Róisín Ingle has a dream for Eurovision 2015
IRISHTIMES.COM REPORTS – I had a dream. Not a Martin Luther style one, you know me, nothing as noble as all that. No, my dream was winning the Eurovision Song Contest for Ireland. Like all good dreams it sat deep inside me, waiting for a moment when it would ripen (just like a flower when winter begins, say) or soar majestically into a frosty winter’s night (like some class of archipelagic icicle.)
I’ve been thinking about winning the Eurovision for a good few years. But in recent times, mired in our Eurovision wilderness years, RTÉ introduced this mentoring scheme where a well-known person chose a song and a singer which meant the whole sequin-sprinkled process went out of the hands of the people. I kept my dream alive by watching the Eurovision every year and thinking “I could do that . . . actually I could do way better than that. Harrumph.”
Then a few weeks ago an email arrived. It was a press release from RTÉ, announcing that they were giving the Eurovision back to the people. Anyone could enter a song which of course is the way it always should have been and should be forever, in perpetuity and Abba, Amen. I immediately emailed my friend D, my songwriting partner and co-dreamer. “Do you want to win the Eurovision?” I asked him. “Yes!” he replied. And so it began.
Writing a song isn’t easy. It’s not all Scrambled Eggs and Yesterday, as Paul McCartney would have you believe. Even writing a rubbish song can take it out of you. My first few lyrical salvos which I sent to D were atrocious although as Elton John to my Bernie Taupin he was kind enough not to point it out. He had held up his side of the bargain by coming up with an annoyingly catchy melody which I couldn’t stop humming. Now I just had to come up with a lyrical hook for a song that could be easily understood by hundreds of millions of people of various cultures and languages and which wouldn’t make me cringe every time I heard it on the radio.
See, it was going to be on the radio a lot after it won the Eurovision Song Contest. I wanted a lyric that would make me proud, not one that would make me want to hide under my bed with mortification.
Then, unexpectedly, I came down with a bad case of songwriter’s block. Which is not quite the same as your common or garden writer’s block. With regular writer’s block, I generally go for a walk (to the fridge) or watch the video to Taylor Swift’s Shake It Off 56 times and I get unblocked. But this time nothing worked. D texted every day, to inquire about my progress. I kept putting him off. Then one night, 48 hours before the deadline to submit songs, he called around and staged a sort of songwriting intervention. Three frenzied hours later we had a brilliant song, an uplifting celebration of the power of love, the importance of escaping digital noise and living life in the here and now. All set to a pumping disco beat, obviously.
The next day we were due to meet the singer we hoped would perform our little work of Eurogenius. But before that I thought it prudent to check out the terms and conditions on RTÉ’s website. I sent them to D because I’m generally allergic to T&Cs, they are usually buzz killers of the highest order. My mother is always complaining that she can’t enter Irish Times competitions because she is related to me. We have, as many companies do, what she says is an “annoying” FHB (family hold back) strategy.
“We have a problem,” D texted after he got my email. It turns out RTÉ are also proponents of the FHB strategy and as D is related to one of the hundreds of staff there our Eurovision dream had, in an instant, crashed and burned.
And yet here was our singer, a talented, up-and-coming artist, arriving through the revolving doors of The Irish Times. We told her our news, said we’d play her the tune anyway. (I think she was relieved to have been saved the awkwardness of turning our song down, the Eurovision was not exactly how she saw her career progressing.)
If anyone had glanced into the meeting room, where we sang her a mournful acoustic version of the tune that wasn’t even going to make it into the Montrose postbag, they’d have witnessed the sorry sight of a Eurovision dream in tatters.
So spare D and I a thought when the Eurovision rolls around again next spring. And think of the winning song that never was. We could have, I swear, been a contender.