Eurovision

#THE REAL ME: Eurovision Memories from David Shardlow

#THE REAL ME: Eurovision Memories from David Shardlow

Eurovision Ireland asked fan David Shardlow for a Eurovision song that means something to him. He tells us his story…

I was just eleven years old at the time and A Song For Europe for me, was more important than the Eurovision Song Contest itself. This was probably due to the fact it finished earlier in the evening, so I was allowed to watch the entire show. I remember having a boyhood crush on Lynsey de Paul (I think it was the pronounced beauty spot on her right cheek that did it for me!). I loved some of her previous songs such as Sugar Me, No Honestly, Won’t Somebody Dance With Me etc and she had a bubbly personality making many TV appearances such as The Two Ronnies and Celebrity Squares.

I remember waiting excitedly for A Song For Europe to come on the TV with my handmade score sheet close by, along with customary Cheese and Onion Crusty Cob, Walkers Salt ‘n’ Vinegar Crisps and a vivid red can of Coca Cola. Imagine the young Shardy’s devastation of being informed only moments before the schedule event, that a strike by BBC cameramen meant the show would not be aired! Strikes were not uncommon to me, growing up in the 1970’s. Power cuts often hit my Derbyshire home in the early 70s and around 1977 I remember bread rations because of the bakery strike, the firefighters strike and also threats of big TV shows not being aired because of cameramen strikes. 

My joy of realising that I could listen to the national final a few hours later on BBC Radio 2 was soon turned into tears of sorrow, on being told that 9pm start was too late for a young eleven year old boy. However, my determination to listen to the contest was undefeated as I plotted to defy my parents uncompromising ground rule. So at 9pm sharp, when lights were out and I was kissed goodnight, my trusted Auritone pocket radio came out as I frantically and quietly tuned into Radio 2, praying that the Ever Ready Batteries would last for around 90 minutes.

I turned the volume down low and put the little black radio under my pillow as I triumphed in listening to my most memorable A Song For Europe ever and to my lovely Lynsey alongside the former Blue Mink drummer (remember Banner man and Melting Pot), Mike Moran. I could only faintly hear the contest as I tried to maintain the secrecy but this did not stop my enjoyment. There were some memorable songs from the outstanding Lynn Paul of New Seekers fame, The ‘Build Me Up Buttercup’ hit makers Foundations and two close favourites to win the contest, Mary Mason (finished second) and Rags , a trio including Bucks Fizz manager and founder Jill Shirley and Nichola Martin. 

Rock Bottom romped home as winners and were clearly my favourite at the time and I had to contain my excitement and not to disturb my sleeping household. The next day, armed with three weeks worth of pocket money, I went to Gilberts, a local electrical appliance and record shop in my home town to purchase the winning song for the grand sum of 75 pence. I remember clearly my devastation at being told the single had not been released as yet and  I pre-ordered this to collect a few weeks later.

The UK entrant came second in what is also my all time favourite Eurovision Song Contest. I realised that Germany’s Silver Convention and Ireland’s Swarbriggs plus Two were strong competition for the United Kingdom duo. I loved the campness and brilliance of Austria’s Boom Boom Boomerang, I clapped along happily with Finland’s iconic Monica Aspelund and minced along with the Spanish Micky.

I still maintain that Le Royaume Uni were robbed by Marie Myriam which I thought was a ghastly song at the time. 43 years on,this song is now one of my all time favourites but it never ever will top my love for Rock Bottom, not necessarily for the song quality but for my patriotism, nostalgia and my beloved Miss de Paul.

Have you got a Eurovision song that means something to you? Tell us what it is, and it could feature in a future edition of ‘The Real Me’.

Authors: David Shardlow, John Stanton

Source: Eurovision Ireland

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