Saturday Night I Watched The Eurovision Song Contest, and I Knew I Was Home. (And Other News)

Part One
This weekend I settled down with some relatives to watch my very first Eurovision Song Contest in fifteen years. Would it live up to my memories? I wondered. Or has the Eurovision changed beyond recognition -- like Radio One and MTV, belonging to a new generation, the one about 10-20 years younger than me, now wearing leggings, ballet pumps, bat-wing tops, and mulletty hair-dos (just like *I* did, long ago...) But Eurovision did not disappoint. It is still as deliciously awful as ever, still an opportunity for superior Brits to chortle as each and every European country (and that includes Isreal, go figure!) entered their 'top' artists in a 'pop' contest.

Britain is still united this time of year, not because we are rooting as a nation for our entry to win (we came a resounding last, and no one cared) but because we come together in a collective sense of superiority -- a) we are a nation with a long history of producing good music, and so any sense of 'competition' is a farce, and b) we just adore watching as young hipster presenters from Turkey, Serbia, and Iceland butcher the English language with attempts to make the funny jokes and ha ha-s for de international audience. (Yep, the English is still the colonizing language, and don't you forget it!) It's especially funny when the French commentators come on, because they refuse to speak English, and so everyone gets confused when they pronouce 'huit point' for "Arr-may" and no one quite knows which country they are referring to (Armenian, fyi).

But mainly it's the acts. And this year did not fail to disappoint. As soon as I set eyes on the Russian performance 'I Believe' by Dima Bilan, it was clear we had a winner. It was not the overwrought lyrics and wild flayling of limbs in a white open shirt and bare chest that did it for me, nor was it the dramatically writhing solo violinist that accompanied the singer, though these were gifts enough. No. It was the ice-skating.

If you want to share in the whole experience, check it here. (If you want to skip to the good part -- John Denver on Skates -- then fast forward to about 2:30 minutes in)

Part Two (Yes, that's all very well, Joy, but, like WTF???!)

I know. I know. I won't pretend I've not been tempted to just put an 'On Indefinite Hiatus 'post up and give the blog an official breather, but I've never quite been able to do it. I know if I do that, there is a strong chance I'll not come back to it, and while I am not as sure about where blogging fits into my life as I did in those first breathless and excited years, I am not ready to give up on it yet. I've mentioned before, but one reason I find blogging very different right now is that since moving back to the UK I have skewed sense of audience and purpose.

I was chatting to my cousin about it this weekend (and how nice is it to be able to have a cousin over for a weekend) but it's really a simple fact that the context I once shared with other bloggers is not the same any more. The shift here is less about the move to England (though massive this is -- case in point, Eurovision Song contest post that will likely mean very little to you!) and more about the fact that I have so little spare time, and this means I can't read you all and engage in conversation (although I am seriously thrilled that my old partner in crime, Her Bad Mother, has pushed out that boy child, and in a jiffy too!) As I struggle to write a post now, I realise it's not that I don't have material (I have spades of it, obviously). It's because I feel like I am throwing stuff out there, but not really taking part in any sort of community activity (yes. I know that sounds hopelessly cheesy). I can't reciprocate, comment, react, or support any more -- or at least I can't to the same degree. I have very little clue what's going on with everyone, and BlogHer and other conferences last year suddenly seem a very long time ago. It's like looking back at a parallel version of myself.

oh GOD! How tedious and self-absorbed. Ennui...

So long story short, if I am going to keep up this blogging lark, I have to find a different sense of purpose and motivation. You lot are very motivating, but to reap the benefit of that motivation you need to be present, and I'm not and really can't be in the same way. So, will it become writing for writing's sake? What does blogging from this space really mean?

Part Three
We are still Bastard People, and buying a property in England is bastard hard-work. Many moons (but just two posts) ago I said we were likely buying a house. That likelihood has increased dramatically, and it looks like we're set to decamp from this mould-infested rental in a couple of weeks. This both pleases and grips me with stomach-twisting fear. Not ANOTHER move. Not another massive change, another school to settle Jack into. The whole process has been complicated horribly by the hoops we've had to go through with surveys and searches and reports, and the mad things that happen when many many parties miscommunicate with one another.

This rental might be mould-infested, but at least it feels relatively familiar now, and there's a Waitrose in walking distance.

I console myself with images of new fitted kitchens, restored fireplaces, and freshly painted Edwardian rooms. I try not to think about the 30 year dank decor that will greet us on arrival, smoke-stained and stinking of doggies, which we'll have to remove with steam and vigorous applications of chemicals and elbow grease. I tell myself that bashing down the 1970s tile that covers the fireplaces will be fun. The knocking down of the wall between kitchen and dining room, a gas. All sorts of dangerous things for Sam, our now 18 month old, encounter and likely eat.

But still, Spring has sprung in England, and we have become members of the National Trust. This means we have purchased sensible walking shoes and cagoules for the family so we can enjoy bracing and damp days out at Tatton and Lyme Park to name but a few. I'm learning to enjoy my family in a different way, and have never had so much fun at a wedding as I did a few weeks back when my little brother got hitched.

Life is definitely good, but it's also more different than I ever anticipated it would be.


AliBlahBlah said...

First of all welcome back!

Secondly, the Eurovision - sadly too late to tell you, but next year it makes the mother of all drinking games, everyone is allocated a country, and then if your country is given points you have to drink. If you get Sweden or Ireland you're in for a hard night!

For the sake of my health and my sanity it's probably a good thing I no longer live in the UK!

Bill Chapman said...

You mentioned languages. I cannot help thinking that it would be slightly better if each country’s competitor(s) sang in Esperanto.
Take a look at ttp://www.esperanto.net

Esperanto works! I’ve used it in speech and writing - and sung in it - in a dozen countries over recent years.

What do you think?

Mocha said...

Thank you for introducing me to the wonder of Eurovision. It's one more reason for me to be jealous of the Europeans.

I will always come back for the news, I don't care if it's just two posts ago either.

Almost American said...

Do keep blogging! I'm fascinated to hear of your experiences as a returning ex-pat. Maybe that will be me someday, though I doubt it. I've been away too long.

Miscellaneous-Mum said...


You say, "So, will it become writing for writing's sake? What does blogging from this space really mean?"

I seem to be in the minority, but I've never distiguished blogging as anything other than 'writing' as it stands anyway. So, to me, wherever you live, whatever your circumstances, it's your writing 'voice' and verve which brings me back and I daresay what brings everyone else back as well.

If your priorities in this respect have changed, I'd be interested to hear what they were to start with?

In sum: don't stop!

Rock the Cradle said...

I'm in a similar space with my blogging. I've deliberately tried to limit myself to posting every two weeks. And even with that restriction, I still find myself floundering around for some kind of focus. I'm lost in the blogosphere.

I'm hoping that after we move I'll find that ever elusive motivation.
Sounds like you've got a lot O life on your plate as well. Hard to find motivation for everything at once.
Especially if your going through (or contemplating) major changes.

Better to just watch Eurovision and blog as the spirit moves.

Anonymous said...

I believe the skater is Evgenii Pluschenko-- Russian Gold Medalist.

Antonia said...

Oh God I understand! All of it! Eurovision! Distance from other bloggers! John Denver on ice skates! Yes!

The bit I understand the most - and wondered if you were feeling - is the distance from that core network of brilliant American bloggers. I have always felt a million miles from it here: I love reading the blogs I do, but part of me is always too lazy to become part of an online community because I get all defeatist and think these people live 5000 miles away and it's not like I'll ever meet them.

(Obviously I proved myself wrong and met you at Blogher last year, and am jolly well going overdrawn and going again this year, but for 362 days of the year I maintain my staunch island mentality.)

It must be more tangible for you, having lived Over There and at least been on the same continent as most of your readers, then to come over here to this small wet place with Terry Wogan.

(Hello! Good evening and welcome to A Small Wet Place, with Terry Wogan.)

I'll go away now.

I'm glad you're back.

Anonymous said...

Last night I took one more step on the road to actually *being* you and went to a knitting group (stitches and hos) in Bham. I couldn't believe it when there were around thirty people sit tappety-tappety knitting in the pub! (Sadly as the Apprentice had been moved to Tuesday because of the godawful football I had to tape the apprentice on a v. poor quality VCR as there is no iPlayer chez Ele. As there is no internet.) ANYWAY back to you.

I'M glad your back, like everybody else who has commented, and all those who have read but not commented. As your blog exists in this wonderful cyberspace and so is not bound by the conventions of (boring) regular space dynamics could you use it to maintain existing connections/community with people from the existing audience-base and also gain the community aspect by beginning to integrate with new blogging communities in the UK?

That is after you've removed four layers of tobacco-stained wallpaper in each room and replaced them with neutral-tones-with-a-twist, whilst renovating fireplaces and flagstones and front doors. I geddit. It's all a bit much.

Mary G said...

I think is is fascinating to hear about where you are now -- yes, it's a different voice and yes it becomes harder and harder to 'keep up' but who said those were the rules, anyway.
I love what you write -- hope you keep it up! Even intermittently between moves.

Mimi said...

Hi Joy --
That sense of purpose: that's the key, huh? I don't think you're the only one to go through this, but I do think you've articulated it very well. It's nice to hear from you again, though ...

Peter Orvetti said...

We need a U.S. version of Eurovision where each state gets to submit a song. Of course, D.C. would probably not be allowed to play.

I used to read your blog quite a bit back when I was "daddyblogging" — it’s nice to see you are still writing!

freckletree. said...

Gingajoy! I saw your blog on The Blogess' roll and thought HEY THAT'S ME! My name is Joy. My hair is Ginga. Now your life is complete. You can check out the Yankee version of you at www.freckletree.com.

Yippeee! Gingajoy!

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Canadian Drugs said...

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