Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Snarky American Reviews Random Eurovision Song Contest Losers: Cyprus, 1989

The existence of the Eurovision song contest has always fascinated me as both an American and a post-ironic hipster douche-cannon; this will be, I hope, the first in a long, long, perhaps endless series of retrospectives on the competition, with each post looking back at a randomly selected country's entry from a randomly selected year (sometimes the words I use for the retrospective will also be randomly selected, for example: plexiglass cell wall coda tacos tacos tacos nachos tacos" - from an upcoming look back at France's 1994 entry, "Je Suis Un Vrai Garçon" ("I am Steve Vai's garbage can").

For those not in the know, the Eurovision song contest is, per Dr. Samuel Johnson, "an annual competition held among active member countries of the European Broadcasting Union" in which each country submits one videotaped performance of an original song into the competition. Then, after all songs have been aired, delegates from each member nation cast votes for their top choices, and one nation is crowned European Song Contest champion. This has been going since 1956; past winners who have had their Eurovision submissions turn into huge success stories include ABBA, Celine Dion, and the Notorious B.I.G.

What follows is not one of those success stories.

The Background

This is Cyprus' European entry from 1989, entitled "Apopse As Vrethume" (not to be confused with the Of Montreal song of the same name (note to hipsters: I will be making this joke for every Eurovision song with a foreign-sounding title from now on)).

"Apopse As Vrethume" translates from Greek to "Let's Meet Tonight" but was recorded in English as "TONIGHT WILL LAST FOREVER." Just a suggestion to the Greek-English translator of this song: in English, sweet nothings tend to be much less romantic when TYPED IN ALL CAPS. Imagine, if you will, Greek translator, two Grecian lovers nestled together under a fig tree or in the shadows of the Coliseum or wherever Greek lovers tend to sit together, and in the perfect still silence of an Aegean sunset the Grecian man turns to his woman and yells at the top of his lungs "TONIGHT WILL LAST FOREVER"--only, he's not really yelling it, he is more just saying it, with emphasis on WILL, as though menacing the woman into accepting the eternity of the night.


I guess what I'm saying is, if a Grecian wants to gesture toward eternity, then a Grecian must urn it.


Though TONIGHT WILL LAST FOREVER, Apopse As Vrethume is only 3 minutes and 3 seconds, about 2:57 if you don't count the vaguely Indian drum solo over a picture of a beach that auteuristically takes over the first four seconds or so.

We come in with the Greek conductor, which reminds me:

Q: Why does a Grecian orchestra need a conductor?
A: To keep Demeter!

Anyway, we swoop-and-zoom in on the Grecian conductor, who was apparently drafted to accomplish the important and difficult task of conducting approximately two guitar players:

No wonder Greece is in debt. (Note: I know this is Cyprus. Calm down, I have a lot of Greece puns I want to use. I haven't even referenced Grease the musical or grease the lubricant).

The song begins. In case you were wondering what decade we were in, we cut to Greek songstress Fani Polymeri (which translates to English as "Ass Polymer") who not only could be a backup dancer in a Cyndi Lauper video, but is also wearing large earrings that appear to be made out of pigeon droppings:

I do feel bad for her, though, as her nickname at Cyprus High School was undoubtedly "Fani Forehead."

Next comes Fani Forehead's duet partner, the one and only  Cypriot idol, Yiannis Savvidakis (nee Joey Gladstone on Full House):

Before getting his break in Uncle Jesse and the Rippers, Dave Coulier
earned his stripes on Eurovision 1989.
Yiannis sings for a while in Greek while simultaneously trying to eat the microphone, and by the way the music is swelling, you can just tell that we're going to be at the chorus really, really fast--and hey, here we are! "Apopse As Vrethoume!" TONIGHT WE WILL MEET AT THE CHORUS LESS THAN FIFTEEN SECONDS AFTER THE FIRST LINE OF THE SONG.

For those wondering what the words actually mean, check this out. I was the 10th visitor EVER to this site, which is surprising since Dave Coulier had at least 8 Full House co-stars.

Now, I admit that I don't put much stock in transliteration, as it is nearly impossible to accurately represent another language with Roman letters (unless you use the Phonetic Alphabet, but really, who has time for that? With the little squiggles? Come on.) But I'll be damned if I wasn't more surprised than a Tolstoy fan reading his work chronologically who comes to the gap in his career and then picks up that first work following his conversion to radical Christianity. The lyrics:

"Ah, Pope, say, ah--serve to me!" TONIGHT'S EASTER MASS WILL LAST FOREVER. Also of note: on the zoom out, it becomes apparent that Fani Forehead and Uncle Joey are supposed to be a bride and a groom at a wedding (make a Big Fat Greek Wedding joke. I dare you.) and their backup singers are supposed to be...uh...the best man and two maids of honor who stand strangely far behind the newlyweds and stare at their buttocks:

More like WAY-backup singers, am I right, you guys?
Then for reasons that are still unclear to me (perhaps lost in translation?) Yiannis grinds up on Fani and starts to hump her backside:

"Now I know why they call you 'Ass Polymer'"
After this, things settle down and run smoothly. The string orchestra arrives, tripling the amount of instruments the conductor is responsible for ("I better be getting paid triple Cypriot pounds for this!"), Fani and Yiannis briefly hold hands without looking at each other, and the best man and two maids-of-honor remain fifty meters behind the betrothed, honoring both the sanctity of marriage and what I can only assume is a previously approved restraining order. And of course, at the end the midget from Twin Peaks emerges with fake glasses and a mustache:

The video cuts off here, but I can only assume he says something in reverse that is quite, quite cryptic--or should I say, Cypriotic?

...nope, it's cryptic. Cypriotic is not a word. MY ABILITY TO USE AN ONLINE DICTIONARY WILL LAST FOREVER.

Final Thoughts and Futuro-Visions

Well, Cyprus did not win with Apopse As Vrethoume, but it's not for lack of a saccharine earwig that will be stuck in head for days with no one to vent my frustration to. The song came in 11th place out of 22, doing the very small country of Cyprus quite proud in 1989. Fani Forehead and Cyprus-Dave Coulier could have had a little more on-stage chemistry--by which I mean Fani Forehead could have acted a bit less like she was at a school dance with Dave Coulier just so that she would have a date but afterwards she was planning on totally ditching him, but while they are there together she might as well let him dance with her a little bit and give her a peck on the cheek--and some of the singing was a bit rough at the beginning. Or maybe Cyprus-Dave Coulier should have been less forward in his romantic theatrics. You oughta know, Cyprus-Dave Coulier.

Yes, the night could have gotten better. But be proud of yourselves, guys! There's no need to sigh...


This has been a snarky American asshole's look back at Apopse As Vrethuoume, Cyprus' loser entry into the 1989 Eurovision competition. Come back next week for another random venture into the Eurovision loser vaults.

1 comment:

  1. Follow-up requested for Azerbaijan's 5th place 2010 Eurovision entry entitled
    Drip Drop - a poignant musical exposition on the aging prostate.