This concludes tonight’s 2013 Eurovision Song contest live blog. Goodnight Europe
11:50- there it is folks, this years winner- Denmark!
11:10- ‘SHE GONNA EAT ME IN MY SLEEP’- Screams BHT as Lena gives the points with perky jumpy aplomb
10:55- It’s not the winning r beating the UK that counts, it’s the shirtless men.
10:50- Azerbaijan looks like the Predator Alien.
10:45- GOOD FRIDAY AGREEMENT MY ASS. 800 YEARS.
10:42 Sweden’s judge looks like a character from Final Fantasy. Ireland got two points, ripple of ‘wooos’ spread through the room.
10:40 BHT is hugging her wine bottle, sobbing and singing along to winner takes it all
LIVEBLOG SUSPENDED because how on earth could you top that.
10:25- ‘Is this really funny or do I just really like Sweden?’ ‘You just really like Sweden. And you’re drunk.’ (Then the titties happened) SKIRT RIPPING
10:10- Maybe this is the wine talking, but BHT predicts A MILLION POINTS for Dreamboat Dolan tonight. Interval act is a medly by last year’s winner, wearing a dress that has crashed into a seagull on the way to the Arena. Sex Kitteh likes her hair, but is uncomfortable with the juxtaposition of ‘We got the power’ alongside white flag and military jumpsuits.
10:05- Georgia are really fuckin’ boring so instead we’re waiting for DREAMBOAT DOLAN to wrap up the show, and seeing what kind of riverdance knock off Sweden have planned for the interval
9:55- ‘FUCKIN’ DUBSTEP!’ BHT declares, spilling half her wine drunkenly as Danaerys Stormborn takes the stage for Norway.
9:50- Team BHT now wondering what happened to make Lena so fucking weird the year after she won Eurovision as Italy takes the stage. Fun fact- Italy were never regular attendants at Eurovision until recently, where they’ve performed… dreadfully. Italian singer having a bit of a wobble during his song.
9:40- The most homoerotic song of the night from Azerbaijan. Greece next with ‘Alcohol is Free (but trousers are expensive)’. Any song with a bazooki solo is fine by me. Sex Kitteh wants to vote for Greece, so Germany will have to pay for the party next year.
9:35- Denmark is tonight’s favorite to win doing a Sandie Shaw and singing barefoot. Sex Kitteh and bearded Avenger have named her Hermione Granger. ‘If there’s nothing but teardrops between you I’m sure you could sort it out with some vigorous sex.’ Thor representing Iceland now, which seems like unfair advantage to BHT. Then again, only other skilled singer from Iceland=Bjork, who is probably an Alien.
9:25- BHT’s brother would like it to be known he wants Hungary to do well because he did three weeks of chef training in Budapest.
9:20- ‘Thats just what Bonnie Tyler SOUNDS like!’ BHT snaps defensively to Sex Kitteh and Bearded Avenger.
9:15- Romania, otherwise known as the best fucking song of the entire fucking decade. BHT is excited, BHT sex kitteh is intrigued and BHT Beard Avenger asks ‘Is that the bad guy from Tekken?’ We will hear no bad words spoken about counter tenors. Second Dubstep breakdown of the evening.
9:05- Jesus up there currently. Armenia is so boring we muted them so we could listen to 2011’s winner, Lena. First glasses of wine cracked out. the Nethelands up next, dark horse entrants into the contest from last week. BHT hopes Adele is listening.
8:55- Eupoooooooooori- Whoops, sorry. We meant Gloooooorious. Germany standing atop the bare staircase of Austerity. Pretty symbolic.
8:55- Malta, home of Malteasers on stage now. Poor guy sounds like Bruno Mars with kidney stones. Worst instrument miming of the night goes jointly to the Acoustic Bass and ukulele mimers. Maltese Bruno Mars, following girls is not cool. Russian entry singer needs to reconsider the position of her parting as she continues the scourge of maxi dresses. Cascada up next for germany, prepare to relive MTV in 2006
8:40- Estonia has broken the Eurovision by switching off the colour. BHT sex Kitteh is dissapointed with the lack of skirt ripping so far. Maxi dresses and beach coverups dominate tonight’s wardrobe. Enough dry ice to smother the first five rows. Giant disco ball from which emerges slutty Taylor Swift singing for Belarus wearing a Gina G style sparkly dress.
8:30- Spain off key and boring. Awkward instrument miming all up in here. BHT co-host ‘sex kitteh’ asks ‘What are the chances some of Spain’s dress coming off?’ Wishful thinking, BHT SK. Are bagpipes native to Spain? Belgian performer is only 18 but still has the eyes of a serial killer (BHT Sex Kitteh thinks he’s sexy.) (no she doesn’t). BHT SK- That’s ‘the is it thrush?’ dance from the Belgians. FIRST DUBSTEP BREAKDOWN OF THE NIGHT
8:25- ‘Oh wait! There it goes!’ Skirt is growing. Resembling a volcano. As Finland takes the stage, Feminists everywhere gird their loins for the problematic lyrics. WIND MACHINE VEILS
8:20 First superfluous dancers of the night from Moldova AND a bloke miming the piano. BHT party currently arguing about Molodovan performers skirt. ‘Is it growing bigger? No thats just the lights on it’
8:20- Everyone in Lithuanian entry singing off key. Strobe lighting giving BHT and co-hosts a small seizure. Verdict- this really sucks.
8:15- BHT waiting patiently for the ABBA reunion interval show. Assuming Benny and Bjorn are backstage trying to squeeze into their stretched out jumpsuits. France first, a rather jazzy entry of the style which has left them bottom of the table in recent years. Entry looks like Ke$ha and Country Love crashed in midair.
8:10- Out Ireland comes in dead last. BHT hopes this is not an omen of things to come…..
8:00- Fuckin’ neon butterflies invading Malmo via the sea. If BHT was the olympic opening ceremony BHT would sue….
7:55- Fever pitch! Here’s our spotting guide and an awkward photo of Dana
1-Skirt ripping (or someone emerges from someone else’s skirt)
2-awkward attempts at humour from the host
4-completely superfluous dancers
5-Obviously mimed instruments
6- Graham Norton says something bitchy
7- Marty Whelan tries to sound like Terry Wogan and fails.
7:45- dreamboat junction in fifteen minutes
7:30- Prep underway. Hair blowdried and backcombed, leather pants applied. Wine uncorked.
11:30AM – Bank Holiday Tuesday will be liveblogging and tweeting the 58th Eurovision Grand Prix tonight from 8PM. Follow on twitter @Keofunkel and @BankHolidayTues for the proceedings which are sure to include alcohol, camp and shrieks of joy at the sight of the return of those leather pants to Irish eurovision hopes.
Niamh ‘BHT is back in business baby’ Keoghan
Let me marshal my thoughts as best I can; I’ve just finished watching the Late Late Show debate on marriage equality, which I experienced first via the so called ‘river of bile’ on Twitter- a surprisingly moderate, inoffensive river all things considered although I do think calling Wendy a cunt and telling her to stick things up her fanny was unhelpful and immature- on the whole, twitter was being it’s usual twittery self. I think it says an awful lot of David Quinn blacklist of bile-y tweets mostly consisted of balanced, moderate comments and a kind of eye rolling disdain for the usual weak arguments against marriage equality. A few things did strike me about the debate hat I think I, as something of a feminist and general know it all, ought to clear up.
1. The ‘gender equality’ point
Both Darren and Wendy set forth this point; that in every other area of society be it in politics or business, we’re always striving for an equal number of men and women representing on boards and in government. The argument seemed to be that in these areas, there was a recognition that you needed both men and women for there to be fairness and equality, so why is it different when children are being raised? It was said that this notion of gender equality recognizes that men and women have different skills and approaches that are both valuable.
The thing is, that’s not what gender equality really stands for, or at least my conception of it. The idea is, quite radically, that gender doesn’t actually matter in these cases- that men and women can both do the same job equally well without difficulty. The problem emerges when there’s such a massive disparity in the gender balance of a company board or parliament- because if gender really, honestly wasn’t the issue, we’d have a 50/50 balance of men Vs Women. The whole basis of this is that like race, gender doesn’t actually tell you anything about the person. Women can be just as aggressive, stoic or tough as men, and men can be just as passive, emotional or sensitive as women. There’s nothing wrong with being whatever- people are simply people, their gender can inform their identity but it doesn’t define them.
2. Biological mammies and daddies are best
The first thing that strikes me about this entire argument is how insulting it is. To reduce the love I have for my parents- who have cared for me, protected me and given me a stable home for 20 years, loved me no matter what my difficulties have been- to reduce a relationship so complex and fulfilling to biology is woefully simplistic. I have a mother and father, but to reduce their roles in my life to simple cardboard cutouts of ”MAM’ and ‘DAD’ fitting into this narrow gender binary is ridiculous.
When I was a child, my father worked nights and my mother worked during the day in town. At the time I was sure that she basically owned a company and so was very happy mammy went to work in the day. Because my dad worked nights, I spent most of my day with him- we’d get up and watch sesame street, then we’d go in the buggy to town, or to the park, or to any number of places. My dad changed my nappy everywhere because there were no changing facilities outside of the ladies toilets in an era before parenting rooms, so he improvised, most famously on the grave of an archbishop.
My Dad is very stoic. He’s not a very touchy feely guy. He’s told me he loves me exactly once in his life- on the phone, after my mum had gently informed me that my grandmother, his mother, had passed away while I was on Holiday in Galway. He’s an old fashioned, Colm Meany in the commitments sort of Dad. He doesn’t say he loves me, but he certainly shows it- everything I’ve ever needed is provided for. I’ve never gone hungry or been cold or scared. He’s worked hours of overtime to pay for my education and my school trips. He was a very hands on father when I was a kid, sharing the parenting duties with my mother. As well as my mum and dad, I was cared for by two grandmothers who without fail babysat us four days a week when dad started working in the mornings again.
My mother worked in town full time for most of my childhood. When I was a little kid, she’d ring from her office in town once during the day, and then arrive home in a big beige 90s style rain mac, usually holding an umbrella and her handbag. On the weekends, she’d cook a spaghetti bolognese on Saturday and a roast on Sunday. We’d all go on outings- my mum, dad, brothers and usually my grandparents- together as a family.
Bottom line- my parents both mucked in and got on with it. I wasn’t particularly aware of gender roles when I was a kid- if I cut my knee, I ran crying to either parent. As I got older and needed help with other problems, I gravitated towards two people- My mother, and my uncle Fran. My uncle is like me in personality, articulate and great at conversation. I don’t gravitate towards my mother because women are just naturally better at dealing with their daughter’s problems, I do it because my dad just happens to not be as easy to talk to. My brothers go to my mum with problems too, the same way if we have a wobbly desk we go to dad.
It’s not to say that they have set roles that are defined by their gender- they’re just two people primarily, who raised a family together. The really important thing that they gave us was stability- I never had any doubt that my parents were a team, and working together. It’s stability, not gender, that’s really important to a kid.
3.Marriage is only for makin’ babies
This obsession with kids being the only outcome of marriage kind of irks me. No it bloody isn’t. The primary function of marriage as a social institution? I would have imagined it had something to do with the people actually getting married and not just their potential offspring. This also discounts people unable to have children, or who just plain don’t want them. Again, reducing marriage to just being about biological reproduction is ridiculous. There’s also the question of adoption- Sometimes the sad fact is that biological parents aren’t capable of raising children alone or together, and that’s okay- kids get adopted all the time, and it doesn’t fundamentally distort them. I suppose it’s okay for them to be adopted by straight couples because then there can be a pretend biological bond, by Darren and Wendy’s logic.
To me, the biological argument is bullshit. It insults adoptees and children raised diligently and happily by step parents, grandparents and any of the other million grey areas there are in the world. The ‘protecting the children’ rhetoric also completely ignores the legal limbo that the children of gay parents now exist in, with only one official parent. It doesn’t make sense to me.
4. George Hook is kind of the man.
Has to be said because I have done mean impressions of him on many occasions and he was a total dude up on that podium.
5.They’re gonna ruin marriage for everyone
God you know, as a straight, cis female who wants to someday have children, I know exactly what will put me off marriage forever- two chicks being able to do it, amirite? I mean, what would be the actual point of getting marriage and having babies if the gays are going to come in and RUIN MY MARRIAGE? It’s just not bloody fair. An entire generation of straight women and men would be discouraged from getting legal protection and starting families because sure now EVERYONE can do it, it won’t be cool anymore. Or something. The opponents to marriage equality are never very clear about how that bit works…
The idea that my relationships are cheapened by somebody else’s just confuses me. I don’t care if gay people can marry- my ability to produce more of me doesn’t somehow make me a magical, sacred person capable of deep sorcery that my gay friends don’t have- it just makes me fertile, and I’m a lot more than that. My relationships, both romantic, platonic, meaningful and shallow, are all based on more than that.
In the end, marriage equality isn’t really just about kids, though that seems to be the way the debate is always framed. it’s also about legal protection, clarity and the reinforcement of the principle that it actually doesn’t matter what you choose to do with another consenting adult. The re appropriation of ‘gender equality’ for something that’s just reinforcing the very divisions we’re trying to remove is laughable, and David Quinn’s river of bile is probably the most rational, balanced thing ever posted to the Iona institutes website.
Niamh ‘did not get onto the rivers of bile list. devastated’ Keoghan
A rather upsetting trend I’ve noticed recently is that of popular mainstream feminist broadsheet columnists in the UK being total wankers on twitter when they are met with criticism. I mean, I rather like Caitlin Moran. I think her books are funny. I do honestly think that despite every silly, often ill- judged thing she’s said or crack she’s made, she is essentially well meaning. I’m not as familiar with Suzanne Moore, but I’d have given her the benefit of the doubt too. Problem is, these writers, when discussing gender, sexism or modern feminism, are often in for stiff criticism from the feminist blogging community. Most of the criticisms concern their treatment of race (i.e. Moran doesn’t discuss it at all) or pointing out unhelpful language in otherwise well meaning pieces (i.e. Moore’s now-infamous ‘Brazilian Transsexual quip), and it can admittedly get very intense- I can only imagine because most of the blogs written in response to Moore’s article are articulate, indignant and blisteringly intelligent.
If it had been me, I’d be sitting there going ‘Ooooo fuuuuuck, she’s right.’ because the criticisms are valid- don’t ostracize Trans women. Either we’re in it together or we’re not- there’s nothing nice in excluding anyone from the woman party. It’s really important to recognize that in the world, different women are treated badly for different reasons- because of race, class, age, nationality, sexuality or even their physical body (btw Moore, the status of a woman’s genitals is never ANYBODY’S business except her own). And all the current transphobic bullshit getting thrown around seems to boil down to ‘Stop giving out about this, we have BIGGER THINGS to worry about! Like the Daily Mail, and page 3!’ and this is exactly the thing women have been told all down the years when they complain about things that bother and oppress them. ‘Focus on the real problems, gawd.’
The backlash to Moore’s comment in her article was swift and sharp and at first, I went ‘really?’ I read the piece and the critique, and was like ‘all this for one throwaway comment that was a bit off colour? That seems extre- Ooooooh, the tweets..’ Yeah, Moore responded to sustained criticism by taking to twitter with some incredibly ill-advised comments about mutilated genitals and similar transphobic comments. It was hideous, unpleasant and unprofessional as a writer. And in the face of even more vitriolic criticism, she then left twitter altogether, while the British journo gang on twitter all mourned her departure and berated those who ‘bullied her off twitter’. That’s where I get a bit bothered.
People had every reason to call Moore out on such horrible language. It doesn’t matter if she’s nice in real life, and that she’s your mate- writers, recognize when you have inadvertently offended someone or been wrong. This has happened a few times- Caitlin Moran, who as I’ve said I enjoy a lot as a writer, said on twitter she ‘could not give less of a shit’ about non-white women when she was called out on her lack of comment of the issues of race surrounding feminism. It was so, so disappointing Moran was cool to me, she complimented my jumper and signed my book. I like how she describes things and her writing style is somewhat similar to mine. It was really disheartening to see a writer that has a lot of charisma and talent be so… childish about criticism.
And that’s what I’ve observed. A whole group of well meaning, right on, cool feminist columnists who will not ever take heed of criticism. Maybe they’re used to lots of ‘LOL, ur shit’ comments online, or maybe they’re jaded from years working in media, but it’s a killer blow to any writer- to think you’re above being called out on shit you get wrong, even if you’re doing it with a well meaning point, or for the LOLz like I usually am. Just because your friends all gather around to defend you, it rings hollow because you actually were really offensive and nasty to an already marginalized group. One of the most intelligent things I ever heard anyone say was when Caitlin Moran said ‘Always make sure you’re kicking up [When you write]. Get at David Cameron, don’t attack some schmoo in the back with a bad hat’. That’s the kind of philosophy I like in my comedy and in my writing. Kick up, at the elites and the movers and shakers and let them know when they’ve gone wrong.
When you attack trans people, you are pretty decidedly not kicking up. Some of the most liberal, right on, feminist, LGBT-allied people I know are still a bit… weird about the idea of trans people, and in the idea of reassignment surgery. Trans men and women have it unspeakably hard in a world where even the right on liberals are iffy about them. Trans people are still a cruel punchline in comedy in a way that is considered waaay more acceptable than gay people, or women. ‘Whoops! That bird you nearly scored is ACTUALLY a MAN! LOL!’ that’s bullshit and it’s not fair. But for the ‘Moore getting bullied off twitter’ narrative to hold, Julie Burchill had to cast Trans people as the elite, so that she could kick up. She criticized the ‘trans lobby’ for their perceived abuses and language, Comparing the word ‘Cis’- used to describe anyone who’s gender matches their physical sex- to ‘cyst’. Worth noting that ‘Cis’ actually derives from latin and also refers to men as well as women and has NEVER BEEN USED as a derogatory term. Unless you count ‘Cissie’, which you don’t, obvs.
Now, obviously I don’t know what it’s like to be under sustained criticism like that. I am a teeny tiny drop in the sea of internet blogs. I just faff on about whatever I feel like, I have no overreaching agenda or theme other than having ROFLs and the odd angry post about sexism, but at the end of the day, I am just being funny for an audience of friends and friends of my friends. In fact I do shy away from really getting into deep questions about gender and feminism simply because there are so many razor sharp, clever feminist bloggers who I fear will tear my shit up- it’s a very intense field of debate and I don’t think I have the moxie for it, tbh. I acknowledge my own privileges- I’m white, I’m cis, I’m heterosexual, I’m from a reasonably comfortable background.
Does this mean I’m ‘not allowed’ write about race, or the working class, or LGBT issues? I say heck no, I can write about what I want, but it does mean I have to make extra sure I have my facts straight- and accepting criticism when it’s needed. The only time this has happened really was when I made a quip about the ‘suicide clause’ that’s causing so much debate over the new abortion legislation. I posed the question of why a woman would fake suicidal thoughts when she could just GET THE BOAT TO LIVERPOOL (Embarrassing emphatic caps lock is my own) My friend Emma commented on that piece, explaining that not all women have the money or resources to travel for an abortion, and their desperation can’t be ignored. And I was very, very embarrassed that I could have made such an error in reasoning, admitted my flippancy and moved on. That’s what you do. You take it on board. If you’ve caused offence, you apologize. Don’t fight back, or be a wanker on twitter. Just say ‘my bad, I’ll try to be mindful of this in future’ and move on. Amend the piece if you can. But don’t start kicking down at those who you should be listening to.
Let this be my pledge. If I should ever, in the course of my writing, be a wanker about criticism, someone take me to the side and say ‘dude, not on. Stop being a wanker.’ Don’t let me stamp and shout and be a knob on twitter (I am always a knob on twitter, but I mean like, a proper offensive, mean spirited knob).
Niamh ‘Still likes How to be a woman even if it’s problematic’ Keoghan