Also known as the 2015 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 the previous episodes:
- Eurovision 1: So Lucky (2011)
- Eurovision 2: Buranovskiye Babushki (2012)
- Eurovision 3: Alcohol is Free (2013)
- Eurovision 4: Revenge of the Kitsch (2014)
The sound of thunder fills the world. Can you hear it? The sound of those wicked ways from down below.
Picture our heroes in this void of deep shadows and blinding light. Picture our heroes as they prepare to rup bup bup, rup bup bup.
They are going to rup bup bup tonight.
They are Belgium, and they are going to get that rhythm back.
Loïc awoke in a dark room, awash in the sound of off-key voices. All was static for a moment—then electrodes flared, circuits fired, battery bar turned green. It was as if the hand of God had swiped right to unlock his mind. Words filtered through his programmed synapses, and he strained to hear them, thinking they must be the words of angels.
‘See? I told you turning him off then on again would work.’
‘All right, all right, stop bitching at me.’
…Fallen angels, maybe.
‘Can you hear me, brother?’ asked a new voice. ‘You must wake. We cannot stay here long.’
Loïc was no one’s brother; the concept of a nuclear family had become obsolete when The Makers replaced genetic reproduction with cyborg farms in the twenty-fifth century. Nonetheless, Loïc focused his vision and looked at the Guy who’d called him brother.
He was a vision of times past: wild of hair, bright of bowtie, sequined of suit. Loïc would have cried at the beauty of it all, if evolution hadn’t overthrown tear ducts in the twenty-third century.
‘Who are you?’ he croaked. ‘Where am I?’
The Guy helped him to stand, aided by a small crowd of others who surrounded them. Loïc looked around and saw that they were in a shadowy space of wooden beams and thinly carpeted floors. What strange hell was this?
‘We’re backstage,’ said one of the strangers, then cleared her throat significantly. ‘We hath taken refuge in this short-lived sanctuary, yet we must flee quickly, for the Organisation will soon be upon us.’
‘Oh, stop using those noble archaisms, Tolma,’ snapped a girl beside her. ‘We all know you were born in Moscow in 1991.’
‘Will you stop bitching at me, Chevy?’
‘The Organisation will soon be upon us, my brother,’ said the Guy, unruffled by the argument taking place behind him. ‘They brought you here for dark purposes, but we have the Oracles on our side, and we had some warning of your coming. We reached you before the Organisation did, but they will be here soon. We can take you and your friends to a safe place—and even return you home, if we seize our opportunity—but we must leave now.’
‘Friends?’ Loïc looked over his shoulder and saw five other cyborgs being helped to their feet. He did not know them, but that was normal: friendship had been outlawed in the twenty-third century, shortly after the Ibii Takeover. ‘But what is this…Organisation? And where have they brought us? What is this place?’
Tolma opened her mouth.
‘I meant, apart from “backstage”,’ said Loïc quickly. Tolma closed her mouth, looking disappointed.
‘My brother,’ sighed the Guy. ‘What year are you from?’
‘You mean when was I programmed? 2874, though I received an upgrade in 2967. I run on WordPress 9.0 now. Why?’
‘This, my brother, is 2015.’
And he spoke then of puppetmasters and conspiracies, of bad guys and subtle beasts, of a takeover that spanned aeons. He explained that the Organisation had pulled the cyborgs backwards in time, seeing them as the perfect assassins through which to destroy the present’s greatest vehicle of joy and wonder.
‘And that vehicle, my brother…is Eurovision.’
‘Eurovision?’ Loïc frowned. ‘You mean that celebration of kitsch that took place in the Glory Ages? I have heard the legends, certainly. Some say it is mere myth, but I like to think that, once, the world ran on kitsch instead of…’ He covered his mouth, overcome.
‘What is it, my brother?’ asked the Guy from Eurovisions Past, reaching towards him. ‘What…what does the world run on in your time?’
Loïc took a deep breath. He didn’t need to, of course; breathing was a superfluity ironed out of evolution in the twenty-seventh century. But he’d once stumbled across a forbidden, ancient manuscript entitled Yoga Moves for the Yummy Mummy, and he found himself curiously soothed by the breathing practices outlined in that esoteric tome.
‘Respectability,’ Loïc whispered. In, two, three; out, two, three; you are a fabulous goddess. ‘Kitsch has not been seen these last six centuries. The world now runs on respectability. Originality. Peer-reviewed artistic integrity.’
Stricken silence ruled the backstage area. At last, the Guy from Eurovisions Past straightened his shoulders, looking solemn. ‘My friends, it is worse than I feared. We must act now.’
‘The Organisation’s power is vast, but it plays now with powers even it does not understand,’ whispered the Guy, as the Resistance huddled in a sparkly corner of the crowd that thronged the stadium.
‘The Armenian cadre uncovered a dangerous spell, which they performed tonight to bring you here,’ added Mans, an officially designated Hero™ representing Sweden.
‘They faced the shadow,’ said the Guy sadly.
‘It’s a group ritual designed to manipulate the flow of time,’ continued Mans.
‘You’ll notice there’s a distinct theme of time in this year’s performances,’ added Tolma wisely.
‘Oh, so wise, Tolma.’
‘Stop bitching at me, Chevy.’
‘But the spell was too strong, and they’ve bent time all out of shape. Half the acts have been dragged here from the past, others from the future. Shoulders pads and suspenders side by side! It’s anarchy!’
‘The time periods are all mixed up this year,’ said the Guy, shaking his head. ‘It does not sit well.’ He pointed to the stage, where Denmark’s crew of cheerful pop singers warbled to hide their panic at being transported forward two or three decades without notice. ‘They are blasts from the past, as you can see.’
‘I thought all Eurovision acts were blasts from the past?’ interjected Mans, looking interested.
‘No, I mean this group is made up of actual anomalies hurled forward through a rift in the space-time continuum.’
‘Oh.’ Mans looked back at the stage. ‘Well, in my defence, it’s hard to tell the difference.’
The Guy from Eurovisions Past followed his gaze. ‘Yes,’ he said. ‘Fair point.’ He turned to Loïc and the other cyborgs. ‘But I believe we can set things right. Soon you will be called forth to the gleaming stage, my friends. The Organisation wants you to use this opportunity for evil, but if you follow the instructions we give you, your futuristic technology should counteract the effects of the Armenians’ spell. You will be catapulted back into your own era, pulling the other time travellers with you. And perhaps—perhaps! But I say too much. I will not give you false hope. Let me only say this: perhaps we can return some rhythm to your cold world. Do you think you can do this thing, my friends?’
‘Well, I can try,’ said Loïc doubtfully. ‘But I run on Internet Explorer. All cyborgs do. The technology of alternative browsers was lost centuries ago.’
‘Internet Explorer?’ spluttered Tolma. ‘Even for an apocalyptic dystopia, that’s a bit much.’
Loïc looked at the Guy beside him. ‘And you will help me perform the song to set time right?’
‘Alas, my friend, there is only room on that stage for one Guy—and, this year, that is not me.’ He clapped Loïc on the shoulder. ‘But fear not, my brother. We are going to get that rhythm back.’
He leapt nimbly away, and was gone in a blur of bowtie and wild hair. Loïc stared after him, torn between an upwelling of deep emotion and the desire to say, ‘What. The Fuck. Is happening.’
Chevy patted him on the shoulder. ‘Don’t worry. He’ll take care of things. He’s a doctor!’
Loïc glanced distractedly at her. ‘Who?’
‘Yes, exactly.’ She looked at her watch, an outdated model from the twenty-fourth century. ‘Come, let’s prepare you for the stage. Much relies on your performance.’
White light flared across the stage, a sign of the heaving elements. Loïc sang with all his programmed might, strutting as only a cyborg could. The others followed his lead, enacting the moves to complete the ritual that would carry them home.
Home to a world without kitsch.
Loïc refused to dwell on the sad truth of this. There was a greater good here, and time should not be the plaything of faceless organisations. Unless maybe they had a really compelling logo and seemed kind of okay? No, probably not. Corporations were the bad guys; there always had to be a bad guy.
The signal came. Loïc dropped to the ground, twitched, rebooted. The energy of the spell rebooted with him: time had been turned off and on again. All was well.
As the light carried Loïc and his fellow travelers home, a strange warmth hummed in his earpieces. He looked down, and saw sequins glimmering on his long, dark coat. Loïc touched a sparkle in wonder as he returned to a 2973 full of new possibilities.
In the crowd, a motley crew of fighters watched him go and smiled at each other.
They were artists of nuanced performance. Poets of rare skill. Lovers of cake and sparkles and terrible puns.
They were The Resistance, and they had unleashed a future of kitsch.