Europe's Alternative Military Parade

Level C1 Advanced

Most empires like to demonstrate their awesome power and might- a column of tanks here, rows of clockwork soliders there, plus a few rocket launchers for effect. A couple of sympathetic despots get an invitation to bring their toys along as well, to dilute the impression of megalomaniacal self-absorption. In Europe, we like to call our parade 'The Eurovision Song Contest'.

Of course, Eurovision is completely apolitical, as our hosts had to remind us last night. It has absolutely nothing to do with grubby politicking, even though France always votes for Belgium, Norway for Sweden, and Azerbaijan for Georgia.Last night it will not have gone unnoticed in Red Square that the Baltic States snubbed 'mother Russia', or that the excellent Russian entry was subjected to some catcalling by the international audience in Vienna.

Indeed the parade did nothing to dispell national stereotypes: France were clearly still recovering from economic recession and depressed us with a chanson backed by images of death and destruction reminiscent of the French Revolution; the UK was stuck in the past, sometime around 1920;plucky little Montenegro at least had the guts to sing in their own language. Serbia was proud to be large; the Greek heroine was a classical beauty and proud; the Aussies were sizzling like kangaroo burgers on a BBQ; the Germans should have just stuck to manufacturing the BBQ.

'Building bridges' was the theme for the Eurovision parade- bridges between nations, religions, black and white, gay and straight. Our power spanned the globe, all the way to Australia! Lovely Aussies distant, yet welcome to join the fun fest. So it was party of the year for Europe, champers all round and feel the love in the room. Just don't forget- it's strictly by invitation only, don't ask too many of the neighbours- especially those likely to rock up by boat.

Slang terms:

Aussies- Autralians

champers - champagne

fun fest- a big party or festival

rock up- turn up

 

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