The reason I’m posting this is not to show the feeble nature of my brain, nor demonstrate my old age. What I really want is to express the feeling that surfaced upon checking out all those Eurovision winners of yonder to conclude a simple truth: the world we live in today is a significantly different world to the one we lived in during the eighties.
It shows everywhere. It shows in the TV presentations of the Eurovision. I remember how they used to make a fuss over the Eurovision being broadcast simultaneously all over Europe using a satellite (wow #1: satellite!); I remember how they used to make international phone calls to communicate each country’s votes to the main venue (wow #2: international phone calls!). Yet I look at the videos and I can’t avoid thinking the whole thing’s crap: the dress-ups, the camera movements, the choreography. Even the venue they used for the Israeli hosted Eurovision turned out to be a disappointment: when I was a child this majestic “Halls of the Nation” shrine, as per its Hebrew name, turned out to be the place next to which I would catch a bus to my army base just a few years later (and another few years later a place where several terrorist bombings took place).
Most of all I remember the reverence with which the Eurovision was held in Israeli eyes at the time. It was important: it was our chance to feel like we’re just one of the many proper countries of the world; for a while we weren’t that small forsaken country known for its wars, we were European! We could even show them a thing or two on how to write a song from time to time! Looking at it now from an Australian perspective, the feeling was not too different to the way sports are regarded in Australia as a tool with which this small forsaken nation can show other countries (but mostly Britain) who can hurdle a ball better at some wooden stumps.
Disillusion came to Istael through technology. To me, personally, it came through my father’s business trips to New York: when this young boy joined him there I saw what the modern world really is like. I will never forget the eye opening kindness bestowed on me by New York. To the rest of us, technology was the great equalizer: flights became cheaper, international phone calls became cheaper, and the world in general became smaller. Small enough to render the Eurovision an eccentric’s joke in a world where millions of people can hold international video conference calls across the planet and never think twice of it.