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In a sea of whisky, we‘re castaways and who can find us
March 1, 2013 5:04 AM   Subscribe

Eurovision, the annual offering of musical culture from the continent to a sometimes bewildered world, approaches. Greece have decided that they can now afford to send an entry to the finals in Sweden this May, using private sponsorship. Their entry, winning the national selection contest, is the Rebetiko-infused "Alcohol is free", an anti-austerity song performed by Koza Mostra and Agathonas Iakovidis.

Higher quality video but with distracting logos, and another version.

A rough translation of the lyrics into English.
posted by Wordshore (34 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
The sound is good. The performance is good.
posted by Goofyy at 5:14 AM on March 1, 2013


Alcohol: free, as in beer.
posted by basicchannel at 5:18 AM on March 1, 2013


I'm a little surprised they're sending anyone because, of course, the prize for winning Eurovision is hosting (and paying for) the next one. This has all the makings of Eurovision gold, which either means they're going to do really badly and not make the final (I don't think Greece has an automatic entry) or come perilously close to winning. It's a good bet that Finland were trying not to win the year they sent Lordi. Of course, we all know to look to Britain to know how to ensure Eurovision failure--don't attempt to subvert Eurovision, send the most bland, crap, least memorable act you can find.
posted by hoyland at 5:26 AM on March 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


That's a good song; Greece has been doing pretty well recently*, and that might push them over the top to a winning. As hoyland points out, winning is probably not good for Greece.

I also love that we got an old man playing with his worry beads at the beginning, just in case we were worried that the song wasn't Greek enough.

*Fuck it, I'll cop to liking "Aphrodisiac" and obviously "OPA!" was pure gold.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 5:30 AM on March 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


12 points from Cyprus!
posted by Wordshore at 5:31 AM on March 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


They don't have to host it if they can't afford it, although it's not happened for a few decades (last time in 1980). Traditionally the BBC step in to host if this is the case, but last time the Netherlands hosted when Israel declined to host despite winning.
posted by sarahdal at 5:31 AM on March 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


an anti-austerity song

Sure to get lots of votes from Germany, the Netherlands, and even the host country of high tax paying Swedes which runs an annual budget surplus and where "free alcohol" is an affront to Systembolaget shoppers who pay some of the highest alcohol taxes in the world. There are many reasons why Greece is broke and Sweden isn't and perhaps the Greeks might want to start singing about those things instead.

It would be more appropriate for the Greeks to have sent a busker with a tin cup.
posted by three blind mice at 6:01 AM on March 1, 2013


...David Crosby joined a boy band?

Huh.
posted by MrVisible at 6:06 AM on March 1, 2013


I don't think Greece has an automatic entry

United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy and Spain get in the final. The big TV markets, basically.
posted by jaduncan at 6:14 AM on March 1, 2013


There's a commercial for a local Greek restaurant here in SoCal that runs on cable, and it's everything you can imagine a commercial for a Greek restaurant would be... and then at the end the voiceover guy says, "OPA!"

It seemed pretty random, so I Googled the term and the first link was the Urban Dictionary, which defined it thusly: 'a word that greek people use for no apparent reason at all.' So now every time the commercial comes on my wife and I echo the guy... "OPA!"

Little does she know that the real reason I don't fast forward though the commercial is the pretty dancing lady....
posted by Huck500 at 6:24 AM on March 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Of course, we all know to look to Britain to know how to ensure Eurovision failure--don't attempt to subvert Eurovision, send the most bland, crap, least memorable act you can find.
posted by hoyland at 5:26 AM on March 1 [1 favorite −] Favorite added! [!]


And we get to be all condescendingly ironic and superior about it too! it's great fun
posted by Bwithh at 6:38 AM on March 1, 2013


In college I went to a Greek restaurant, where the waiters would bring out some sort of dish of cheese that was also on fire and all yell "OPA!" It was the first time I'd heard the word, so I decided it meant "here's your fucking flaming cheese."

My fourth grade instruction in context clues served me well, since it turns out I was only slightly wrong.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 6:48 AM on March 1, 2013 [6 favorites]


Controversy at Eurovision 2013 is likely to come via one of the other early favorites, Switzerland. Their selected performers for Eurovision, the group Heilsarmee, consists of six member of the Salvation Army.
posted by Wordshore at 7:51 AM on March 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Opa is lot like "whoah!"; it can be whoah, are we having fun or what? Or, whoah, can you believe s/he just said that? Or whoah, whoah, hold up! Or whoah – BURN!! For a few examples.

Not exactly like "whoah," but maybe a kissing cousin.
posted by taz at 7:53 AM on March 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


There are many reasons why Greece is broke and Sweden isn't and perhaps the Greeks might want to start singing about those things instead.

Because Eurovision entries are a perfect representation of national character.

It would be more appropriate for the Greeks to have sent a busker with a tin cup.


Thanks for the condescension.
posted by ersatz at 7:53 AM on March 1, 2013 [6 favorites]


*ahem*
THIS IS TOO EARLY FOR A EUROVISION POST. MY VODKA ISN'T EVEN PURCHASED, MUCH LESS INFUSED, OR CHILLED.
*ahem*

I need warning for Euorvision people.
Like a hard rock sphere of love that is in orbit all the way around me, I am not ready for its return.
posted by Mezentian at 8:07 AM on March 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


Well, it's no My Lovely Horse.

Now that that's out of the way, let's talk about the link ...
posted by barnacles at 8:15 AM on March 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


and where "free alcohol" is an affront to Systembolaget shoppers who pay some of the highest alcohol taxes in the world.

By the way, tax and excise duty make up 63% of retail price of spirits in Greece (p. 38). There is no "free alcohol".
posted by ersatz at 8:16 AM on March 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


There might even be an upset in Sweden by Sweden. Their internal selection is 2/3rds through now (four heats done & dusted; "second chance" & actual final to come) and the field is wide open. One of the big dark horses is a song called "This is Another Fucking Schlager Song" by a bunch of old comedians and musical stars who even do a hilarious boyband dance to it. If Sweden is tired of Eurovision hype, this could win.

(TOO SOON? It's NEVER too soon for a Eurovision post!)
posted by kariebookish at 8:51 AM on March 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


Interesting--anyone else hear a distinctly Kurt Weill sound in the opening bars? It's like "Alabama Song" suddenly gets Greeked.
posted by yoink at 8:51 AM on March 1, 2013


THIS IS TOO EARLY ...

Compiling the FPP on the 2016 US Presidential Election, ready for posting as soon as Mr Cortex goes on holiday so it has some chance of staying up for at least a few minutes before being scythed.

It's never too early.
posted by Wordshore at 9:00 AM on March 1, 2013


I don't want to miss Eurovision this time around... what's the best way to watch the performances and follow along as the contest progresses?
posted by naju at 9:13 AM on March 1, 2013


This might be the best place to mention some other 2013 contenders.

Estonia is deciding tomorrow - right now ESC fans are wondering if the contest is ready to embrace Winny Puhh's "Meiecundimees üks Korsakov läks eile Lätti" (the camera work is as .. interesting .. as the song)

Norway's Margaret Berger is emerging as an early favourite (much like eventual winner Loreen did last year?) with the Depeche Mode-meets-Garbage-esque Feed You My Love

Germany is sending Cascada, a very popular dance act who's had mega-hits across Europe for the past decade. Just north of the border, Denmark is sending a descendant of Queen Victoria

Finland is sending what's probably best described as Fifty Shades of Katy Perry

Finally, Latvia is sending what can best be described as something left-over from British commercial radio circa 1996. PeR sounds like a cross between E17 and Primal Scream.. it's odd and quite dated but also oddly infectious if slightly awful.

I clearly gravitate towards Scandinavia, the Baltics and Northern Europe so somebody else had better cover the rest ;)
posted by kariebookish at 9:23 AM on March 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


I've seldom felt as bad for enjoying something as I did just listening to that Finland song. I love the up beat poppiness, but a song that literally says "I'm skipping meals to lose weight, why won't you marry me?" is hard to like without reservation.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 9:28 AM on March 1, 2013


Estonia is deciding tomorrow - right now ESC fans are wondering if the contest is ready to embrace Winny Puhh's "Meiecundimees üks Korsakov läks eile Lätti yt " (the camera work is as .. interesting .. as the song)

These guys are great! If only it was the Eurovision Dadaist Provocation competition.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 10:49 AM on March 1, 2013


Bosnia-Hercegovina withdrew from Eurovision. :( then again they always get robbed.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 11:28 AM on March 1, 2013


Greece is my favourite of this year's entries chosen so far. (Two of my usual favourites in ESC, Turkey and Bosnia, are not taking part this year, I am heartbroken.)

Greece's eternal ESC enemy the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia also has a fun entry with the fabulous Romani diva Esma Redžepova.
posted by Bektashi at 2:43 PM on March 1, 2013


When i was last in Greece, my friend fed me (well, there isn't a liquid version of that verb is there?) rakomelo, which is not-disgusting-tasting raki heated with honey (and i bit of water i think), i seriously don't get on with alcohol, i fall asleep or get depressed, but this was heaven, even the suicidal girlfriend cheered up. Recommend.
posted by maiamaia at 3:24 PM on March 1, 2013


I like it. You can dance to it*. I'll give it a 9, Dick!

*that is, you can bounce up and down to it
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:24 PM on March 1, 2013


BTW, that rough translation link has a really nasty popup window that just won't quit, so as a public service I'd like to post the translation here and spare you all the misery and heartache of page diversion...

Alcohol is free

The heavy sea found us (when we were passing) through Via Egnatia1
Beaufort forces take us on the open sea
The course might be a little wrong, who is playing with the lights?
And the (ship’s) fore is heading towards Grevena2

In a sea of whisky
(we ‘re) castaways and who can find us
And the whole earth gets dizzy, staggers

(Someone) with his head like a strainer
And the car like a fishing boat
Who has put it wheel and sail?

Alcohol, alcohol, alcohol is free (x3)
Alcohol is free, alcohol is free

(There’s) wave and it’s raging
And the mermaid is asking
But Alekos is drunk, fair lady

(There’s a) traffic light in the midlle of the sea
Dude, we were found out
Who took my little house far away, far away?

The heavy sea found us (when we were passing) through Via Egnatia
Beaufort forces take us on the open sea
The course might be a little wrong, who is playing with the lights?
And the (ship’s) fore is heading towards Grevena

The heavy sea found us (when we were passing) through Via Egnatia
Beaufort forces take us on the open sea
The course might be a little wrong, who is playing with the lights?
And the (ship’s) fore is heading towards Grevena

The whisky is not to blame
The ice cubes were bombs3
Even the boat eventually has wheels

Alcotest and traffic cop
The road wasn’t made for us
A downhill is starting in the sea

Alcohol, alcohol, alcohol is free (x3)
Alcohol is free, alcohol is free
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:28 PM on March 1, 2013


And that guy's mustache alone should win Eurovision, as far as I'm concerned.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:28 PM on March 1, 2013


The Estonia Eurovision qualifying event can be watched live online later today. There are also qualifiers for Armenia, Bulgaria, Hungary and Serbia that can be seen online.

Central european time is six hours ahead of US eastern time, so those online events are Saturday early afternoon for US viewers.
posted by Wordshore at 3:02 AM on March 2, 2013


Finland is sending what's probably best described as Fifty Shades of Katy Perry yt

Not only is that awful, it seems to have been directed by the same guy who gave us Batman & Robin.

And was written by some psycho.
Anyone professing their love, having changed their name and wearing a wedding dress, waiting for a proposal: not someone you should want to be in a relationship with.

Also, as a long-tern Eurovision watcher: there are more than six people on stage.
posted by Mezentian at 9:30 AM on March 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


You can also watch Andra Chansen live from SVT if your tastes lean more towards camp Swedish acts.
posted by kariebookish at 10:34 AM on March 2, 2013


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