Saturday, May 14, 2011

Vo Mello bis ge Schoppornou

I hesitated when I was about to tag this post as 'Weekend video 1'. There's just bit more to it than that.

First of all this musical memorialization of a journey from Mello to Schoppornou tells of the aftermath of excessive drinking in many local taverns.

But the term local refers to a corner of the Bregenzerwald, a forest region just to the south of Bavaria, across the border in Austria. There the natives have a definite musical talent but a dialect which needs subtitles in order to be comprehensible to speakers of standard German. The refrain which sounds vaguely like "Way down... way down... way down" is in fact "Weh getan... weh getan... weh getan". Our inebriated hero is telling us that his efforts to walk home resulted in sore feet which "Hurt... hurt... hurt".


Is it coincidence that I post this clip on the day of the broadcast of the Eurovision Song Contest?  Not entirely. I think the song has more originality than much of what we shall hear tonight from the stage in Düsseldorf. Over the years I have watched many, many annual editions of the Grand Prix de la Chanson, and chuckled as the faces of hopefuls dropped when they heard the fateful verdict 'nul points'. For me the event was at its most impressive in the early days, when it seemed nothing short of miraculous that a live broadcast could be watched simultaneously thanks to the Eurovision links in so many countries. 

The first show I watched in 1965 on my first television set, a Sony 9 inch portable. Even in black-and-white France Gall was bewitching as she sang the song Serge Gainbourg had written for her, with ambuiguous lyrics she was too young and innocent to comprehend. The following year's winner was Udo Jürgens with 'Merci Chérie'. In 1967 we had a home-grown British winner for the very first time when Sandie Shaw sung of her 'Puppet on a String' and delighted foot fetishists all across the continent.

As the Eurovision Song Contest became increasingly camp and monopolized by music industry specialists, for me the appeal of the event decreased. Soon it no longer impressed that this was a cross-border simulcast. Gradually the annual edition has become just a bit of a joke. 

In my day job I handle the English language version of a German website devoted to all things automotive. We had a bit of irreverent fun with some of this year's Eurovision Song Contest participants here, although for us Grand Prix normally means something else entirely.

"Weh getan... weh getan... weh getan".

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