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The arts diary: Eurovision Song Contest

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: May 11, 2014

By Colin Davison

Conchita

Conchita

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Love Italy, love pasta. Think of the French, cheese comes to mind. And we Brits were long known as “roast-beefs.”

Meanwhile German-speakers seem happy to be associated with sausages. Why else should Herr Thomas Neuwirth assume the name of Conchita Wurst?

The rest of Europe clearly shares her love of cylindrical lengths of minced pork, as the bearded, drag-queen Fraulein Sausage scored a clear victory in the Eurovision Song Contest.

The burghers – should that be burgers? – continue their sausagenous celebration at Buxton Festival in July with Austrian H.K. Gruber’s darkly absurd comic opera Gloria – A Pigtale, a piece with overtones of Orwell’s Animal Farm, performed by five human frankfurters.

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Despite the farcical comedy, both are statements against intolerance. Miss Wurst’s victory is therefore all the sweeter for her appearance having been condemned by some Russian anti-gay politicians.

With all this recognition of a nation’s culinary treasure, it is tempting to regard in a new light President Kennedy’s speech on his historic visit to the Berlin Wall.

“Ich bin ein Berliner,” he told his audience. What he wanted to say, as was famously pointed out, should have been translated as “Ich bin Berliner.”

The words he actually used meant “I am a sausage.” Aren’t we all?

Colin Davison

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