Eurovision 2019 – All the Songs

One of the benefits to running your own business from home is that this year I’ve had time to listen to all the Eurovision entries before the big night.

Three times.

Of course, I didn’t just stop there – I ranked them all as well from worst to best. The first time, I just listened to them, the second time, I watched the videos.

Then I watched the videos all over again just to make sure I had them in the right order (I didn’t).

So, buckle up kids, we’ve got 41 songs to get through – complete with my comments. Obviously, this is just my opinion, so it is 100% completely correct.

41. Slovenia – Sebi by Zala Kralj & Gašper Šantl

On first listen: Accidentally watched the video of this first and I can’t say I particularly want to sit through it again. It’s quite a gloomy quiet song, really not for me at all.

During the video: She’s moping about in the video, it’s not a very energetic performance, although granted that would be difficult with this song. I don’t know what they can do to make this any more interesting on stage.

40. Albania – Ktheju tokës by Jonida Maliqi

On first listen: This song reminds me of something, but I can’t think what. The singer has a dramatic tone to her voice, but it all feels a bit urgent, I’m struggling to relax while listening to it. And I’ve just noticed some yodeling. It’s not the worst song, that’s probably about the best thing I can say about it. I’m sort of glad it’s over.

During the video: Probably just me, but I think she looks a bit like Sandra Bullock. I think this song thinks it’s more important than it really is. If it rains on stage and she’s wearing that skin coloured dress, she could pick up a couple of extra points.

39. Iceland – Hatrið mun sigra by Hatari

On first listen: It took me ages to find that funny little ð so this better be worth it. And instantly, it’s not. If you thought Lordi were heavy rock, then this lot are Lordi’s heavier older brother. Please don’t make me listen to this again.

During the video: He looks like a kid having a strop. Honestly, his parents ought to keep him home from Eurovision and do us all a favour. On the third listen this started to grow on me, but still…

38. Georgia – Keep on Going by Oto Nemsadze

On first listen: It feels like a funeral march. I don’t know what he’s singing about, but it’s very moody. Because it’s not in English and it’s slow, it’s sort of lost me. I don’t understand the language and I can’t sing along with the sounds like I can with some of the others

During the video: The video at least matches the song. It’s black and white and a bit moody. In fact it’s more than moody, it’s downright depressing. At a guess, I’d say it’s a song about war/refugees. I guess the end is uplifting. It’s definitely song with a message, but not for me.

37. Serbia – Kruna by Nevena Božović

On first listen: Starts with strings, a sound we don’t hear much. The singer is quite breathy, and not in English. It’s slow, so it feels like there’s not going to be anything catchy. Hang on, she’s just flipped to English. But not for long. It’s not holding my attention.

During the video: I got all the way to the end of the video before realising I was watching Slovenia’s not Serbia’s, which probably says a lot about both of them. There is probably more to work with here, but not much.

36. Portugal – Telemóveis by Conan Osiris

On first listen: Ok, this is a good start. It’s not in English, but it has sounds I can emulate, and interesting music. Although, it’s already feeling a bit eclectic, almost as if it doesn’t know what sort of song it wants to be.

During the video: This is a selections performance, rather than a video, which I like because it gives you a clue what it might be like during the finals. This guy has a style that is as eclectic as the song. He’s dressed in feathers, and he’s got a topless friend dressed the same way. The dance is distracting but the audience don’t seem overly enamoured with it.

35. Germany – Sister by S!sters

On first lesson: The singers are quite nasal in parts and as ballads go it seems pretty unmemorable. I like the slightly quicker moments during the song, but when they start chanting ‘Sister’ it feels a bit durge-y.

During the video: Well, they don’t look like sisters, and I don’t think they really have a connection. They’re both a bit shout-y. It’s like something you’d have seen on Glee 15 episodes into series 5 when everyone was getting a bit tired. Not a fan, but again, it grew on me during the third run-through.

34. Belarus – Like it by ZENA

On first lesson: It starts off immediately more interesting than some of the others. The music feels quite Eurovision-y. It’s dance-y and does at least allow you to sing along to it, but it goes on slightly too long for my taste.

During the video: This isn’t a produced video, but the performance from the Belarussian selection show. It’s slightly easier to judge these songs, and unfortunately, I don’t think she’s got any stage presence. She’s ok, not terrible, but I think both her and the song are too forgettable.

33. Austria – Limits by PÆNDA

On first listen: Another high pitched female. It seems like it’s going to be quite a ballad-y year. This is fairly nondescript. There’s not a lot to interest me here.

During the video: The video is about as interesting as the song. It’s all quite bland. I don’t think it will do very well, which means it will probably win. Having said that, it grew on me again during the third viewing

32. Hungary – Az én apám by Joci Pápai

On first listen: At first, this appears to be like many of the others, a bloke singing a ballad. It doesn’t just feel like this is in a different language, it sounds like it’s being played backwards, but it makes for an interesting sound. The whistling interlude is new and breaks it up a bit. I don’t think this song is going to take off with a Westlife-style key change, step off the stools moment, but with so many of those moments in the other songs, that might help set it apart.

During the video: We’ve got another one who doesn’t like to open his eyes while he sings. But worse than that, he’s got a topa-knot. And a guitar. Christ.

31. Australia – Zero Gravity by Kate Miller-Heidke

On first listen: I can’t work this song out, it feels a bit too experimental for my liking. I’m not sure who they’re trying to target with this song. Oh, wow, a disco beat has just dropped in. That’s quite a change in tempo – could lead to an interesting visual. But after about thirty seconds of that, it’s back to the linnet-bird style of the beginning. And now opera. This is definitely too messy, I’m just waiting for it to finish now.

During the video: She looks like someone turned Princess Elsa into one of those dolls they put over toilet rolls. I liked the woman on the stick bouncing around in the background, but I was sort of waiting for her to smack Elsa in the mouth to shut her up. We should beat this.

30. Poland – Fire of Love (Pali się) by Tulia

On first listen: This has a unique sound – at least compared to the others, which could be an advantage, though it seems fairly linear. There’s no ebb or flow in it yet. What you get at the beginning is just kind of there for the rest of the song. It lost me mid-way, I got bored of it.

During the video: We’ve got a black and whie video with women carrying shoes and a man at a garage having a fag. This video isn’t really revealing to me anything about the song. It feels a bit obscure.

29. Israel – Home by Kobi Marimi

On first listen: From the start this song felt like it had a bit of an Irish feel to it – it took me a moment to realise why, but then I realised I could picture it being played atop a montage in Lord of the Rings. I suppose comparisons to Enya aren’t necessarily a bad thing. Marimi’s vocals are good, but I feel the choir and backing track threaten to overwhelm him from about a third of the way into the track

During the video: With the right emotion and the right staging this could do quite well, but I don’t think Marimi brings it in the video. I’m not sure what I’m supposed to feel, and so the song doesn’t really connect with me.

28. Montenegro – Heaven by D mol

On first listen: This might be the first act I’ve listened to this year which isn’t exclusively one gender or the other. That could help their perofrmance on the night, although the transition into an Irish style of music doesn’t work for me. It picks up towards the end. It’s another one that’s OK. Nothing special.

During the video: Oh, there’s four of them! I didn’t get that from the song. Even they seem surprised by the Irish music. Actually, there’s five of them! No… six. They’ve all found theIrishman and are now singing at him on the beach. I didn’t really pay attention to the video, I was too busy counting. I stand by my OK.

27. Estonia – Storm by Victor Crone

On first listen: He’s got a guitar. I can tell without even looking – I’m getting singer/songwriter vibes. The world doesn’t need another Ed Sheeran. Oh, it’s called Storm? Copy-cat. It’s ok. Enough to make me tap my foot, but I’ve already forgotten it and I’m still listening. That could be said about a lot of the songs this year, though.

During the video: He did have a guitar! But then it disappeared in some clever camera trickery. I can’t tell if this is an actual recorded performance, or the proper music video. Either way, it hints at what’s to come on the night, they might have some ambition for the staging that could lift it above average.

26. Romania – On a Sunday by Ester Peony

On first listen: A dramatic start, almost like a horror movie – but that could just be the video. The music falters to begin with, which is odd. The lyrics are simple and clear, the structure of the song seemingly obvious. It’s ok, bit dull for me.

During the video: A dramatic start, almost like a horror movie – but that could just be the video. The music falters to begin with, which is odd. The lyrics are simple and clear, the structure of the song seemingly obvious. It’s ok, bit dull for me.

25. Greece – Better Love by Katerine Duska

On first listen: The Greeks have come along to prove that just because an act sings in English, it’s no guarantee I will have a clue what’s going on. It’s a little bit catchy, but it’s mostly warbly.

During the video: If I was hoping the video would give me any clue what was happening, then I’m disappointed. They’ve definitely gone for theatre with this one, but it might be just a little bit too avant garde for most people. The song is similar to a lot of others this year. It seems to be the year of the ballad.

24. Moldova – Stay by Anna Odobescu

On first listen: She sounds like Claire from Steps. That’s a good thing. She’ll stand out for being a female doing a ballad among a sea of men doing ballads. But like the others they’ve not been able to resist dropping a beat in for the middle third. It’s another one that feels like it goes on a minute too long, though.

During the video: This could almost be a Steps video . It looks like clips from a trashy daytime soap opera, and who doesn’t want melodrama with their Eurovision? She doesn’t move an awful lot so itwill be interestin what they choose to do on the night. It’ll probably involve fake rain of some sort.

23. Sweden – Too Late for Love by John Lundvik

On first listen: This guy wrote our song and the Swedish normally do quite well, so I’m interested. It’s straight into the vocals, I wonder if we’ve missed a bit. This is firmly in the style of bloke singing a ballad. I’m a bit disapointed by it, I mean it’s not terrible, but I don’t think it’s up to Sweden’s standards. You can tell he wrote ours. They’re not massively different.

During the video: This is a live performance rather than a video so again, a bit of a clue a to how he might perform on the night. There’s some good camera work which makes it feel slightly more dramatic than it is and he moves a bit more than I’ve seen Michael move when he performs, although he is still doing it on the spot. It’s a little bit catchy, but not a lot.

22. Russia – Scream by Sergey Lazarev

On first listen: A song from Russia called Scream makes me nervous, but it starts quite calm, although the drama is quickly starting to build. Having said that, it’s not holding my attention. It feels like the song you get at the beginning of the second act of a musical, the sort of song that eases everyone back in, but nobody would miss.

During the video: Worth pointing out this is yet another single white male singing an ballad. There’s a story unfolding around this guy in the video, but again, he’s not doing much apart from waving his arms around.

21. Lithuania – Run with the Lions by Jurij Veklenko

On first listen: When I saw the title of this song, for some reason I had bigger expectations of this song. It’s not what I thought it would be. I was expecting something a bit more energetic. It’s ok, but it doesn’t really go anywhere and am a little bit disappointed.

During the video: He’s quite a handsome chap – but honestly, do we need any more single white males on this stage? Perhaps my fatigue of this kind of singer is colouring it for me, but it’s nothing special. I think it’ll make it to the finals, but if it doesn’t, I don’t think it will be missed.

20. Malta – Chameleon by Michaela

On first listen: This song that feels like it’s stuck in second gear. It’s not a slow song by any means but it doesn’t ever kick in. It’s growing on me the more it goes on, but it’s definitely a middle-of-the-pack. It sounds a bit like an Ava Max reject.

During the video: She looks like Avril Lavigne – perhaps she’s one of her stand-ins. The words are coming up on the screen in case we’re having trouble understanding her. This means I’m reading the words rather than looking at the performance which seems to be not a lot going on in artistic backgrounds. It is definitely growing on me, but I think the verses are weak.

19. United Kingdom – Bigger Than Us by Michael Rice

On first listen: The only song that I wasn’t listening to for the first time, so it makes it a bit harder to judge in comparison to the others. Rice’s vocals are a bit like Israel’s at the beginning where they dominate the music, but then the chorus comes in and the music takes over. It’s a fairly typical British song. It feels like a sequel to Storm – which I loved. I like this too, but it doesn’t deserve to do better than Surie.

During the video: Michael overperforms this too much for my liking, the lip wobbles and air-grabbing are a bit too much. It’s a nice story, I guess, but it won’t play out too easily on stage, unless they try some sort of interpretive dance like Ireland did last year, but really, I don’t see what they can do apart from have a few flashing lights and a smoke machine.

18. Croatia – The Dream by Roko

On first listen: Shades of Conchita from the beginning – this time in the sound of their voice. It’s a promising start. Oh, wow, the shades are getting shadier, it’s quite like a lot of other ballads.

During the video: He looks like Belgium’s older brother. And he plays his own piano, but the problem with that is he doesn’t open his eyes while he’s playing or singing. It’s an ok song, but I don’t think he’s that charismatic.

17. Latvia – That Night by Carousel

On first listen: Instant thought is that this is a husky version of Amy McDonald. The lyrics are predictable, but that’s no bad thing, it means I’m singing along in less than a minute, which is what you need from a Eurovision song. A lot of the voters will only be hearing the song for the first time on the night. It doesn’t go anywhere, but it’s inoffensive, likely to be forgotten

During the video: It looks like she’s performing on last year’s Eurovision set. The performance is understated (they’ve even coloured it in black and white) so could stand out for its sheer simplicity on the night, but I fear for them that the song isn’t special enough for that.

16. Finland – Look Away by Darude feat. Sebastian Rejman

On first listen: The most famous (slash only) Darude song I know, isn’t actually a song. From memory, Sandstorm doesn’t have any lyrics, so I haven’t really got anything to compare this to. BUT it does have a Darude feel to the music. The vocal seems a bit weak, but it has echoes of BrightLight BrightLight about it, who I like. This could get in my head. (Pun intended).

During the video: This guy doesn’t really match his voice, but I like the look he’s going for. I’m not entirely sure if Darude is actually doing anything back there, but it’s good to see him, or it was until they turned him around and replaced him with a floating green woman. A nice bit of theatre, coupled with the fact I imagine this will be played all over Europe, this could do well.

15. France – Roi by Bilal Hassani

On first listen: There are some good hooks in this song. Some of the more memorable moments come toward the end of the song which will help – if people haven’t left the room during the beginning. Seems like standard Eurovision fare.

During the video: There are some good hooks in this song. Some of the more memorable moments come toward the end of the song which will help – if people haven’t left the room durin the beginning. Seems like standard Eurovision fare.

14. Italy – Soldi by Mahmood

On first listen: The first song I listened to where it was completely non-English, but that’s ok, I liked it from the beginning, possibly because it wasn’t a ballad. It feels quite dance-y and I can see this one going off on the night with the crowd. As a non-Italian speaker, there are no hooks for me to grab onto though, so not sure it will stick in my head. There are parts of it that made me think of Holly Valance and Kiss-Kiss

During the video: I still like it, but the video doesn’t give the vibe I was expecting. I thought they were going for a Fuego-style song, but Mahmood barely moves in this video, in fact for much of it, he just stands there looking moody as if you’ve criticised the painting and decorating you asked him to do on your kitchen. If that vibe translates to the final performance, I don’t think this will do very well on the night.

13. San Marino – Say Na Na Na by Serhat

On first listen: As the name suggests, this is quite dance-y. At this stage I’m grateful that it’s not another ballad. The male singer of this sounds a bit creepy, but they’ve got a hook, even if it does remind me of Fat Les and his Vindaloo. I don’t think he was the right person to sing this song, probably needed a woman’s voice. I am enjoying it, though.

During the video: He looks as I sort of expected. There’s a club setting and he looks slightly too old to be there, chatting up people ten years younger than him, which is fine, do what you like, but it’s not endearing. A lot of dancing in this video which can’t be replicated on the night with just six people on stage. This is one of those songs that gets better the second time you hear it. Weird little girl at the end.

12. Denmark – Love is Forever by Leonora

On first listen: Plinky plonky music to begin with. This has shades of Lily Allen circa 2001 – and that girl that had flowers in her hair. It’s a good example of that kind of music and it’s been long enough that it might feel fresh again. Ah, Eliza Dolittle is the other one she reminds me of. It’s going on a bit too long for my liking. The twee-ness of it outstays its welcome.

During the video: She looks like Lily James. If Lily James was a waitress. I like the giant chair she’s sitting on – it adds to the twee-ness, but it works. As do the two that join her with their ladders towards the end. It’s differen enough from the others so far.

11. Armenia – Walking Out by Srbuk

On first listen: This comes for you right from the beginning, it reminds me a bit of The Saturdays, but she loses that as the song goes on and she breaks into a bit of a Celine Dion impression. Mashed together two quite different styles, but it works for me, I think. At least it does for the first 2 minutes. The third minute completly breaks the style. Too unpredictable to dance to. I think this could be a bit too messy

During the video: This girl’s got attitude, and she’s got topless dancers in blazers which works for me. This works better with a visual and I quite like it second time around. There’s still that weird break in it though, which sort of breaks the momentum, but it does just about bring it back.

10. Spain – La Venda by Miki

On first listen: This had a dramatic start, but then seemed to introduce a banjo out of nowhere. Like Italy before it, it’s competely non-English and a bit dance-y – there are some hooks that I can get on board with though, so it will stay in my head a bit longer.

During the video: I was singing and dancing along on the second time round. This is infectious to me, it’s fun, and could potentially have everyone up and dancing on the night. The success of this one will depend on its position in the running order but it’s my favourite so far.

9. Norway – Spirit in the Sky by KEiiNO

On first listen: I’m already disappointed that this isn’t Gareth Gates and the Kumars. It’s got a night dance-y beat to it. The dancing with the fairies line will play well to the crowd on the night – I can already picture it on someone’s t-shirt. Oh, dear it was all going so well – a shaman seems to have taken over for the last third. It’s interesting, just not what I was expecting. The rest of the song is good, though.

During the video: They’ve filmed the video in Narnia – but it is at least another male/female combo which is different from most of the other acts. They’ve clearly got a vision/story for this song so the performance on the night should hopefully be something spectacular. The shaman looks like he’s in pain.

8. North Macedonia – Proud by Tamara Todevska

On first listen: I like this. The vocals are clear, not being drowned out by the music, which is sweet, but with a promise to rise as we go along. I do like a violin solo as well and it’s not too long here. Here comes the swell. I can imagine myself singing this in the shower pretending to be Whitney. It’s not the best song, but it’s more than OK.

During the video: It’s a song about female empowerment. That’s very now. I think this could do well on the night. It depends on what they decide to project on the screens behind the singer. But this could become a bit of an anthem.

7. Cyprus – Replay by Tamta

On first listen: She sounds like a lot of the acts in the chart at the moment. You can decide whether that’s a compliment or not, but it should mean she attracts an audience of some kind. There are some good hooks in this, and there’s enough to keep you interested.

During the video: This is a proper video. I’m going out on a limb here and saying she’s probably an established music star in Cyprus. She oozes confidence and if the performance on the night is anything like the video, we could be in for a good one. Half decent song with a good perfomance, it could be in with a chance.

6. Switzerland – She Got Me by Luca Hänni

On first listen: It’s not terrible, it’s making me move, which is always a good sign. It sounds like something you might find on One Direction’s second or third album, where they’re trying to be popular, but also a little bit edgy.

During the video: He’s got presence, although that could just be the hat (I do like a hat) – he looks like he’s recently left a boy band so I stand by my 1D comparison. He can move so we should be in for a good performance. I think he’ll have some fans on the night, he won’t win, but he’ll finish on the left hand side of the board.

5. Ireland – 22 by Sarah McTernan

On first listen: I’m listening to this one straight after Iceland, so I’ll probably love it. Oh, already, I do, it’s a bit plinky-plonky in a twingy-twangy way. That’s expert analysis for you. The music is better than the lyrics here, but she can sing. I don’t think it’ll match Ireland’s perfromance last year, but it’s decent enough, and is at least different from the other songs. I’ve surprised myself by singing along with it towards the end.

During the video: They’ve gone for a vintage feel with the video, which seems to be working for the song. It feels like it’s achieving what Michael Rice’s set out to do. I’m interested to see what they do with this on stage. I definitely like this more now than I did when I first heard it. Have to say, she did well in all that wind, especially when her hair smacked her in the face.

4. AzerbaijanTruth by Chingiz

On first listen: I’ve liked a lot of Azerbaijan’s songs in the past, so I always look forward to what they bring. I like the beat of this song. It builds to a change that kicks in at just the right moment, and the chorus is easy to sing along to. It brings more of the same after this point, but I like it enough to listen to it again.

During the video: He looks like he’s rocked up to the gay club a bit too early. If the array of other interesting people in the video turn up on the night it could be for a fun performance. I like it even more the second time around.

3. The NetherlandsArcade by Duncan Laurence

On first listen: This is the last one I’m listening to, I might have a bit of fatigue. It’s a slow start. Oh, good, it’s another solo male ballad. He’s got a nice quality to his voice though, I think he can sing better than some of the others. This is quite nice actually, and might be the best of the ballads. There’s a nice lively chorus that doesn’t break from the rest of the song.

During the video: He appears to be naked in a lake. We even get to see a bit of bum. Why did I wait 40 songs before watching this one? Winner. In all seriousness, it’s probably not, I think it will suffer from wherever it’s placed in the order, depending on how many of the other male ballads go through. They might all merge into one. This is the best of them, though.

2. Czech Republic – Friend of a Friend by Lake Malawi

On first listen: Straight into the vocals, which is a shame, as I don’t think I like them. Oh, hang on, have I heard this before? He’s got a cockney talking bit, and then the vocals get better. It’s a little bit catchy and the cockney bit is memorable at least. It makes you pay attention.

During the video: This guy has small ears. But he’s cute and I like the instagram-like video. This could be a hit. Some of the vocals bother me, but I think I like it because of that. It’s only problem is it’s not a serious song, that’s fine (look at Toy), but it might not be silly enough for Eurovision.

1. Belgium Wake Up by Eliot

On first listen: At the beginning it sounds like the opening credits for something, but then the singing starts and it doesn’t anymore. I’m enjoying the way it’s building to something. I think I like this song, it sounds a bit like something Justin Bieber or one fifth of One Direction might sing. Bit anticlimactic though.

He’s cute. He looks like he could be one fifth of One Direction. I actually think on second listen this might be one of my favourites.

So, agree? Disagree? I’ve probably cursed half the field now and Serbia will end up winning!


Swindon’s Choice

Next month is a very important month. Next month we get to stand up and vote, make our voice heard and make our political views clear.

But before the Eurovision Song Contest on 23rd May, there is also a General Election in this country – on Thursday 7th May.

The media make a lot of noise about the headline policies and personalities of each of the main parties – but as well as them, we’re supposed to vote for someone in our area to represent us in Westminster.

To that end, I’ve started researching the candidates for the constituency I live in: Swindon North (even though, I’d argue it was more South than North). There are five of them:

Mark Dempsey (Labour)

Janet Ellard (Liberal Democrats)

James Faulkner (UKIP)

Poppy Hebden-Leeder (Green)

Justin Tomlinson (Conservative)

I’ve only voted once before – back in 2010 – and don’t consider myself aligned to any one party, so I’ve picked three questions, issues that are specific to me and the area that I live in, and addressed them to each candidate, using the email address on their party’s website. (Except in the cases of Mark Dempsey – where I got it from a leaflet that came through the door, and Janet Ellard whose profile on the Liberal Democrat page didn’t load. For her, I acquired an email address from

I’ve also chosen three subjects that – up to this point (Sunday 5th April) – have not been covered in the meda

The email I have sent to each of them is as follows:

Dear ________

I am a resident of the North Swindon constituency which you are seeking to represent as a member of parliament from 7th May of this year.

I am currently undecided who to vote for, so was hoping you would be able to answer three short questions which – along with the main policies of your party – will help me to make up my mind.

You should be aware that I have sent exactly the same email to each of your opponents and that I will be posting the responses to each question on my blog, for other constituents to view.

Thank you in advance for both your swift response and your co-operation.


Alex Call

Question 1: Culture.

Swindon is in a prime location along the M4 corridor, with easy access to London, Reading, Bristol and Cardiff, and is surrounded by some beautiful countryside. This is often the only response I can give to associates who ask me about the benefits of living in Swindon – that it’s close to lots of nice places! What can you do to make Swindon itself a nicer place to visit, and what will you do to change the image of the town?

Question 2: Transport

The Swindon to London rail route is famous for being one of the most expensive £per mile rail journeys in the country – considering that this country is known to have one of the most expensive rail networks in Europe, that’s a pretty impressive penny. What will you do to ensure a fairer price for your constituents who work in – or wish to visit – the capital?

Question 3: Business

There are quite a lot of corporations with their headquarters in Swindon: Nationwide, Intel and WH Smith to name just three. Considering that Swindon has a much cheaper way of life, but is less than an hour from the capital. What can you do to encourage companies who are looking to cut down their operational costs to relocate from London to Swindon – in the process, opening up a much more attractive job market in the town for it’s residents?

 Bonus Question

What other priorities do you have for Swindon that you haven’t already mentioned? In short, why should the people of Swindon vote for you?

I’ll post their responses as I receive them – in fact, the Conservative candidate has already replied. I’ll post his answers later.

#BEDM14: Getting Mashed

There are four shelves in my freezer – bear with me on this one.

One of them is currently empty.

One of them is for ‘potato products’ – mostly chips, but sometimes waffles and a delicious new product to the market ‘Mashtags’ which are potatoes in the shapes of commonly used twitter characters: @#*

The third drawer is filled with chicken. Chicken nuggets. Mmm. They are my go to dinner when I just can’t be bothered. If I can’t be bothered, but am feeling a little bit adventurous, then it’s fish fingers.

The fourth drawer is a very special drawer indeed.

The vodka drawer.

It gets a drawer of its own, mostly because one of the bottles leaked once and I was getting pissed on chicken nuggets for weeks, but also because now, I’ve actually started to acquire more and more bottles.

Vodka is my drink of choice (mixed with lemonade) when I’m out on a night out – mostly because after all these years, it’s the only thing that doesn’t give me a hangover. Vodka and coke pretty much floors me, though.

I don’t really drink it at home, though, tending to stick more to wine. I recently had a Eurovision party, and bought myself a bottle, forgetting I already had a bottle. Someone else brought a bottle with them, so the vodka drawer is growing.

I’m going out tonight, and I will be drinking vodka, lime and lemonade – a combination I used to enjoy but had forgotten about.

The reason I’m out tonight, and the reason I’m telling you is because a certain Mr Matthew Hogan is turning thirty and is having a little (big?) celebration. Those of you who like the missing vowels round on Only Connect will find him on Twitter easily, everyone else can find him by searching for @mtthwhgn.

Tonight, I will be heading out and ignoring all four drawers of my freezer, but in fact, possibly paying homage to all four:

I’ll be getting mashed on vodka, and looking for some young chicken to take home with me – though likely will go home with nothing!

Prompt: Why is the freezer always full?

Two Rules for Life

A great man once said:

Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth.

Do you remember the name of the man who said that? Did you ever know it?

I know I don’t.

But that’s my point – our words and our actions have a life beyond us, long after we’re forgotten.

Our lives are shaped and influenced by so many memorable historical figures. Shakespeare, one of the greatest influences on modern culture was born 450 years ago.

John Lennon, Winston Churchill, Nelson Mandela will also likely never be forgotten for their impact on the world

Then there are those that only a few people will remember, and their names might not last more than a generation or two. Big Fat Ron from next door, Miss Follett, my first teacher in infants school, my gran.

There are hundreds of historical figures, and if we tried to name all the important ones now we’d be here for quite some time – but there are even more names that have been forgotten.

Millions. Billions. Millions of billions.

Let’s take a look at Eurovision – bear with me, I’m trying to be topical.

Tonight in Denmark there will be a huge gathering of people from right across the world, all of them are there to celebrate music, to celebrate the unity of a continent in (relative) peace. How many of the people there, both in the audience and on stage will become historical figures?

How many of them are the progeny of historical figures – and how many of them aren’t? Without the mass of nameless forgettable people, there might only be a small handful of people assembling in Copenhagen.

It’s ok not to be famous, not to be remembered, because even if you never produce offspring of your own, you will have shaped the future in someway. You will have an impact on the world.

It is your choice if that’s a good impact or a bad one.

Even the smallest of our actions can inspire and influence others. A perceived slight can generate bad feeling, while holding a door open for someone can cause a smile. That bad feeling or the little smile will ripple on and could one day be the thing that starts a war – or stops it.

You might not be remembered, but your actions will.

Be nice.


(Oh, and to all you boys out there in Denmark – have a great time, but pop a condom on it, yeah?)

BEDM14: What’s The Problem?

Yesterday I posted a rather flippant post comparing Facebook and Twitter to having kids. The reason for avoiding the prompt ‘Facebook or Twitter?’ was because I feared the resulting blog would end in a diatribe not against Facebook, but more the people that use it.

I’m still not going to go into it, I don’t want to upset anyone just to make an interesting blog. There’s plenty about what people do on Facebook that annoys me, but to be honest it probably says more about me, than it does about them. I could go on and on and on about some of the things that people do and their response would most likely be: What’s the problem?

That’s what this blog is about. It’s my ‘What’s the Problem?’ to something that I recently read in the latest issue of Attitude magazine.

It was an opinion piece by Iain Dale, there isn’t an online version that I can find, so you’ll have to buy a copy of the magazine to read his full article (But why wouldn’t you? There’s a lovely picture of Ben Hardy aka Peter Beale off of EastEnders on the cover).

It is an opinion piece, and I can’t stress that enough, because if it’s his opinion, then that’s fine. He’s entitled to it, but I’m entitled to disagree. It was subtitled Where are the ‘normal’ gay people on TV?

Dale makes a lot of really good points. The article in itself is questioning why sexuality is used as an adjective, as if it’s something that defines a person. He notes that he was described in The Observer as ‘Iain Dale, the gay Conservative candidate’.

Conservative candidate should be a suitable enough label for him – unless the article in itself (Dale doesn’t mention what the article was about) was specifically around gay issues, in which case the label of gay would add context to the article.

There are two sections of his piece that I object to.

Even EastEnders, the show which broke new ground in the late 1980s by screening the first fay kiss fell for the gay stereotype ‘Muscle Mary’ character, Christian

And then later:

One of the few places on TV where you find completely ordinary gay people is in the news. I say ordinary – they are generally extraordinary people, but the thing they have in common is that most people wouldn’t even know they are gay

There are many kinds of homophobia in this world, and the one we all object to is heterosexuals discriminating against homosexuals simply for the fact that they are homosexual.

What troubles me is when homosexuals discriminate against other homosexuals.

If I was a young gay boy reading a copy of Attitude Magazine for the first time, I would be troubled by Dale’s opinion piece. His unconsidered us of the word ‘normal’ is troubling.

What he is linking normal to is people not being able to tell that they are gay. What he is linking normal, whether he intends to or not, is being able to pass as straight.

What he’s actually saying is that these people – and he lists several examples – are not camp.

The people he lists, among them are Clare Balding, Evan Davis and Paddy O’Connell are people that don’t make you ‘automatically think ‘gay’’ but then he goes onto qualify that in O’Connell’s case he would ‘make an exception but only when he’s presenting the Eurovision semis’

Dale wants less camp people on TV. And that’s ok. But it’s not ok to infer that these people are not normal, or that they don’t exist.

Christian Clarke from EastEnders may well be a Muscle Mary stereotype. But these people exist. They deserve a place on our television screens.

I’m not exactly butch – I have a slight wiggle when I walk, and I know my way around a well-timed eyebrow raise – so Iain Dale’s article hits home slightly.

I recently was speaking to a chap on Grindr. Lovely guy, liked him quite a lot, but he told me he didn’t like camp guys. This led to a discussion in my office among a couple of them, where we agreed that on the scale, I’m probably a six – that means I’m not whole row of tents, but I’m more than just a one person pop-up.

I worried over meeting him, I thought he would immediately take offence if I spoke with a slightly higher voice than he, or if I ordered vodka tonic instead of a beer.

I probably shouldn’t have been worried, he was camper than me, not by much, but if I’m a six, then he was a seven – that doesn’t bother me. What does bother me is that I did get worried about it. I worried about changing who I am.

It’s 2014. We shouldn’t have to worry about hiding ourselves away and trying to be ‘ordinary’ so that people don’t know we’re gay.

It’s fine to campaign for a wider representation of gay men and women in our media, but we need to stop using the word normal when we mean non-camp.

Prompt: What’s the Problem