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Nul Points Paperback – 5 Oct 2006

4.0 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Jonathan Cape (5 Oct. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0224077805
  • ISBN-13: 978-0224077804
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.8 x 23.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,979,109 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Tim Moore is a talented and very funny writer (Daily Telegraph)

He is a rare comic talent (The Times)

Hailed as the new Bill Bryson, he is in fact a writer of considerably more substance (Irish Times)

Book Description

A hilariously funny book about the Eurovision Song Contest from our funniest travel writer.

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Customer Reviews

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Format: Paperback
Tim Moore was inspired to write this book through his friendship with Jane Alexander and her experience of coming 3rd in the UK national final to choose a song for the Eurovision Song Contest in 1989. He began to wonder what had become of the singers who came last in the Eurovision Song Contest, and this led him to look at the names of those who have suffered what he dubs »light entertainment's ultimate indignity«- a zero score in the Eurovision Song Contest.

The contest has given the English language the term »Nul Points«, despite the fact that, as Mr Moore rightly points out, the phrase has never been uttered on the Eurovision stage. He decided to limit his definition of »Nul-Pointers« to those who have failed to score under the current 12 points voting system (previous voting systems made it much easier to come away empty handed). This left him with a list of 14 acts to visit in their own counties, in chronological order, beginning with Norway 's Jahn Teigen and ending with the UK 's Jemini.

What had begun as a project based on the UK 's Woganesque derision of the ESC, fuelled by schadenfreude, quickly took on a life of its own as Tim Moore delved deeper into the lives and times of Eurovision and its »pointless« contestants. The book is meticulously researched and the author generously credits the Eurovision fan base as his best and most reliable source of material. From the 14 candidates, he finally visited 9. A meeting with Remediou Amaya [Spain 1983] could not be arranged and Çetin Alp had sadly passed away, drawing the final curtain on his 1983 debacle for Turkey (the book is dedicated to his memory). Wilfred ( Austria 1988), Thomas Förster ( Austria 1991) and Gunvor ( Switzerland 1998) all declined to talk about their Eurovision experiences.
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Format: Paperback
I can't say I'd usually have been attracted to a book about the Eurovision Song Contest, let alone the worst of it, but as a bit of a Tim Moore diehard I thought I'd give this a go. I'm certainly glad I did - along with the usual belly laughs (Terry Wogan eat your heart out) I found myself almost welling up with tears at some of the 13 amazing stories he travels the world to hear first hand. All human life is here: tragedy, farce, compassion, resentment, the lot. I finished it in three days and when I lent it to my sister she did it in two (breaking her previous record by about a month!).
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Format: Paperback
Following on from his exploits around the Tour de France route, the "real" Monopoly board of London and a trek with a stubborn donkey along the route of the Santiago de Compostela, it wasn't only a matter of time before Tim Moore's attention, and writing, was drawn to the wonderful spectacle that is the Eurovision Song Contest.

Rather than cover the contest as a whole Tim decided to delve deeper into the betes-noire of the contest, those much-maligned artists whose joy at national victory was brought suddenly and very publicly back down to earth with a bump when they scored nul points.

As any Eurovision statto will tell you there have been 34 entrants who have failed to trouble the scorers, although some can reasonably claim that the scoring system didn't help. Between 1971 and 1973 it wasn't possible to score nothing as every song, however bad, received some points and in the early to mid sixties there were so few points on offer than the non-scorers were always in good (or bad) company.

The eminently-readable "Nul Points" follows Tim Moore's attempts to interview the last 14 non-scorers from Jahn Teigen in 1974 to our very own Jemini in 2003. Out of patriotic loyalty, I actually decided to read the Jemini chapter first and then the rest of the book. Notwithstanding the rights and wrongs of what may or may not have happened on that fateful night in the Riga's Skonto Olympic Arena, one thing that strikes me from reading the book is that Jemini seemed totally unprepared for the international arena they were about to enter. Akin to giving a Christian a plastic knife to take on the lions, there seems to have been very little in the way of a support mechanism for them in their Euro-adventure.
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Probably the book that has given travel-writer Tim Moore his greatest challenge as he seeks to track down all those who have finished the Eurovision Song Contest with the dreaded Nul Points. Moore manages to avoid the usual British mocking tone to bring the reader through an unusual journey through European music.
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Format: Paperback
In which Tim Moore tries to track down every one of the 14 acts who have failed to score a single point in the Eurovision Song Contest since the mid-1970s. He doesn't quite succeed - four aren't interested or are otherwise untraceable and one is dead - but what he finds along the way is often scary, often touching and often just plain weird.

As a nation, the UK - a large, mainly gay, following excepted - loved to scoff at the Eurovision for as long as I can remember but still tunes in nonetheless. Moore sometimes lapses into this, which is all too easily done, and he is a bit too pleased with himself at times, but he is also genuinely witty (this man write for the Torygraph??) and some of what he unearths is really insightful. In its way, this book tells you more about modern Europe than most academic tomes.

As we learn along the way, the scoring system by which national juries give 12 points to their favourite song down to 1 for the 10th favourite came in in the mid-70s. Prior to that, an arcane system meant that loads of songs scored zero, while for a few years it was impossible to do so. The scoring goes on almost as long as the songs these days, which means a long drawn-out torture at the bottom of the table while the winner usually emerges long before the end.

It is worth noting that 'nul points' is a misnomer. Nobody is scored zero, they just never get mentioned. And in correct French it would be a singular 'nul point' in any case. Moreover, getting nul points doesn't mean that your song was the worst one, merely that nobody thought it among the ten best. Most of the nul-pointers were no worse than many others around them.
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