Welcome to the Wogandome

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The Independent Culture
The title of Top of the Pops Song for Europe Special (7pm BBC1) looks like a heinous category mistake. What has the glittering, evergreen charts programme got to do with a pap-fest like Eurovision? Well, ideally, pop is a quintessentially European, as well as British, thing. Germany is where the Beatles went to get good; Sweden gave us Abba; France gave us, ah, Vanessa Paradis...

So a sense of adventurous patriotism - Eurovision isn't about a Maastrichtian utopia, but a sublimation of war - still attends upon this first stage, where we get to vote on which of the eight songs presented here will go on to represent us in the Wogandome. Eight songs, eight bands - from crushingly inept teenage longhairs with guitars to a synthetic Abba-like troupe with smiles like Customs officials.

Cranium-torching horror strikes when Sam Fox appears. In a band called Sox. (Imagine, if you will, the tension in the boardroom while they were still considering the option of Fam.) This is a hateful, moronic confection of a song, if one can judge accurately by what comes out of her mouth. Can Sam Fox sing? Can the Pope surf?

Some of the other bands aren't bad at all - Londonbeat, especially, are far too ridiculously funky to be debasing themselves like this. But vote for them anyway. Vote for anyone except the chirpy blonde - the future of your country is at stake.

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