The secret history of Eurovision

Last night the Eurovision Song Contest made its yearly onslaught on our ears, with Twitter and Facebook providing up-to-date information about the questionable tastes of friends and old acquaintances. It all starts innocently with an ironic post or two, but 20 posts later too many good people had destroyed their hard-earned credibility by providing their own blow-by-blow accounts of the action to the denizens of the social web.

I was surprised that no one mentioned the Eurovision’s shady origins in the smoky clubs of Cold War cabals in Switzerland and Monico. As the countries of Europe rebuilt themselves after WWII, and the rock-n-roll spectre of the sixies loomed large ahead, heralded by harbingers of pelvic gyration, there were forces working tirelessly to foster the creation of a new superstate.

As would be expected at this high level of intrigue, nothing was left to chance. A two-pronged strategy was made, with parallel plans put into action. Should one fail, the other would succeed. Plan A was to bind Europe together through the commerce of heavy industry. Initially dealing in coal and steel, commie arch-villian Mr. Spaak had bigger ambitions, establishing the international “Euratom” group to seize control of the continent’s atomic energy facilities. Operating from Val-Duchess castle in Belgium, Euratom covertly incited the Suez Crisis in 1956, ruthlessly exposing Europe’s energy vulnerability, and permitting Spaak to trounce French political opposition and force the hands of all the large economies as they signed his “Treaty of Rome“, nailing their future hopes to the mast of his supranational country-flotilla – the “EEC”.

But Spaak had taken his eye off a young, musically inclined, former acolyte named Bezençon. The Swiss Bezençon had long lobbied his former master to adopt a different strategy – his Plan B. Seizing control of the continent’s energy was all well and good, he argued, but he had a plan that would use the new “television” technology as a tool of mass-hypnosis (code-named “The Eurovision”), simultaneously enslaving the workers of the entire continent. Spaak’s disappointment at the young Bezençon’s camply villainous plot could not be contained, and the pair fell out during a new year’s gala ball in Castle Val-Duchess in 1955. Bezençon vowed to eclipse his old master’s plan with his own, quickly inaugurating a secret committee called EBU in an exclusive Monaco club in January 1955. His ideas proved popular, earning him a devoted coterie, who he put to work infiltrating national broadcasting companies. In 1956 he launched his first attack, simultaneously broadcasting hypnotic camp glittery garish spandex-clad songs to seven countries from his alpine hideout of Lugano in Switzerland (this scenario later inspired the dramatized James Bond documentary, “On her Majesty’s Secret Service”).

Thenceforth, year after year he built up EBU’s capacity and range, expanding it to include over 200 corrupted broadcasting companies.
The animosity between Bezençon and Spaak did not last. Vindicated by the demonstrable power of his plan, Bezençon reconciled and joined forced with Spaak in the mid-sixties. At this point, the EEC was aiming for expansion and was quickly becoming a vast industrial complex, with EBU’s Eurovision a key tool for the mass retraining of hundreds of millions of new citizens in macropatriotism.

In 1961, the German Democratic Republic began the construction of the Berlin wall just three months after the annual Eurovision broadcast. This was in an attempt to counteract the powerful effects of its macropatriotic message, which was leaking across national borders and causing a significant involuntary exodus of hip-minded educated youngsters to West Germany. In perhaps the USSR’s last parting blow, the 1991 fall of the Berlin wall and the subsequent collapse of the state resulted a great many small and untrendy countries absorbing the majority of the so-called “Eurovision effect”, diluting its power elsewhere, and causing a cultural backwash of spandex and glam, the effects of which are still strongly evident.

In this modern age of internet communication, it is unfortunate that the social media wonders of Twitter and Facebook, elsewhere empowering revolutions against despots, in Europe serve merely to reinforce the aged camp faux-patriotic message of some 1950 hypno-villians.

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