Wednesday, 11 May 2016

The Eurovision Song Contest - A Song for Slow TV?

Watching the first semi final for the Eurovision Song Contest 2016 I was delighted to hear a song which could well be a song for Slow TV. Writing this blog post has caused me to think over Slowness in media, Norway and Eurovision.

Back in 2014, The Common Linnets' song "Calm After the Storm" got my vote - a stand out acoustic country music song - and many others must have felt similar as it came second, behind Conchita Wurst.

Well, this year The Netherlands is back with another fine acoustic number - which on the basis of this first semi final stands out because of that. With a title and chorus of "Slow Down" and a meaning of using a decelerating technique to solve a problem, well, its link to one of the dynamics of Slow Television and Slowness becomes clear.

Relax, take it easy and allow a more organic pace of being enable the way forward to be found.

Eurovision in some respects could be thought of as a form of Slow TV in that it's a long live televised event, but only in that way. If you keep in mind the editing pace - how quickly it's cut between different camera angles - it absolutely is not Slow TV. It is also meticulously planned in camera angles, lighting, stage effects - and everything apart from the voting is worked out in advance.

Now, Norway has a winning formula with NRK's Slow TV - perhaps for a future year someone ought to write a Slow TV song for their Eurovision entry? Norway has so far won three times. The upbeat Eurovision pop of La Det Swinge from Bobbysocks in 1985, Alexander Rybak in 2009 with Fairytale - a little slower - but not as slow as their 1995 winner.

Nocturne from Secret Garden won in 1995. It surely must be the slowest Eurovision winner? Also notable about it, is that it is almost entirely instrumental. Have a look and listen to the below clip; the whole pace of the piece is dreamy - very much at home within the Enya and Clannad school of music. So, you could argue Norway has an antecedent for Slowness in the Eurovision Song Contest.

Remarkably noticeable is the pace of the camera changes, the near static performance of the group and compare the lighting and stage effects with the contest's stimulation-fest of today. You don't have to keep up with the editing - it's relaxed and calming.

Like Slow TV in the mainstream media landscape of today is noticeable with its calmness, Nocturne stands out hugely in the history of Eurovision for its feel. With music writers like Stargate, or A-ha - or someone like Kari Bremnes (not that far from the feel of Nocturne), there are ample world-quality established names who could use Slow TV to inform a Eurovision Song Contest entry. Just a thought.

So, this year, it's The Netherlands to bring something slower to a contest you either love, or love to hate. I don't know which song will get my vote in the end (I loved Armenia and Austria's entries - and haven't heard the other 20 entries yet) - but for the sake of Slowness, this blog celebrates 'Slow Down'. Good luck, Douwe Bob!

Related content: What was so right with Russia's War and Peace Slow TV?

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