ‘other-European-nations-really-don’t-like-you’ stakes).

3. Unlike some more acoustically sophisticated types of music you don’t need to have any musical skills, appreciation or understanding to enjoy (or even represent your country at) Eurovision, in fact the more tone-deaf you are the more you will probably like this.

4. If you are an alcoholic it’s a judgement free way to enjoy your favourite beverage, no-one in their right minds would ever expect you to watch Eurovision sober!

5. As Avenue Q so famously put it ‘everyone’s a little bit racist’…indulge your inner xenophobia in an annually encouraged event by ridiculing, mocking and then bemoaning the intolerable success of that nation you just love to hate (come on you Swiss and English, let’s not pretend we aren’t eager to see France in an epic fail).

6. If you love ridiculously bad poppy music you can scream enthusiastically at this terrible genre without anyone suspecting you aren’t being ironic and that you actually like the music.

7. You can learn the art of maintaining the perfect composure appropriate to the kind of social occasion where they can only be one winner (Oscar nominees take note) by noting the behaviour of the acts that continuously receive ‘nil points’ from every other nation. Note how that happy gleaming grin distracts you from the fact they are now dead behind the eyes.

8. If you don’t actually have any friends, family or interests and wonder what to do with yourself at evenings or weekends, you can kill not just one entire evening watching hours and hours of this seemingly never-ending competition but they even have semi-finals and often competitions to select a country’s acts too. That could account for at least four out of 365 evenings in the year.

9. You can learn about European+ regional economics. Note how some countries deliberately field an atrocious act (but in the ‘wholly-bad’, think Kate Bush, not ‘so-bad-it’s-good’, think Spice Girls, way) to avoid winning the competition and being rewarded with the financially black-hole-inducing prize of having to host the competition next year (Greece’s entry, or Ireland entering Jedward yet again, should give you an idea of what I mean).

10. It’s an annual excuse to get together and throw a little party, bring people together, throw in a little babycham and a peanut or two and use your human guests as a shield to hide the shameful fact that, secretly, you really love this yearly event, even though you know you shouldn’t. Tears of emotion flowing down your face as you are moved by a man continually spinning in a giant hamster wheel can easily be disguised as tears of laugher.

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Ten reasons to vote

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1. You only get a chance to vote in the national elections every few years so might as well as not. Imagine if something amazing happened at your local polling station, like one of the counting officers did magic tricks and you weren’t there to see. You’d feel like a right chump!

2. It’s a chance to vote out/vote in again* the government you loathe/love* (*delete as appropriate). If you don’t vote then you can’t later whinge with legitimacy about how the government you voted in have let you down or how everything would be champagne and roses if the other lot, that you voted for but didn’t get in, had won.

3. You won’t be able to keep up with workplace banter round the kettle about who’s waltzing into the lead or tripping the light fantastic if you don’t plan to vote. It’d be like trying to keep up with Strictly Come Dancing conversations when you don’t know any of the finalists, except everyone will be paying attention to this political dance show.

4. Even if you think everyone standing is a right bunch of numpties (and everyone knows only egotistical lunatics want to be in politics) and you’d rather be ‘governed’ by a wet tea towel, which at least used to have a purpose in life, it’s better to go and deliberately spoil your vote (scratch through all names and write none of the above) than just not bother. Better to be counted as a pissed off voter than apathetic unengaged person who doesn’t care one way or the other.

5. If you can’t be bothered and don’t vote then you run the risk of those militant crazy types full of misplaced political fervour and zeal voting for the random ‘everyone must wear purple every other day’ parties and before you know it you are having to buy a whole new violet wardrobe and trying to remember if it’s a purple day or not.

6. Apparently there are some areas where who you vote for makes a difference. I’m not 100% sure how this works, having always lived I’m safe seats, but I think there’s a chance that your vote might actually change the party representing you, which must make the whole thing much more exciting.

7. If you live somewhere where it’s pretty much a given who will be your next politician it’s still good to vote to either let that politician know how much everyone likes them or to let one of the little guys (with snowball’s chance in hell kind of odds of winning) feel like someone liked them. It’s like taking the time to cheer for a support band at a concert when no-one else is paying attention them just waiting for the main act. Giving someone a bit of validation is a nice thing to do. 

8. It is possible that some politicians actually do care more about the possible people they will represent than the thought of wielding metaphorical swords of power, so it doesn’t hurt to skim the literature they send through (or whatever the modern day online equivalent is) and pick your champion.

9. It’s good to remember that there was a time when all women and most men couldn’t vote and that actually people worked pretty hard to change that, some of them even died (Emily Davison threw herself under the King’s horse to raise awareness of the fact women in the UK couldn’t vote; and, to make men feel less threatened by the prospect of women voters, she even took herself off the prospective voters list). These people would probably be pretty peeved if the right to vote they worked so hard for, no-one actually bothers to use.

10. The topic of politics might sound dull but who governs the country isn’ t just about old men droning on and on for hours on a dedicated channel no-one wants to watch. I mean that does happen but the things they drone on about impacts a lot of other things, like the kind of education your kids get, whether or not your streetlights stay on, if you have to pay for healthcare or not, whether wearing purple can ever be made mandatory and so on.