I’m one of those people who can watch films I love over and over again. I have a collection of favourites I’ve probably seen 20-30 times – possibly more – and I never get tired of them. I think there’s something wonderful about the familiar when I’m perhaps a little tired and don’t want to concentrate. And there’s something in particular about romcoms when I fancy a pick-me-up, knowing that my chosen film has all the feels and is going to leave me with a warm and fuzzy moment.
A brand new addition to this collection is the Netflix film Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga. A film based around the Eurovision Song Contest was always going to be a must-see for me. I’ve adored it since I was a little girl. One of the very first vinyl singles I bought was Milk and Honey’s ‘Hallelujah’ which was the winning entry for Israel back in 1979 (I was seven). I’ve just had a rummage through my old 7” vinyls and have unearthed:
1980 – ‘Love Enough for Two’ by Prima Donna
Super cheesy and reminiscent of a poor version of the amazing Brotherhood of Man (who won in 1976 with ‘Save Your Kisses for Me’. Brilliant). This song has not stood the test of time but I still love it … although perhaps in more of a nostalgic way!
1981 – ‘Making Your Mind Up’ by Bucks Fizz
This song started me as a lifelong Bucks Fizz fan. The first gig I ever went to was Bucks Fizz in Middlesbrough Town Hall when I was about 13 and I’ve seen them three times since. I had a crush on both the boys and desperately wanted one of those double skirts Cheryl and Jay wear for this routine. I was devastated when my friend’s mum over the road made her one and one each for a pair of twins we played with … but not one for me 😦
1983 – ‘Never Giving Up’ by Sweet Dreams
6th place. Luxembourg won that year but the song doesn’t ring a bell at all
I still love this song! Interestingly enough, the last time I went to see Bucks Fizz, the male member of this group joined them as the 2nd male member and they sang this. What a treat! I used to want the outfit the blonde woman wore but in the red colour the brunette had
1984 – ‘Love Games’ by Belle and the Devotions
7th place. Sweden’s ‘Diggi-Loo Diggi-Ley’ by The Herreys won that year. Ooh, I remember those golden shoes!
This has such a fabulous 60s vibe and I adore 60s music which I think is why I loved this so much (and, yes, still do!) Not sure about the outfits, though! I remember loving that they all had different hair colours – red, white and yellow. Class
1985 – ‘Love Is’ by Vikki
4th place. Norway won with ‘La Det Swing’ by Bobbysocks which I also remember. “Let it swing you let it rock and roll….”
Another song I still love. I used to sing this constantly and have just realised I can still remember all the lyrics. How crazy is that? I can remember the lyrics to our non-winning Eurovision entry from 35 years ago and I can’t remember my mobile phone number that I’ve had for ten years or where I put my house keys earlier!
1990 – ‘Give a Little Love Back to the World’ by Emma
6th place. Italy won that year but the song doesn’t ring a bell either
Aw, bless her. She looks about ten. From when we believed that a song about peace was very ‘Eurovision’ and would win. Nope.
This is where my vinyl collection ends. It doesn’t mean I didn’t love any others but I started university in October 1990 and had traded a record player for a ghetto-blaster and CD player. Several other entries appear on Now albums after that point but, for me, the 1980s entries were the heyday of Britain’s entries. I’m just gutted I never bought Bardo’s ‘One Step Further’ from 1982 to have a full run-through from the early 80s. They came 7th and I loved their entry so I’m not sure why I didn’t by it.
If you want to see a short clip of all of these – and any other UK entries through the year – you can visit the BBC’s Eurovision page here.
So let’s go back to the film. It tells the fictional story of life-long friends, Lars (Will Ferrell) and Sigrit (Rachel McAdams) who, as Fire Saga, have a long-held dream of representing their home country of Iceland in the Eurovision Song Contest. And winning it, of course.
The munchkin and I watched it for the first time together last weekend. I loved the opening scene where a young Lars, mourning the loss of his mother, is captivated by Abba’s 1974 winning performance of ‘Waterloo’. Who wouldn’t be? That song is A-MAY-ZING! It then jumps to present day where they’re performing one of their songs ‘Volcano Man’. I knew in those five minutes or so that I was going to absolutely love this film. And I did.
It’s funny, it’s heartwarming, it has an amazing soundtrack (which I have had on constant repeat ever since) and Dan Stevens (Matthew Crawley from Downton Abbey and The Beast from the Disney live-action remake). Sigrit’s voice is stunning and did I mention Dan Stevens? With a Russian accent? I love that Graham Norton is the UK’s commentator and says very typically Norton-esque comments. The elves – fabulous. The song-along with stars from Eurovision-past – what a treat. The song ‘Jaja Ding Dong’ – genius (and ever so rude but I didn’t realise that at first – hee hee). Oh, and Dan Stevens.
I spotted a BBC news article running through an enormous list of things that are ‘wrong’ in the film e.g. there’s a joke about how the UK never win yet the final is set in Edinburgh meaning the UK would have had to have won the year before, the presenters are not from the host nation, one of the acts had too many dancers and so on. Yeah, yeah, blah, blah, blah. For goodness sake, people, this is a piece of light-hearted fiction based around a real event. It was never going to be a perfect match for how Eurovision works, especially given how slick the actual event is, because the story wouldn’t have been fun and silly and simply divine if it was. And who doesn’t need a bit of light relief with the year 2020 has turned out to be so far?
I have so many favourite parts of the film but the bit that knocks me right in the feels is when Fire Saga perform ‘Husavik (My Hometown)’. Absolutely sensational.
I started today feeling really nervous and anxious with no reason to be. After about an hour, the feeling wore off and I was able to do what I’d planned but I felt that need for comfort and warmth this evening. This was the perfect go-to film and I feel calm and uplifted now.
Even if you don’t like The Eurovision Song Contest, I’d give it a go. Beautiful scenery, humour, fabulous soundtrack, elves and Dan Stevens. What’s not to love? Don’t believe me? Check out this trailer on You Tube here.