Ding Dong - it's that time again

By Simon Round, May 18, 2011

Do you know who won the FA Cup and the Eurovision Song Contest last year? Without Googling?

Before you whip out your laptops, let me tell you that the victors were, in no particular order, Lena from Germany with Satellite and Chelsea, who beat Portsmouth 1-0.

There is no way that I would have been able to give you the Eurovision result without technical assistance and, to be honest, I had to think twice about the FA Cup result - and I'm a Chelsea fan.

Now ask me who won in 1978. Easy - Izhar Cohen triumphed for Israel with Abanibi, while Bobby Robson's Ipswich stunned Arsenal with a Roger Osborne goal. There was dancing in the streets of both Jerusalem and Suffolk at the conclusion of those events and all of us who watched them could tell you exactly where we were at the time … sitting in front of the telly.

It was the same the following year - Milk And Honey and Arsenal with Halleluyah and a late winner against Man United by Alan Sunderland - they all had perms. I remember it like it was yesterday.

She's back with another horrendous Euro song

I'm not at all nostalgic (well maybe a tiny bit). The FA Cup had magic for the fans then but to be honest only because it was one of about five games broadcast live on TV in the entire year. And likewise, the Eurovision Song Contest loomed large in our consciousness because there were only three TV channels to watch on a Saturday evening, one of which was showing Gardener's World.

However, the tension on those great Eurovision nights was real. I remember my dad almost weeping with joy when Israel won for the first time (although to be fair he also got a little emotional at the end of Kojak). And I, an adolescent fan of The Clash, The Jam and Elvis Costello, still feel a surge of pride whenever I hear the chorus of Save Your Kisses For Me.

The last time I remember watching Eurovision with that kind of enthusiasm was in 1998 when Dana International proved that you could be victorious in Eurovision even if you came from a small and unpopular country and were not the same gender as when you were born. It was a great moment for Zionists, for liberals and for lovers of bad music everywhere.

Tragically, since then, Eastern Europe has embraced democracy which means the entire continent thinks it should take part. So we have to sit through the Albanian, Armenian and Azerberjaini entries - and that's just those beginning with A.

Perhaps this year I will summon up the interest to enter into the fun again. After all, Dana International is back with another horrendous song with a classic Eurovision title - Ding Dong. And there's some Jewish interest in the British entry with Anthony Costa of Blue, the formerly chart-topping band which has taken the career-ending decision to finish last in this year's competition.

It promises to be an interesting evening and I might just tune in for a glimpse of the result – once I've finished catching up with Gardeners World on the iPlayer, that is.

Last updated: 10:03am, May 18 2011