Customer Review

11 of 82 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing!, 27 May 2005
This review is from: "Eurovision Song Contest": 50th Anniversary - The Official History (Hardcover)
I bought this book hoping for a new view, a new way of introducing 50 years of the greatest musical extravaganza the world have ever seen - but alas I have to admit that this publications in no better (or worse) then the other 2 previous publications entitled "Eurovision Companion" which were published in 1998,1999 respectively; The problem in both cases is that they are written by British/Irish people for British/Irish people, which means to say: a very narrow and rather biased point of view, which highlights insignificant trivia while ignoring more substantial events that occurred during the years.
Needless to say that all Anglo-Saxon entries are very well presented, while other entries from the Mediterranean, for example, are handled poorly; A fine example would be the author's remark that "..the 1991 contest was not a vintage year..". Really? 1991, for many, was one of the best song contests, before it became the dance contests; only in 1991 some of the best evergreen entries from France, Portugal, Italy, Spain, Finland, Israel, Malta, Greece, Cyprus & Switzerland took centre stage and stayed in people's memory long after the contest; and this is only one example of the author's shortcomings where it comes to presenting a particular contest or another; It is clear to me that Mr O'Connor did not actually followed the contest over the years, but rather watched them on video maybe 4-5 years ago, thus not sensing the true feeling at the time of the broadcast itself; Added to this it is obvious he tend to use Terry Wogan commentary as a 'sort of view', which is a wrong way to go.
What amazes me the most, is that the EBU - for some obscure reason - has decided to officially endorse this rather poor effort of a project.
A missed opportunity!
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 4 Jan 2009 07:04:13 GMT
Thank you very, very much!! I´m (obviously;) a big ESC fan and was about two seconds from buying this book before I read your review. I became a hard core fan pretty much around the time when Ireland/the Anglo-Saxon countries stopped winning all the time, that was the main reason why I started liking it this much actually!;) I´m Swedish so off course I´m biased too, but if have had paid (rather much at that) money for this book I´d probably get very annoyed, to say the least. Especially since I´ve never heard a Terry Wogan commentary in my life and based on what I´ve heard about that seems to be just as well..The Swedish commentators are usually great and try to be as objective as possible. Those morons at SVT who are destroying the songs that we actually elected as the winners by translating them to English (nowadays as you probably know the complete opposite of a smart move, for proof compare Lena Philipssons melodic and catchy "Det gör ont" with the horrible tune that is the (literal even) translation "It hurts") should have been fired five years ago.Hopefully they have been kicked out now when not even Carola (of all people) won when she sang in English.

Thanks again and cheers for a great show in Moscow!!

Posted on 11 Mar 2009 21:20:51 GMT
Vauxhall1964 says:
How can you criticise the author for having watched contests on tape? It's been going over half a century! He'd be in his 80s if he'd been present at the shows during the 50s and 60s! Anyone writing a book on Eurovision who DIDN'T watch the shows on tape for research would be a very poor writer. John O'Connor is a regular at Eurovisions...I've been introduced to him at one. The book was written for the English speaking market but all the same I found it very even handed and far from overly focussed on the UK and Ireland. We should all be glad we have a book on Eurovision. In the wrong hands a publisher could have commissioned something far worse.

In reply to an earlier post on 6 May 2013 20:51:51 BDT
A. B. Holmes says:
I am biased because the author is my cousin, but I KNOW that John has been an avid fan, and watched with his family since at least the early 70's, and his passion for all the entries is not of an Anglo-Saxon bias. He often backs the newer entrants (not from the original 'Power Countries' and is extremely meticulous in his research. I don't want to give away his age, for all his youthful looks, but he has been a long-time ardent fan
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