Simply Divine


I can’t remember a time when I’ve ever been hyped for Eurovision. Even with the lack of live acts on at the moment, you still won’t find me sitting down to watch Eurovision this evening. With its mediocre music, petty politics and the recent inclusion of the European nation of Australia, I see it as an event that continues to run into its 7th decade solely due to its entertainment value (and the wads of money that generates).

But like a needle in a Eurovision sponsored haystack, there is one Eurovision moment that I have forever valued ever since I became aware of its ridiculous occurrence. Around 2012 to 2013 I became particularly intrigued by the French house and electro scenes and in particular the jokers among Ed Banger Records. What I remember as a bunch of hilariously French characters in Busy P’s growing label had me reaching peak fanboy status during my time at uni.

The grooves that arose from the catchy piano riffs to the contrastingly dark and heavy synth work were what caught my attention, but it was the personalities behind all that that reeled me in. The public displays of nonchalance shown by Breakout and Justice, two artists whose productions couldn’t be further from each other - have a listen to Breakbot’s disco piano riff on Baby I’m Yours and follow it up with a streaming of Justice’s music video for Stress to see the level of contrasts we’re talking about here. The mysteriousness of the part-musician part-film director Mr Oizo and his furry yellow partner in crime Flat Eric who reached international puppet fame in his appearance in a Levi’s ad in 1999. Ed Banger doesn’t do vanilla. So when I heard that one of the Ed Banger brigade had represented the entire French nation in Eurovision, I wasn’t exactly surprised.

Being the precursor for Austria’s female bearded victor in 2014, France’s 2008 Eurovision Contest entry commenced with a number of (I presume French) bearded men and women questionably providing backing vocals as Sebastien Tellier rolled onto the stage in a golf cart with a helium-filled beach ball under arm. The frenchman clearly knew how to work a limited budget. Sebastien parked his French whip in centre stage and proceeded to perform a stellar rendition of his original track Divine to a crowd of international judges and crowd-goers that ranked him a very respectable 19th (…out of 25). Sebastien Tellier and his catchy upbeat sing-along song was arguably just too ahead of its time. A release of this nature in 2021 by some photogenic influencer would make it far higher up the European charts than a measly 19th.

Apparently Russia took home the European bacon that year. Nevertheless, Sebastien Tellier propelled himself to stardom in the eyes of many by having the audacity to even compete in such a competition. Sebastien’s performance of Divine sums up Eurovision in a way. Yes, it’s a singing contest with an eventual winner and losers, but the main aim of the event is not to put in hard work and sacrifices in the hope that meritocracy is rewarded with the grand prize. Rather, it’s a night to let go a bit, have a bit of fun and provide some entertainment for all those watching on their Saturday night sofas.

Whether the idea to run was initially jotted down on the back of a fag packet during a conversation at a bar, or while sat at home watching the 2007 version saying jokingly saying he could do better, Sebastien Tellier should be proud to represent his country on an international stage, even if it is Eurovision. After all, I can’t see him getting in their World Cup squad any time soon.