This weekend I settled down with some relatives to watch my very first Eurovision Song Contest in fifteen years. Would it live up to my memories? I wondered. Or has the Eurovision changed beyond recognition -- like Radio One and MTV, belonging to a new generation, the one about 10-20 years younger than me, now wearing leggings, ballet pumps, bat-wing tops, and mulletty hair-dos (just like *I* did, long ago...) But Eurovision did not disappoint. It is still as deliciously awful as ever, still an opportunity for superior Brits to chortle as each and every European country (and that includes Isreal, go figure!) entered their 'top' artists in a 'pop' contest.
Britain is still united this time of year, not because we are rooting as a nation for our entry to win (we came a resounding last, and no one cared) but because we come together in a collective sense of superiority -- a) we are a nation with a long history of producing good music, and so any sense of 'competition' is a farce, and b) we just adore watching as young hipster presenters from Turkey, Serbia, and Iceland butcher the English language with attempts to make the funny jokes and ha ha-s for de international audience. (Yep, the English is still the colonizing language, and don't you forget it!) It's especially funny when the French commentators come on, because they refuse to speak English, and so everyone gets confused when they pronouce 'huit point' for "Arr-may" and no one quite knows which country they are referring to (Armenian, fyi).
But mainly it's the acts. And this year did not fail to disappoint. As soon as I set eyes on the Russian performance 'I Believe' by Dima Bilan, it was clear we had a winner. It was not the overwrought lyrics and wild flayling of limbs in a white open shirt and bare chest that did it for me, nor was it the dramatically writhing solo violinist that accompanied the singer, though these were gifts enough. No. It was the ice-skating.
If you want to share in the whole experience, check it here. (If you want to skip to the good part -- John Denver on Skates -- then fast forward to about 2:30 minutes in)
Part Two (Yes, that's all very well, Joy, but, like WTF???!)
I know. I know. I won't pretend I've not been tempted to just put an 'On Indefinite Hiatus 'post up and give the blog an official breather, but I've never quite been able to do it. I know if I do that, there is a strong chance I'll not come back to it, and while I am not as sure about where blogging fits into my life as I did in those first breathless and excited years, I am not ready to give up on it yet. I've mentioned before, but one reason I find blogging very different right now is that since moving back to the UK I have skewed sense of audience and purpose.
I was chatting to my cousin about it this weekend (and how nice is it to be able to have a cousin over for a weekend) but it's really a simple fact that the context I once shared with other bloggers is not the same any more. The shift here is less about the move to England (though massive this is -- case in point, Eurovision Song contest post that will likely mean very little to you!) and more about the fact that I have so little spare time, and this means I can't read you all and engage in conversation (although I am seriously thrilled that my old partner in crime, Her Bad Mother, has pushed out that boy child, and in a jiffy too!) As I struggle to write a post now, I realise it's not that I don't have material (I have spades of it, obviously). It's because I feel like I am throwing stuff out there, but not really taking part in any sort of community activity (yes. I know that sounds hopelessly cheesy). I can't reciprocate, comment, react, or support any more -- or at least I can't to the same degree. I have very little clue what's going on with everyone, and BlogHer and other conferences last year suddenly seem a very long time ago. It's like looking back at a parallel version of myself.
oh GOD! How tedious and self-absorbed. Ennui...
So long story short, if I am going to keep up this blogging lark, I have to find a different sense of purpose and motivation. You lot are very motivating, but to reap the benefit of that motivation you need to be present, and I'm not and really can't be in the same way. So, will it become writing for writing's sake? What does blogging from this space really mean?
We are still Bastard People, and buying a property in England is bastard hard-work. Many moons (but just two posts) ago I said we were likely buying a house. That likelihood has increased dramatically, and it looks like we're set to decamp from this mould-infested rental in a couple of weeks. This both pleases and grips me with stomach-twisting fear. Not ANOTHER move. Not another massive change, another school to settle Jack into. The whole process has been complicated horribly by the hoops we've had to go through with surveys and searches and reports, and the mad things that happen when many many parties miscommunicate with one another.
This rental might be mould-infested, but at least it feels relatively familiar now, and there's a Waitrose in walking distance.
I console myself with images of new fitted kitchens, restored fireplaces, and freshly painted Edwardian rooms. I try not to think about the 30 year dank decor that will greet us on arrival, smoke-stained and stinking of doggies, which we'll have to remove with steam and vigorous applications of chemicals and elbow grease. I tell myself that bashing down the 1970s tile that covers the fireplaces will be fun. The knocking down of the wall between kitchen and dining room, a gas. All sorts of dangerous things for Sam, our now 18 month old, encounter and likely eat.
But still, Spring has sprung in England, and we have become members of the National Trust. This means we have purchased sensible walking shoes and cagoules for the family so we can enjoy bracing and damp days out at Tatton and Lyme Park to name but a few. I'm learning to enjoy my family in a different way, and have never had so much fun at a wedding as I did a few weeks back when my little brother got hitched.
Life is definitely good, but it's also more different than I ever anticipated it would be.