Finland rock the Eurovision
Whether it's Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät punk-rock band barrelling through the minor-key power chords of 'Aina Mun Pitää', the shortest song in the contest’s history, or Lordi’s 2006 contest winning 'Hard Rock Hallelujah', wearing masks and chanting the classic line of "Rock 'n' roll angels, bring thine hard rock hallelujah", Finland seem to do well at the Eurovision, it is literally anyone's contest to win. And that seems to bring out the wacky best in people, serving up plenty of hilarious stories.
Punk rock writer Roy D Hacksaw has been there to see many of the Eurovision highs and lows, cock ups and calamities, and has written a new and hilarious book, packed with them. Called 'Worst. Eurovision. Ever.' It follows the chaos of a show being held in Moldova with Norwegian black mentaller, Saudi princes and blokes dressed as dogs all vying for your attention. It'll keep you laughing at night and give you a real insight into the worlds biggest 'Battle of the bands'.
Worst. Eurovision. Ever. is available for pre-order now and the first copies come with a set of Eurovision Top Trumps for you to battle it out too!
Here's a handful of real-life tales from backstage at Eurovision that seem standard for this over-sized 'battle of the bands'...
* At the 2009 contest in Moscow, the delegation from Belarus delivered a pallet of ice cream and frozen desserts to the press hall every day in an attempt to sway favour for their song. For the first three or four days this was very well received, but before long everyone was sick of ice cream and the sweet confectionary just stood there melting in the sweltering heat.
* Other free gifts that the delegations have used to get friendly with the press include presentation boxes of vodka (Belarus again), knitted scarves (Greece), the obscure wind instrument the ocarina (Denmark), and a massive set of red binoculars that no one ever entirely understood why (Austria). On top of that there's been all kinds of clothing, fancy pens and the kind of weird branded stuff that you get in the gift shops of museums.
* Speaking of ocarinas, and Belarus again, the ocarina player for the first ever Belarussian entry in Istanbul in 2004 was hospitalised after falling backwards off the stage in the dark. More recently in 2017, the Czech singer Mikolas Josef also ended up in hospital after he jarred his back attempting to execute a somersault. (Something we've all done).
* In Jerusalem in 1999, our very own Roy D Hacksaw was followed around by a photographer the whole week who kept asking him to pose with lots of the female singers. It was only on the last day that he realised that he had been mistaken for the Portuguese singer that year, Rui Bandeira. So Roy grabbed the real Rui for a snap so that the photographer could finally realise the error of his ways. He looked terribly disappointed.
* Also in Jerusalem, the after party was advertised as having the world's biggest plate of hummus and the world's largest ever Ferrero Rocher tower. Neither were quite as big as you'd have hoped - but the hummus was damn nice!
* Pretty much every year, the Irish has-been Johnny Logan turns up and floats about slagging off modern day Eurovision to pretty much anyone who'll listen.
* In 2004, the Bosnian singer Deen took his two pet rabbits - Dolce and Gabbana - to all his press conferences.
Worst. Eurovision. Ever. is available for pre-order here.
Get the top trumps, or form a band, and see if you can do as well as Finland.
*Photos: Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät (top), Lordi (bottom).