21 – WHAT GOES AROUND COMES AROUND
The circle is complete, and the last tiny fonted parts of the credits are rolling, "Filmed in Technicolor", "We’d like to thank the cities of Los Angeles and New York" and finally "MMIV", so we leave the American chapter behind us and make a fresh start on topics anew. And what better way to do that than crack a few beers, and force each other to drink for returning to the topics we’ve vowed never to mention again.
Yep, that’s right. This is where it will end. Right back where it all began.
How? There’s only one way to find out…for me to tell you.
And now that I’ve suitably built up the suspense, I’ll hit you with it. Taurus ended up representing Spain in the 2005 Eurovision Song Contest.
Oh come on! Don’t be angry with me for giving away the plot that bluntly. It’s not like you don’t know this story already. Why would you have spent your hard earned pennies on this book if you were not already a fan of the band?
Either way, I’m here to elaborate. But first, let me take a hasty shuffle backwards.
The key to all this, the motivator that had got the three guys from York so far down this pop path, was that glorious song contest held once a year. The UK had dismissed Taurus for last year’s contest and there was no plan to return to such cruel territory. The boys had found success in the land of the
American Dream, and it was turning out to be a whole lot kinder than the land of Royaume Uni-nil point. Despite all this, there was no forgetting that Eurovision would soon be upon us again.
The Euro nations were preparing to select their respective hopefuls for this year’s competition and even the slightest mention of this was enough to make Ashley wince. Last year’s humiliation was still a sore point for him, despite what they’d achieved since then.
Adding further to Ashley’s embarrassment, Michael was suggesting that the boys get involved again. Thankfully, he wasn’t expecting them to perform as UK hopefuls again. None of the guys, even Patrick, had the confidence to return to such brutal territory as that. What he was suggesting was that they wrote a song and tried to get a different artist to perform it. An established artist hopefully. But who to suggest?
I think there’s a fundamental under appreciation of how serious other nations take it. The Balkan countries pick proper artists from their own country and then send them out on tour around other countries to drum up support. But even if we sent Girls Aloud out there do you think we’d win? Probably not.
I don’t think that even they’re big enough in the European circles that carry the most votes these days. And if they did enter for the UK, they don’t perform the right sort of music. You’ve got to have the right kind of music. Eurovision isn’t a pop explosion anymore. Not the way it used to be.
Stuck for ideas, we all decided to have a day in front of the music channels to find inspiration. Hopefully that way we would find someone that could bring back success to the UK, with help from Taurus of course.
First up was Electric Six. "They’re American. Does it have to be one of our own artists?" asked Robert.
"It doesn’t have to be an English artist but it does have to be an English songwriter," said Michael. "So you’re ok there."
"But anyway, I don’t think Electric Six are right. They’d be seen as some sort of novelty act," was Ashley’s opinion. "They’d do well but not win."
Patrick had the remote and so he skipped channels. "Bonnie Tyler – could she do it?"
"I think she’d do well actually," said Ashley. "If you think that Eurovision’s got a bit rockier lately, you’d think that if she had the right song she’d do alright."
Patrick didn’t agree. "Maybe if it was twenty years ago, but not now!"
"She’s a bit crazy though isn’t she? I heard her on the radio recently and she is a bit mad." I added.
"As in the guy that sang The Never Ending Story?" Michael asked Robert.
"Not Limahl. Lemar!"
"Well, Limahl might do well. I think The Never Ending Story has only just been released in Balkan states!" remarked a sarcastic Patrick. He changed channels.
"What about Blue?"
"Who’s the chubby one there in the middle?" Ashley asked.
"That’s Elton John. I didn’t know he was in Blue! Anyway, I don’t think either of them are likely to do it."
"BBMak? They were quite big in America initially and then they came over here," said Patrick.
"That’s odd. Strange how it happened that way," said Robert, completely missing the fact that Taurus were enjoying similar Stateside success.
"I don’t think they’d do well," Ashley chipped in.
On the next channel was Fifty Cent. No chance! Another quick skip and there was Sonia and the video for You’ll Never Stop me from Loving You. She’d already done performed for the UK of course in ‘94 with Better the Devil you Know.
"I love the way the guy dances in this video," said Ashley.
"There he is look! He’s just doing rudimentary arm movements and poses. I think that later he passed those on to Girls Aloud. He’s going from mad shape to mad shape."
"I don’t think they had much of a budget," said Robert. "I really miss eighties fop shoulder dancing guys. He’s got his T-shirt tucked into his jeans!"
Everyone agreed that we couldn’t return to Sonia territory, even though there are artists that continually enter for their countries.
A politically correct Patrick then piped up an opinion: "Another problem we’ve got is the UK has so many immigrants. People come here from Eastern Europe so they’re giving a huge amount of votes to wherever they’ve come from due to tele-voting. So what we need is loads of people to immigrate to Eastern Europe from the UK and vote for us. Can we have a long term strategy. Bus-load people from here? Can we start a sperm bank? Create huge families and send them out there, a bit like deep space exploration? We can ship them off to these other countries as sleeper voters, ready to vote for the UK in about 20 years time."
There was a bit of debate as to whether it was acceptable to have someone from another nation singing for the UK. Eventually we all agreed that is was based on the fact that the last time we won we had an American singing for us. Maybe it’s a talisman. Last time Switzerland won they had a Canadian singing for them in Celine Dion.
The video that had stimulated the debate was Backstreet’s Back by the Backstreet Boys. Afterwards, Robert explained his dislike for the video. "Right at the end they’re talking about the fact that they had a crazy dream last night and one says ‘yeah I dreamt I was a werewolf’ and one says I dreamt ‘I was
A Dracula’. Now he’s made a very basic error there!"
"Which one was it?" asked Patrick.
"I don’t know their names other than Nick or AJ."
"Howard I think it is," said Ashley.
"No, he was in Take That."
"No, there’s definitely a Howard in the Backstreet Boys as well."
"I thought there was a boyband rule that says you couldn’t have members with the same name as people in other bands."
"Yeah, I think you can. It is Howard, bless him. When I was about fifteen, me and my mates made our own home video version of the Backstreet’s Back video. Pathetic. Such a terrible idea. Thankfully I’ve since destroyed the tape. There’s no chance it will ever be released. Absolutely no chance. Ever."
Ashley wanted to reassure everyone. "We also did our own version of a Def Leppard video and a Barbershop version of the song By the Light of the Silvery Moon."
Weird! If that video hadn’t have been destroyed, in the wrong hands that could signal the demise of Taurus!
Patrick channel hopped again.
"What about Nelly Furtado? Could she win?"
"No we need someone with that certain hook. They’ve got to appeal to a wide audience," said Robert.
"I’ll tell you what would do well. There’s that lad that had that song out. Erm…"
"That really narrows it down!" I said.
"What I mean is we need an ethnic vibe that would do well in the Balkans."
The next song came on. It was Elton John singing Nikita. "That guy there was in the Living Daylights," said Ashley pointing to a random man in the video. "He’s like the main bad guy."
"He’s not the main bad guy," said Patrick.
"Ok, he’s the main henchman. The one who ‘got the boot!’ There’s Elton again at a football match."
Bizarre. In the middle of a song about love for a Russian border guard he’s cheering on Watford. It’s probably the last time they scored a goal in 1985.
Enter Kate Bush with Babushka.
"Now that would do well in the Balkan states," Ashley said.
"I don’t think she’s got it in her to write a new song," said Robert.
"Are you sure Girls Aloud aren’t well enough known in other countries?" asked Patrick as he flicked from them to Britney Spears.
"Ooh, Britney. I think she’d win it. I think she’d do very well actually."
As this stage I felt that everyone was missing the point. The thing is you’re never going to get an established artist of that calibre entering, because the risk is too high for their credibility. Take Robbie Williams for example; he’s got a big ego. Can you imagine the risk he’s taking if he loses to some one-off Romanian act? It’s not worth it, is it? He’s got so much more to lose than he has to win.
Thankfully Ashley had his feet back on the ground again. "The only people interested in entering now, I think are deluded if they think they’re going to win. The only other types of people you’ve got are people who just want it for the experience, no matter where they come really. You’ve also got people who are desperate to cling on to fame, who just want any platform whatsoever, and the fundamental thing is they don’t understand the nature of the competition anyway. And so obviously they think ‘I’m well known in Britain. Britain is the biggest music industry in Europe. I’m going to win it easily.’ It doesn’t cut the mustard anymore, just being a British artist."
At which point I felt we’d formed a conclusion; that the UK will never win again. We hoped we’d be proved wrong. We honestly believed that this country would never place respectably on the score board again. And really, we’re lucky that we even put in enough money that we’re allowed to compete in the final automatically.
It had taken most of the afternoon to reach this conclusion, and we were pretty much back to square one and feeling a little deflated. The man who had set us off on this trail of thought with Michael MacGee and he had disappeared a good couple of hours ago, leaving us wondering why on earth we were doing this in the first place. Just as we decided to call it a day, the man returned.
"I’ve got a suggestion," he said.
"That we all go home?" Patrick was losing his patience.
"Now listen to me. You’ll like this. Can you see what I’m saying?"
Silence. We knew better than to answer his rhetorical questions by now.
"I think you should enter Eurovision again," said Michael.
"Don’t be stupid Dad, we’re not going through that again. It was humiliating last time, getting knocked out of the qualifying. And anyway, we’ve all agreed, it’s for desperate people trying to resurrect their careers. We’re just starting a new one in America. The UK just worries me. Is our selection process appropriate? For a start we don’t pick the right songs. No we’re not doing it." Ashley was not ready to return to this territory.
"You’re not seeing what I’m saying. I don’t mean for you to enter for the UK. I mean to enter for Spain."
"Spain?! Why Spain?" quizzed Robert.
"Because they want you to."
It turned out that the officials behind the Spanish selection process wanted Taurus to enter Eurovision 2005 for them and had been in touch with Michael.
"And the best thing about it is you don’t have to write a new song," Michael explained. "They want you to enter with Sweet Spanish Hunchback."
"Is that allowed in the rules?" asked Ashley.
"Apparently it is. At first they looked in to whether it would be possible for someone from Spain to sing it, but the rules say that it can’t be a cover so that’s why they want you."
"But we recorded it last year."
"That’s ok too. I’ve checked it myself. All songs must be original and not released publicly before the first of October last year. The greatest hits didn’t come out until December, so you’re ok."
And that was that. As long as Michael could persuade Thomas Madison that it would be beneficial for Taurus to enter Eurovision, then the boys were on their way to Kiev in a few months time. They wouldn’t have to go through any qualifying rounds, and Ashley in particular would get a shot at his dream again. Maybe, just maybe, Taurus could win the Eurovision Song Contest after all.