This year, St Patrick’s day came and went, awash in pints of Irish stout and huge comedy hats, as is the custom. Laughably, though, the marketing boffins thought it would be a good idea to try to dupe the public into extending the whole shebang into a ‘St Patrick’s Weekend’ so that they might extract a few bob more from unsuspecting revellers. That’s the thing about the general public, though - they might be prepared to wear daft titfers once a year but they’re not daft at all. The marketing gurus lost and the celebration remained steadfastly a twenty-four hour experience, just as it should be.
Football, being some kind of all-conquering drug which apparently seeps into people’s veins by osmosis during the night is the only area where this kind of mass manipulation actually works, I think. If it were left to the money-grubbing authorities, matches would be at least four days long with five hundred substitutions per team allowed. Seasons would last the whole twelve months instead of the current measly ten or eleven and teams would be permitted to change their official strips every other day in order to maximise sales of replica kits at a price rounded up to a very reasonable one hundred and fifty euros. Scarily, I suspect few fans would bat an eyelid.
Anyway, that’s football, a law unto its tawdry self. The really scary example of squeezing the lemon dry is Eurovision. As if witnessing the grand final each year weren’t torture enough, we’re now being offered two semifinals into the bargain, stretching the whole excruciating experience out into three interminable evenings. How bad would a song have to be to reach the semifinal of Eurovision but not make the final? Actually, come to think of it, that would be a far more entertaining format, with the objective being to compose something so poor that it only made it to the semifinal. Quite a challenge, I’ll be bound. Oh, I know, there’s been the odd decent effort down the years e.g. ABBA’s Waterloo, Cliff Richard’s Power To All Our Friends and Rosa’s Europe’s Living A Celebration (just kidding, ABBA are the example of the genre, obviously).
Still, the competition has its loyal fans and millions across the continent will tune in on Saturday to see whether their country’s tuneless ‘boom sha la la’ is deemed better than everyone else’s.
All that’ll be missing will be loads of humungous hats with ‘Eurovision Weekend 2017’ written on them. Maybe next year.