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Nul Points Paperback – 3 May 2007

3.9 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 378 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; New Ed edition (3 May 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099492970
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099492979
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.4 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 278,966 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

"The world's funniest travel writer turns his pen to the Eurovision Song Contest" (Observer)

"We love travel humourist Tim Moore's take on the Eurovision ultra-losers" (Sunday Times)

"It makes for a diverting trip and Moore's glib, easily digested comic style is well suited to these tales of defiance and depression and pride curdled with paranoia" (Metro)

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

"Funny and unhinged- there is something beautifully true to the Eurovision spirit about Nul Points" (Independent)

Book Description

A hilariously funny book about the Eurovision Song Contest.

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Customer Reviews

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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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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
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've been a fan of Tim Moore's books for a long time, and have all of them. This one was a departure from the norm, more of a mosaic of the Nul Pointers then of his experience, which made his previous books such a joy to read. He tends to waffle on a little too much, which is unusual, taking a while to get to the point. This makes Nul Points harder to read, with more breaks in the story. Most of the interviewee's responses are naturally predictable, 'I don't regret anything, look how well I'm doing now, and even if I'm not, I still don't care.' The glib triteness of the ESC shows through in the book, making it a difficult subject to warm to, although it is the event everyone loves to hate. Overall it's not the best of Tim Moore's stable, ranking below Do Not Pass Go. That said, it's normal for fans to rate new books worse then the old ones, purely out of unfamiliarity.
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The British may pretend to have no time for Eurovision but it's always the Brits, I notice, behind the books, theatre pieces and TV documentaries about Eurovision. Usually the combination of this annual Euro-pop jamboree and British hack ends with tired old Eurosceptic cliches about 'Johnny foreigner', 'political voting' and 'awful' music. To his credit Tim Moore resists playing to the gallery in this way and has properly researched his subject matter. I'm relieved he got to this idea first ahead of a lesser writer who would have served up a lame, half-baked and misinformed dog's dinner of a book. Moore's work would translate into an excellent TV documentary but given the clueless BBC's attitude to the Contest, don't hold your breath. Meanwhile, thanks to the wonders of Youtube I'm off to check out the hapless nul pointers myself.
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