The Eurovision 2018 Review: Day 31

If you have absolutely no knowledge, connection or experience of my home town Liverpool, today you’re going to learn a brand new word. Are you excited? Would you like me to tell you what that word is? Here we go.

Meff.

For the uninitiated, a meff is someone perfectly harmless, loveable even. The only thing separating a meff from the remainder of the populace are those unfortunate, defining moments they (among other meffery-branding actions) try to act a bit cool, be funny or stand out from the crowd with a distinctive look. In every ill-advised case they fall flat on their face, instantly branded either a ‘proper’ or ‘big’ meff by supposedly more sophisticated Merseyside-based onlookers. It’s even worse when a meff tries to dance.

Now let me make one thing clear. This doesn’t mean you would never have a meff in your gang, or even marry one. Everyone loves a meff. In many ways, calling your mate a meff is the ultimate sign of affection. But it’s a distinctly Scouse piece of phraseology and one that’s going to come in very handy today.

If you need an example before we go any further, here’s the perfect one. Cliff Richard is without doubt King of the Meffs.

Picture him trying to look a bit funky on the sleeve of his Motown covers album; rollerbooting in the Wired for Sound video without any sense of irony; swaying his arms far too enthusiastically during the climax of Mistletoe and Wine or that dance to Power to All Our Friends. Such actions could never be deemed cool under any criteria. Truly, he is a proper meff. Beloved by a few – but definitely a meff.

So, are we sorted on what a meff is? Good.

Let’s talk about this year’s song from Norway.

Returning 2009 champ Alexander Rybak thinks he is a very cool young man, what with his Motor City-type riffs and air guitar that’s helped along with graphics from the Smiggle shop. He even guides the lyrics of his Sesame Street-type ditty along with hand actions, demonstrating how one should write down an idea, play the drums, or thump out a melody on the piano. We were none the wiser beforehand so cheers for that Alex.

But let’s examine the ways in which That’s How You Write A Song is a Rybak masterclass.

See how Alexander tells of a song’s composing process without referring to the hours of dark despair, swearing, cigarettes, bottles of whisky and taking an axe to your keyboard. How he wants people of all ages joining in with his performance because that’s how universal he knows his music to be. How he thinks the writing camps churning out album fillers for the biggest names in the business really do believe in every last line of their compositions. How that really is the way to pen a tune. How having a ‘skiddly-bop’ break towards the end of his performance will make people realise he’s the next Sammy Davis Jr.

These are all things Alexander Rybak thinks. And we all know why he thinks that. It’s been glaring us in the face since the start of this review.

Alexander Rybak is a proper, proper meff.

How well he does at Eurovision 2018 all depends on how much Europe loves him being one. And how long that blimmin’ guitar riff stays in its collective head before the phonelines open.

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