Something Else

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The Independent Culture
Post office driver Joseph Currie can remember when he fell in love with the Eurovision Song Contest. It was back in 1968. Spain won with their alingual entry, 'La, La, La' (138 'Las' in one song) and he was bowled over. 'I was struck by it straight away,' he says. 'And couldn't wait to see next year's contest.'

In 1987, Currie decided to share his knowledge with other Euro-pop fans and set up a magazine, Eurovision Network News. 800 fans now keep in touch through it, swapping videos, obtaining translations of their favourite entries and attending conventions. Last year, members held their own song contest, hosted by Katie Boyle, and voted for all the entries that never quite made it to the finals.

Eurovision is still highly popular, attracting 10m viewers last year, and has transformed performers into household names - Lulu, Sandie Shaw . . . As Currie points out, it's the only programme to feature European music. For some people, that's probably one too many. 'That's where the attitude is wrong,' argues Currie. 'You've got to respect each country for what they are. I would never say any song was total rubbish.' In fact, he feels every entrant has something to offer - particularly this year's German disco offering, 'We're Having A Party'. He concedes that the first ever Prussian song stands little chance of being a hit 'for the simple reason they haven't caught up with the West. They will eventually.'

For Currie, nothing can surpass Bucks Fizz's 1981 winner, 'Making Your Mind Up', on which he won pounds 400: 'I just had that gut feeling'. Those wishing to experience a variety of gut feelings can tune into BBC 1 on Saturday for three hours of Eurovision Song Contest.

Eurovision Network News (041-357 5291)

(Photograph omitted)

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