(Or, the 2013 Eurovision story written by Fifi and gifted to me on my birthday this year)
If you have no idea what this is all about, check out previous years in the series, in which I offer an explanation (kind of):
So, without further ado, Alcohol is Free: the inevitable Eurovision parody of 2013. Thanks Fifi, you’re awesome and I love it!
One man, grey of moustache and long of hair.
Five youths, broad of shoulders and dressed as if for soccer.
One dream, kept long in wait and ready now to be unleashed upon this capitalist world.
They were Greece, and they liked their alcohol free.
It was in his youth that he found the place—his willful, wild youth. He went by many names in those days, mostly because he could never remember his real one (the drugs were good back then), but the one he used most was Delonioapolipopususus. Or…Dalinio…popopolo…mosis…? Anyway, he was usually called Pop.
So: It was in his willful, wild youth that Pop decided to climb the legendary mountain of Holicrapitsbigg. Well, not so much ‘decided’ as ‘woke up on a cliff one morning and figured he should start walking before the snow buried him any deeper’ (the drugs were really good back then). But he nonetheless counted it as a conscious decision to pursue a spiritual journey.
Through the snowdrifts Pop struggled, seeking he knew not what. Shelter, but of what kind? [EDITOR’S NOTE: I have cut a rather long passage from this section. A piece of existential philosophy, it explored the protagonist’s psyche through the imagery of a forming blizzard: icy, blinding winds, a sense of helplessness against the raging elements. It was all quite moving, but the short of it was thus: Pop was cold, and wanted a drink.]
Pop was cold, and wanted a drink. As feeling began to drain from his freezing limbs, as he prepared to fall by the wayside and sleep his way into oblivion, a light came glimmering through the blizzard. Was it refuge? Was it a church, perhaps, or the home of some charitable cottager?
It was a pub, perched on a cliff battered by winds. Pop sank to his knees and sobbed with relief. He really, really needed a drink.
Huddled at the bar, soaking up the warmth of a nearby fire, Pop hailed the barman and began digging through his pockets for change. Alas! Not a coin had survived…whatever had happened last night. (See above re: quality of drugs at that time.) Despair dawned; Pop lifted his eyes to those of the barman, guilt and longing suffusing his features.
The barman, better known as Guy From The Bar, looked into his eyes and rested a reassuring hand on his shoulder. ‘You have suffered a long journey, my friend,’ he said softly, soulfully. ‘I can see it in your eyes, and in your weary stature. Let me help you in what way I can. This drink’—he produced a tankard of something pale green and faintly smoking—’is on me.’
Pop took the tankard, stammering his thanks. Never, even in the wildest moments of his wild youth, had he contemplated the kind of utopia in which alcohol was free.
The Guy From The Bar winked and clapped him on the shoulder. ‘I consider it an investment,’ he told Pop. ‘One day, in the future, you will…I say too much. Only remember this moment!’ And he slipped away, to go clean the bathrooms.
Pop sniffed at the pale green liquid. Shrugged. Downed it in one gulp.
And a vision came to him then, amid the mythic peaks of Holicrapitsbigg. A vision of strapping young men—his grandsons—in knee-high socks and stylish kilts. Bounding across a glittering stage, hailing the heavens on brass instruments.1 Grinning winsomely at an adoring crowd, hearts full as they celebrated the glory of spirits not paid for. And an old man, the man he would become, stroking his moustache over a job well done.
This, Pop decided, was damn good alcohol.
And now, decades later, here he stood, on that very stage.
His solo: Pop twanged out the first chords, those blessed chords that had haunted his dreams through a willful, wild, springtime youth; the languorous autumn years that followed; the early days of winter and wisdom; and two or three midlife crises suffered when he had the time.
‘Ma bricky bricky mia, ma seki mas madia,’ he warbled, glorying in the poetry of it all. Or…wait, was that supposed to be ‘bricky bricky bia’? Dammit. Well, whatever. It wasn’t like anybody had a clue what he was saying. It was about the music.
As he played, he thought about Athenialolos. She had been his first wife, found somewhere between the harsh peaks of Holicrapitsbigg and the gentle plains of Okaithisismuchbetar. He had loved her, but she had not understood him. She had loved him, but he had not listened to her.
‘I do not understand, husband!’ she had cried, the hundredth time she had found him sneaking from bed in the deepest hours of the night, hoping to capture that elusive tune on his bouzouki. ‘What is it about this song that calls you so? Can you not be happy with the humble life we lead in this luxurious villa on the shores of Corfu?’
He had wrung the tears from his moustache and looked at her mournfully. ‘Not while I must pay for alcohol, dear wife,’ he had sighed, looking through their window at the bloated moon. ‘Not while I must pay for alcohol.’
They had parted with mutual sadness and relief, she to a world of mundane normality (a world where people paid for their drinks in order to complain about the prices) and he to the pursuit of his utopia (a world where drinks were free, or at least covered by someone else in the party).
After Athenialolos had come Malupolisos. His second wife, his sympathetic ear, his muse. (And a damn good drinker, too.) Malupolisos understood his vision. Malupolisos carried his art to new heights.
He could still remember, with aching clarity, the day she had leaned over his shoulder while he was plucking out a slow tune, struggling for a chorus that fit his utopia. She had listened to him for a few moments then shaken her head, long tresses cascading over his bouzouki.
‘No, my love, this is not right. It needs to…’ She thought. Pop waited, trusting in her wisdom. Would she say it needed more soul? More depth? More darkly beautiful sorrow?
‘It needs…to pop.’
Pop had wandered the globe in his quest for a world where alcohol was free, and on that quest he had discovered a sinister truth: there was an organisation out there that did not want him to succeed.
The Organisation was a complex machine, and he had encountered its influence at every turn, so subtly that he could never pinpoint exactly where and how it had foiled him. A traumatic misadventure in the Tzictzactzoe Mountains had taught him to be wary of one of The Organisation’s deadlier assassins; he had avoided entering Eurovision 2012 when he had seen who would be representing Russia. But this year! This year, not even they could stand in his way.
It had been a shock, though, to know that The Organisation had managed to recruit not only the dubstep cadre but also the vampire population. He had heard the rumours, but had not believed it until Romania took the stage.
Relaxing with a pre-performance drink, Pop had closed his eyes to enjoy the deep voice of the leather-clad vampire on stage. Lifted the glass of liquor (not free, alas) to his lips. Felt the sudden change as that deep voice soared high and the glass shattered, spilling spirits across Pop’s lap. He opened his eyes, stared down at the glass shards and alcohol littering the floor, looked up at the stage, and knew: Romania had fallen to The Organisation.
Nice outfit, though.
[MIN’S NOTE: For more onThe Organisation, see Buranovskiye Babushki, the 2012 Story]
As the scores were tallied and the world waited, breath bated, for the announcement that would elevate one lucky country to the heavens, someone cleared his throat. Pop turned to see Cezar, representative of Romania, vampire with the voice of an angel.
His adversary smiled. ‘Well, Pop, I must admit I underestimated you,’ he purred, and patted the old man’s cheek. ‘Whatever the scores say, I will always think of you as a winner. Let me make it up to you: we’ll celebrate your victory at the bar.’
Pop smiled, stroking his moustache. He nodded regally, and his grandsons gathered around, prepared to follow him anywhere—especially if there was alcohol involved.
‘So generous of you, Pop!’ smiled Cezar, as he led them from the room. Pop glanced at him, bemused. ‘And such a generous tradition, that the winner always pays for the first round!’
Half of Pop’s moustache came off in his hand. Truly was The Organisation a conniving beast.
But it did not matter, really. For he was one man, surrounded by five youths, and together they represented one dream: They were Greece, and their alcohol would be free.
1 EDITOR’S NOTE: The original text literally translated into ‘bounding across the stage, trumpets and wood in hand, blowing their white-hot music over the crowd’. I have taken the liberty of tweaking this to meet censors’ guidelines.