I spent the greater part of yesterday working on the garden – cutting the grass, cutting the hedge, chopping back all the dandelions that had taken over the area under the old apple tree, and doing six loads of washing in-between.
We acquired the hedge trimmer from the lady that used to live next door – it wasn’t until I came to use it that I realised she had half-cut the power-cable. I finally made it to the local electrical store yesterday and bought the fittings to repair the cable (it now has a wonderful plug a little way along the power cable which actually makes it easier to put away).
Here’s the thing about hedge trimmers – you need shoulders like He-Man to use them for more than an hour or so. At one point while decimating the 6ft hedge that lines either side of our driveway I stopped for a break, and laughed at my own inability to hold a glass of water. Our middle girl noticed, and asked what was wrong with me.
“Lactic acid – that’s what’s wrong with me”.
After finishing working on the garden, we all gathered to make dinner together – a quorn curry with rice – and then collapsed on the sofa with snacks and drinks in time for the Eurovision Song Contest.
For those of you reading this on the other side of the world with little or no knowledge of the Eurovision Song Contest, it’s an annual “spectacle” in Europe where multiple countries send acts to perform, and each country votes at the end on their favourite acts. Years ago the voting was done purely by juries, so was rife with political and prejudicial voting – this has been turned on it’s head by the internet – with the people now able to vote too, which often turns the jury votes on their head.
The one thing that saddens me about the Eurovision Song Contest is that a lot of the performers are becoming very mainstream – years ago the songs and music would reflect the culture of each country – now it’s become a succession of cookie-cutter chart music tracks. Not always though – and the more strange or nutty the performers, the more chance they have that I will vote for them.
Several years ago a band from Moldova performed with massive pointy hats, with fairies unicycling around the stage to heavy rock music – you can find them on YouTube – they were brilliant. A few years later a thrash metal band called Lordi swept the board with a track called “Hard Rock Halleluja”. Last night I voted for Australia – who suspended three singers on huge poles above the stage, singing quite the most bizarre song you’ve ever heard about being weightless or something – we were laughing too much to really take it all in.
The one huge downer of the night was Madonna. Inbetween the acts performing, and the voting starting, a guest performance typically happens – and last night Madonna appeared, apparently to help sell her new album. She was DREADFUL. Back in the 1990s I was a huge Madonna fan – I had the picture disc of “Rain” in a frame on my bedroom wall at one point. I’ve never heard anybody sound as flat, or out-of-tune in my life. Actually – that’s a lie – our kids were playing “Singstar” on the Wii on Friday evening, and it was almost as bad as Madonna.
Anyway. While watching Eurovision there’s a slightly odd tradition that we use Facebook to comment on each of the acts appearing – and while ourselves and one or two friends did just that, it never really took off – mostly because three quarters of the entire town had gone to the big park to watch the Kaiser Chiefs, and Scouting for Girls.
For the last couple of years a celebrity chef that owns half the pubs in town has run an event in the big park on the river called “Pub in the Park”. He invites various restaurants to attend with their chefs, and people can go along to watch cooking demonstrations and sample the food – all while drinking continuously and watching various bands play. Last night the Kaiser Chiefs, and Scouting for Girls both played.
There’s always been something about Pub in the Park that annoys me. I’m not sure if it’s the ticket prices (it’s expensive to get in), or that the samples of food are expensive, that the drinks are expensive, or that the entire operation has become a money-making sausage machine. Not long after the event last year the team behind it rolled the same model out to multiple other towns around the country.
Maybe my misgivings are really rooted in the elitist thing that is rampant in this town. This morning Facebook is obviously filled with photos and movies of the various exhibitions and performances going on – and I noticed something. The crowd – almost without exception is white, and well off. I ended up looking at several different people’s photos – wondering if Facebook was just doing it’s thing, where it only shows you things that match your own circle of friends and acquaintances – but no. When you looked at the crowd, they were 99.9% white, and wealthy.
Anyway. Enough soap box philosophering for one day. I know some people will laugh and say “here he goes again – with that chip on his shoulder, and the inverted snobbery”. The same people that seem to change their tune though, when their children grown up and can’t afford to live within 20 miles of where their parents live.
Today I’m having a quiet day. A day of blogging, reading, liking, commenting, eating cheese and pickle sandwiches, drinking tea, and wondering how long it will be until the kids say “I’m hungry”…