Well, I hope you enjoyed the first half of the show. With the show about to start, get your platformheels and cheap party dress on, crack open a proper one, and let’s get in the mood…
Welcome back to this very first episode of the Eurovision Cider Contest! We’ve already seen performances from Switzerland and Sweden, and coming up are the ones you really want to see — Spain and the UK. Due to time limits, Finland and France didn’t make it into this year’s contest. And, well, there aren’t really any other big European cider-drinking countries. At least, not that I know of. Estonia?
Anyway, next up is the UK. The UK are always a bit shit in the E.S.C. and their song entry this year, (2015), didn’t disappoint. Like something from a children’s continental fruit juice drink with added vitamins. It’s just bad.
However, tonight’s entry shows much more promise. It’s a London Velvet from William Sharvatt (by Silasu), made in Derby. Scouted in Tesco, Highams Park, this was something very different, Porter Ale and Fine Cider!
Ok, so it sounds like a hipster snakebite. However, I do like a porter ale. Introduced in the late 1800s for all the ‘porters’ in the docks and warehouses of the cities, this dark beer has a sweetness and strength to it. According to the label, Mr Sharvatt was a timber merchant in The Old Kent Road, London, and would mix the cider brought by his timber suppliers with a porter, to produce his London Velvet. Seems to be genuinely for the fun of it.
On with the show. London Velvet arrives on stage in muted, dark, fashionably vintage style. The performance is syrupy sweet, thick with the molasses of the porter, with a kick of the tangy apples. Perhaps the porter is too strong a partner, for this to be rated in a cider sense. It is a great performance, but I can’t really detect that much cider in it. A bit like the UK song performance, I couldn’t detect much music in it. The cider is under the thumb of the stronger, more belligerent porter.
The London Velvet head offstage back to their east London bedsit. On a bus. Hoping they don’t have a snakebite hangover tomoz, cos the ex is dropping the kids off. Bloody LEGOLAND®, inni?
And finally, Spain. Or more accurately, the Basque country. IZ Sidra Natural is from the north of Spain, by Izeta Sagaroda S.L. I was warned to “give it a week before opening”. It waited a lot longer than that, but tonight is its chance to shine. On the bottle, all the writing is in Basque, which is like the Spanish version of Welsh: mentalo.
Spain looked like it would cause a bit of a storm, so we left it ’til last. The design iz modern, but understated. This 6% cider iz full bodied, fruity, firm but fair. This iz proper apply stuff, I keep seeing flashes of the cloudy bottom. Probably the yeast. Too late, I see that the drink iz meant to be poured from a height of 30cm. Well, I’d miss my gob at that range, so straight in the glass will do me.
“Euskadin ekoiztutako sagarrarekin egina”. Yep, your guess is as good as mine. The unintelligible cider takes a bow, and the contest is at a close. All that remains is to score tonight’s performance. In true ESC style, I’ve complicated the scoring. I can’t vote for my own nation, and my ciderkick can’t vote for the cider she provided.
Without a lengthy, satellite-delayed session of gaudy earrings and over-exposed cleavage, the results are in.
Suéde, deux points. Sweden, two points
Suisse, Trois points. Switzerland, three points
Grande Bretagne, cinq points, Great Britain, five points
Espagne, huit points. Spain, eight points
So, there you have it. IZ Sidra steals the show for Spain. Now it just remains to clear away the flags, see if I can get a full glass out of these dregs, and dance round half a bowl of popcorn, in front of the telly, to some Balkan power ballads.