"Rybak was European youth incarnate" - Anthony Lane om Eurovision i Oslo

Jeg vet ikke om The New Yorkers filmanmelder Anthony Lane har noen som helst tegnbegrensning fra sin arbeidsgivers side, eller om han bare ignorerer dem han fr. Han er en mann av mange ord. Det er ikke nok for Lane fortelle deg at "The Revenge of the Sith" er drlig, han m bruke tre sider og tyve blomstrende allusjoner for fortelle deg akkurat hvor drlig den er. I mai tok The New Yorkers mest frydefullt infame slakter turen til Oslo for se Eurovision Song Contest. Det er naturligvis rtt parti i den grad at det gr noe utover kvaliteten i teksten - Lane er skarpere og bedre nr han finner feil ved det i utgangspunktet sobre og serise - men det er ikke hver dag en fr se Telenor Arena sett gjennom den fryktede Lane-linsen.

Artikkelen i sin helhet kan kun leses av abonnenter p den elektroniske eller papirutgaven, men her er noen utdrag:

  • The darling of Moscow, in 2009, had been a lad named Alexander Rybak, representing Norway, who played a fiddle, badly but furiously, and sang a jaunty, content-free composition entitled "Fairytale". He resembled the smooth-cheeked Brad Pitt, gliding backwards through pubescence, in "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button", and that probably helped.
  • Rybak was European youth incarnate, which may be why he helped Norway to earn the highest score in Eurovision history; and that, in turn, is why, a year later, we found ourselves in a humongous, mesh-covered gray pod called the Telenor Arena, in the western outskirts of Oslo, already musing on the future.
  • Eurovision loyalty does not come cheap. On top of travel and hotel costs, a ticket for this year's final cost as much as sixteen hundred kroner, or two hundred and fifty dollars, and that's if you can lay your hands on one. Being a member of the press was no help, and I resorted to putting up a begging notice. Half a day later, my cell phone rang. "Hello, this is Tony, from Norway", a voice said. Tony explained that he had a spare ticket, and I asked where he had got it. "Well", he said, sounding bright and excited, "I had two, but my wife died, and now I have one free!"
  • The language of lyrics is, in short, a booby trap, and there are three well-established methods for avoiding it. One is being France, whose performers, as you would hope, grind away in French, year after year, giving only the barest hint that other languages, let alone other civilizations, even exist; their man in Oslo, Jessy Matador (possibly not his real name), delivered a song called "Allez Olla Ol", which is as close as France will ever come to hedging its bets.
  • The second method is to be Ireland, the nation that has won the contest more often than any other. Seven times it has struck gold, and no wonder; if you can sing in English without actually being English - all the technical advantage without the imperialist baggage - you're halfway to the podium already.
  • The third method, which is by far the most popular, and which has brought mirthful pleasure to millions on an annual basis, is to sing in Eurovision English: an exquisite tongue, spoken nowhere else, which raises the poetry of heartfelt but absolute nonsense to a level of which Lewis Carroll could only have dreamed.
  • By and large, philologists date the golden age of gibberish from the collapse of the Communist bloc. This brought a surge of fresh, unjaded contestants into the fray, hitherto unexposed to the watching world and avid to make their mark (...) I tried to interview Alyosha, who was in Oslo to sing "Sweet People", for Ukraine, and hit a wall. She could learn English phonetically, and howl it convincingly into a wind machine, bu speaking it one-on-one was another matter.
  • The warming up did not end there. A bustling presenter from Norwegian tv, Anne Lindmo, marched on and told us how to behave when the broadcast began. "Are you ready to share the moment?", she asked, deftly wielding the chosen catchphrase of Eurovision 2010. "There are some people in the first row who are about to burst", she said. "They are actually cracking". Lindmo was in even spunkier form during the second semifinal, when she warned us of the camera bow that would swing low, inches above our heads. "This big motherfucker is dangerous", she said, showing a command of English more decisive than anything the contestants could muster. If I didn't know better, I'd say that she'd had a slug of akevitt backstage.
  • Two nights earlier, I had dropped into a club, in Rosenkrantzgate, in downtown Oslo, for the party that followed the second semifinal. Rumors were swirling that some of the singers might be there, but there was no sight of them. Whether or not the club was usually a gay establishment, it had certainly become one for the occasion. There must have been three hundred Eurovisioners present, plus four women, one of whom leaned against the bar, swigging from a bottle of pear cider. I asked where she was from. "Finland", she said. I launched into a stream of commiseration, expressing my regret that the Finnish entrants had been expelled so prematurely from the contest, taking their squeezebox with them. The lonely drinker looked blank. "Eurovision", I explained. She hadn't known it was happening in the city that weekend. "So why are you here? What do you do?", I asked. She drew herself up like a duchess and declared: "I am prostitute".

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35, Oslo

Inger Merete Hobbelstad (f. 1980) er kulturjournalist, teateranmelder og filmanmelder i Dagbladet og burde egentlig vre lut lei av skrive etter endt arbeidsdag. Men den gang ei. Jo, og s har jeg mastergrad i Litteraturvitenskap med en oppgave som handlet om Homers "Iliaden". Hvilket jeg altfor sjelden fr sprsml om. Og s ns jeg p imh@dagbladet.no.