Earlier this month Liberties Press launched a new book, What's Another Year? Ireland's First Five Decades In Eurovision, by Mick Lynch. Today we're catching up with Mick to ask him a few questions about himself and his love of Europe's favorite song contest.
1. What is it about The Eurovision that you have found so compelling and when exactly did your interest in the competition begin?
I'm patriotic like every other person when Ireland are participating against other countries - you always want them to win. In the 80s it was pre-internet, so TV was the highlight for us. I was so into my music then. When Dublin hosted the 1981 event I became aware of it even more so, and I loved all the pop winners of the mid-80s like The Herreys - 'Diggi Loo Diggi Ley' and the Bobbysocks - 'Let it Swing.'
2. Who is your favorite act in all the years of Eurovision?
I don't have a favourite act. I'm a huge fan of Cliff Richard, Nino DeAngelo, Shay Healy, Brendan Graham, and all the Irish acts over the years have done their country proud (except Dustin possibly), but it's hard not to pick ABBA because the career they created because of Eurovision was something special. With or without Eurovision, ABBA would have made it regardless. That was just their launching pad.
3. What is your favourite Eurovision moment?
There's so many, and they're all Irish moments. Everytime we've won, but especially 1994, when we got Riverdance. I saw the dress rehearsal the day before, and the hair stood up on the back of my neck, as I didnt know what was coming. The genius of Bill Whelan.
4. There’s an old stereotype that the Eurovision is determined by block-voting and political allegiance –how political do you think the Eurovision is?
Not anymore, I don't think. Obviously when Russia split we got all of these newly independent countries and from 2001 onwards there was loads of them, so naturally they voted for each other because they understood the songs more (similar to how the Irish would understand an English song). I don't think it's political anymore.
5. Who has been the biggest surprise for you as a winning act?
6. Why do you think Ireland has historically been so successful in the Eurovision?
We talk about this in the book and back in the 80s and 90s Irish songwriters wanted to enter it, and weren't afraid to enter it. Now it's like a poisoned chalice to songwriters and they won't touch it with a barge pole, so the quality of entries been submitted aren't great.
7. Of all the acts who have taken part in the Eurovision, who would be your dream interview subject ?
It would have to be ABBA. When you listen to songs like 'The Winner Takes It All' or 'Super Trouper', they had it all, lyrics and melody. I'd love to chat with Bjorn & Benny for an hour (the Swedish version of Phil Coulter and Brendan Graham)
8. What are your three desert island albums?
Ooh its very hard to limit to 3, so I've picked a few from different decades.
The Beatles - Revolver
Fleetwood Mac - Fleetwood Mac (The White Album)
Prefab Sprout - From Langley Park To Memphis
and also runners up are:
Dire Straits - Brothers In Arms
Kate Bush - Hounds of Love
O.M.D. - Architecture & Morality
Paul Simon - Graceland
Prince - Purple Rain
...and the list goes on. Most of my faves would be from the 80s decade.
9. What do you think is unique about the Irish music scene?
We can compete with the best when we want to. We've an abundance of talent in this country, and I'm not just talking about U2. They paved the way for today's bands like The Coronas, The Script etc, but it's all genres of music. Look at Phil Coulter, Christy Moore, the Corrs, Enya, Van Morrison. Need I go on?
There you have it folks. We are delighted to have Mick on board with such an exciting new book. What's Another Year? is available to buy now. We hope you all enjoy the Eurovision! Maybe in a shower of confetti, maybe not.