Ewan Spence looks beyond the sequins, pyrotechnics and key changes to explore what Eurovision really means, from the finer details of the contest to the myth of political voting. This book examines whether the best song ever wins, the media perception of the contest and the ability of this mad, wonderful institution to represent Europe and the people of the continent.
More than just the three shows
Ewan adds "Eurovision is more than three hours on a Saturday night in May. It’s something that lives and breathes throughout the year. But what happens between the end of one contest and the start of the next? In those fifty weeks before rehearsals start once more, the Song Contest doesn’t stop. It doesn’t die. It’s still a huge sprawling exploration of culture, music, people, and politics."
Ewan visited many publishers in the United Kingdom to bounce around the book idea, and it was the Guardian who he decided to work with. Elaborating on some of the content of the book, Ewan adds "I focused on telling the story of the year and build up to Baku, and we had budget to go to three national selections, they were Switzerland as it was the first final, Austria as there was a direct flight from Edinburgh!, and the Andra Chansen second chance round in Sweden, as it's something different. We also visited the Eurovision in concert in Amsterdam."
There is also another dimension to Beyond The Sequins, where Ewan addresses some of the often asked questions regarding Europe's Favourite TV Show. He explains "The other part of the book is an in depth look at such arguments as the best song never wins. Well, there is more detail about this in the book, where research tells that actually the best song does generally tend to win. Also we cover the political voting issue, let's say for example there was no United Kingdom, and we had instead entries from Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and England sent Elton John, everyone in Scotland would vote for that as they have a cultural connection. Take Dino Merlin last year for Bosnia & Herzegovina, there is a shared heritage and culture for his music across the Balkans. In 2003, nobody deliberately voted against Jemini for the UK, they sang off key, don't blame politics!."
The book is a mini travelogue following Ewan's Euro adventures. He comments "It's the story of the build up to 2012, most people in general only watch their own countries national final, but we have over 800 songs in the national selections, you get to hear 42 during the three shows, and just one wins. You are missing out on some great music, and this is how Beyond The Sequins idea was born."