I have just heard the staggering news – Englebert Humperdinck is going to be our official representative in the Eurovision Song Contest. The 75 year old veteran – a legendary crooner of popular romantic song – will stand up for Britain in the notorious arena of kitsch, bad taste, backstabbing and occasional genius (I have to say something complimentary!). Who can doubt this troubadour’s singing ability? He has style, he has grace, he has unaffected charm, and that indefinable thing we can only describe as the swoon factor (I have it myself). But will that take him through? Will that enable him to lift the World Cup of song? Will he sweep all before him, and, like Attila the Hun, defeat the hordes of Europe wherever they assemble? NOT UNLESS HE HAS THE RIGHT SONG.
A song? A song! Now what would be the right song for this master of the ballad? Listen to his acclaimed rendition of ‘Please Release Me’ below (never mind the advert):
(Incidentally, I’ve noticed he bears a striking resemblance to myself, even including his singing style.) Inimitable, soul stirring and heart-warming, these are the words that spring to mind when we listen to such music. But these are different times. We cannot live in the past forever. We must face up to the harsh realities of the modern world, take in new genres, broaden our horizons, and yet maintain the tenderness, the romance, the gentle spirit that says – LOVE (trust me on this one; it’s going to get better). And so we find, from the vast archives of music, few songs that meet our requirement. Some are bold – but lack gentleness – some are passionate – but are far too loud for our tastes. So finally we are left with a small number of choice morsels, masterpieces in miniature, that release the full flavour of music only to the discerning palette.
Therefore, I have concluded there can be only ONE song that meets all these criteria – that expresses the spirit of romance in the modern vernacular. I say, to be victorious in the Eurovision song contest, to win over the squabbling Eastern Europeans, the unholy cabal of Greece and Cyprus, the bizarre relationship of France with Germany, THIS is the song that will unite the masses of Europe, bring East and West together, and give the veteran 75 year old the scope to sing and dance in the manner that befits the one, the only, the King of Romance: