I was idly looking at YouTube a couple of months ago and came across an example of true Eurovision gold: the complete programme of A Song For Eurotrash, from 1998.
One week before the UK hosted Eurovision for the first time since 1982, Channel Four decided to steal a march on the BBC and invite a lot of acts who could be (very) loosely termed “indie” (plus Bananarama, who re-formed especially for the programme) to cover their favourite Eurosongs.
Eurotrash was a natural partner for the project. Running from 1993 until 2007, it aimed to highlight the weird, wacky and wonderful from all over Europe. With copious amounts of nudity. It was hosted by the French actor, writer and film director Antoine de Caunes (sometimes assisted by Jean-Paul Gaultier), putting on a ridiculously exaggerated Peter Sellers-style accent and generally acting like a kerazee Frenchman. It was quintessential post-pub television.
For the Eurovision special, de Caunes was joined by veteran Eurovision hostess Katie Boyle (presumably his mother, the late Jacqueline Joubert, host in 1959 and 1961, was unavailable).
Perhaps understandably, the musical results were mixed. Edwyn Collins hams it up for a superb version of Ding Dinge Dong. St Etienne’s La La La is typically understated and ethereal, whilst Shane MacGowan’s What’s Another Year is predictably shambolic. More disappointing are Bananarama’s phoning-it-in version of Waterloo and Sinéad O’Connor and Terry Hall’s over-earnest All Kinds Of Everything. This writer’s personal favourite, however, is Kenickie’s beautifully bittersweet rendition of Save Your Kisses For Me (clip starts at 31:56), introduced by the band as “a strange and disturbing song with an even stranger and more disturbing dance”. Enjoy.[youtube id=”Q62ikoftghI” width=”600″ height=”350″]
The show also features interviews with Paul Oscar (Iceland 1997), Dschingis Khan (Germany 1979) and the ubiquitous Jahn Teigen. Oh, and a fair bit of nudity. Definitely worth an hour of your time.
Kenickie split up in October the same year, their last on-stage utterance being “We were Kenickie – a bunch of f**kwits”. Lead singer Lauren Laverne has since gone on to greater fame as a television presenter and radio DJ, notably using her XFM breakfast show in 2006 to launch a (clearly successful) campaign to get people to vote for Lordi’s Hard Rock Hallelujah. In another Euro-connection, one of Kenickie’s biggest fans now writes for a Eurovision betting website.
UPDATE: I tweeted this article to Lauren Laverne. Got back the following reply: “@scandieandy 🙂 I love Eurovision!”