Voices: As an elder gay, I’ve earned the right to go to Eurovision – and I don’t care if you can’t
One of God’s lesser-known commandments – because you actually have to turn the stone tablet around to the second side to read it – is that “Thou gays, lesbians, and trans people shall be more fabulous than the others”.
What God didn’t perhaps foresee was the struggles of the 1980s, which is why I, as an elder gay, deserve to go to Eurovision this year – and I don’t care that you can’t.
Growing up gay in the 1980s was a challenge: one met by unhelpful new laws, the Aids epidemic, and of course Bardo’s post-Eurovision single only charting at number 122. That’s what happened in the eighties when you were gay or only came seventh at Eurovision – bad things.
Eurovision all looked very glamorous for the time (though a visit to YouTube to watch footage from back then now reveals a setting more like a meeting of the politburo).
We even won in 1981, with everybody’s favourite future Brexit Party candidate Jay Aston as part of Bucks Fizz. A lot of people think it’s ironic that someone who built a career off Eurovision would vote to leave the EU – but that’s only because it is.
As an elder gay I kept my pants on and shimmied through the entire 1980s – a time that, in a more just version of the period, should have seen me with no need for any pants at all.
Young gay people today have sex, but we had Terry Wogan. In many ways, Terry was one of the few voices of reason during the whole sorry period. We all had the good fortune of an entire evening of him each year, when Eurovision came swirling around again like an explosion of sequins looking for somewhere to happen.
As an elder gay I have looked for compensations across the years. Each new wrinkle seems to provide opportunities young gays can only dream of, such as heating my home (or even having a home to begin with). There has to be some compensation for when Grindr auto-deletes itself from your phone when it detects grey pubes in your photographs.
The John Major years saw Sonia come second –crushed by a final 12 from Malta going to Ireland. The heartbreak was real. I probably cried (I had tears then). Now Sonia is back, 30 years on, playing her part in Eurovision in the city she was born in. Meanwhile, both Malta and Ireland went out in the first semi-final. Revenge at last.
For me, as an elder gay, revenge means hospitality tickets so expensive you could power a lighthouse for a week. For me, being an elder gay means seats at Eurovision. As an elder gay I have learnt that everything dies, including the patience of the young. Waiting in a queue behind 2000 people is nothing when all you had for entertainment in 1981 was three tv channels. To people of my generation, that kind of drudgery is a sport.
Soon I will find myself in an orgy; albeit one of lights, colours and sounds. I will perhaps grimace and fumble, by habit, for the volume controls (note to self: take earplugs?), but what is important is that I shall be there and you shall not.
Afterwards, there will be clubbing in a cool venue – with all the other over 50s wishing they hadn’t. Perhaps just the one song, like “Relax” by Frankie Goes To Hollywood, and then vamoose!
So yes, as an elder gay, I deserve to go to Eurovision, and I don’t care that “something something ticket queues it’s not fair look at the prices”.
The automated cat feeders will be filled with live mice come the weekend, and away I shall sally.