From inside the independent republic of Montrose, it all looked so simple – Dustin is on RTE, therefore if he says he’s funny, then he is. And he must be funny – he has a put-on inner-city Dub accent, he has a catchphrase – who wouldn’t piss themselves laughing at “Go on, ya good thing”?, and his response to being asked about any celebrity from Larry Gogan to the Pope is to say “Jaysus, I thought he was dead”.
Once the people of RTE allowed the song into the national contest, it was a fait accompli that it would get through. Perhaps some people thought it was genuinely funny. Most people who voted for it did so to “show up” the Eurovision, and to laugh at the whole thing. They failed to realise that the Eurovision is well capable of laughing at itself, and that all we were doing is proving that we don’t get the joke.
People who dared to point out that the song was rubbish were dismissed as humourless old farts. If these were former winners, they were called old begrudgers trapped in a time warp.
And so it was that RTE wasted our time and our licence fee sending off a no-hope load of crap that just made us look like eejits. The sad part is that by Tuesday they really thought they’d win, citing the interest that Dustin was generating in the overseas media. Of course, if we’d sent a man with his head on fire that would have generated interest too, but wouldn’t have meant that we’d win. The boos from the audience should have given Marty Whelan the hint that things weren’t going well, but his increasing incredulity as song after song got in ahead of us, and his claims afterwards to be gutted, shows perfectly how RTE actually believed their own self-congratulatory hype.
After the inevitable happened, the line from RTE was that Europe just “didn’t get Dustin”. Thus we’re not just cleverer than everyone else, we’re in fact far too clever for their tiny foreign brains.
I don’t feel sorry for the guy who plays Dustin. He’s got more publicity out of it, which is all he wanted. And as if he hadn’t had enough, RTE decided it would be even funnier still if he featured again on Saturday, turning up with Marty to pretend he’d qualified because (wait for this) Turkey was on the running order. My God, and people wonder why RTE have never had a decent sit-com.
(By the way, we’ve probably insulted the country of Turkey at an almost Danish Cartoon level with all of this).
In case you haven’t got it by now, RTE, pay attention – Dustin is a humourless, one-gag waste of feathers and latex. He may have been funny as a bit-part on Zig and Zag (over 16 years ago now), but he’s not funny anymore. You made a huge mistake, as many people told you, now allow the whole thing to just die away.
A final word on Marty Whelan. I know he’s trying to be Terry Wogan with his dry cynicism, but he comes across as bitter. And he doesn’t get the voting. How does he not see that we voted for the UK and Poland, who both finished joint last, because of the number of natives of those countries living here. If we’d got in, the UK would have given us votes because the Irish there would have phoned in. So why does he get so angry when the Swedes living in Norway vote for Sweden, or the Serbs in Montenegro vote for Serbia? If he’d been consistent he’d have lambasted us for our votes.
In the end it’s quite simple, Marty. If you hate the whole thing as much as you seemed to last night, give it up and let someone else spend a week in a European city in May instead.