word of the week – ‘ding-dong’ (dɪ́ŋ- dɒ́ŋ).

As Englebert Humperdink gets cosy with the throat gargle on the eve of tomorrow’s Eurovision Song Contest, I thought I’d take a quick delve into the Netherlands’ fortunes over the years.

Like the UK, the Dutch glory days were the 1970s, notably when Teach-In scooped the top prize in 1975 with the quintessential Eurovision ditty ‘Ding-A-Dong’, and various other patriotic crooners snaffled second and third places. There have been another three Dutch winners all told, but you have to go right back to the 1950s and 1960s to sniff those out.Some of the more curious names to represent the Netherlands include Frizzle Sizzle (1986), Mrs Einstein (1997), Mouth & MacNeal (1974), Hind (2008) and the curiously British-sounding Humphrey Campbell (1992). In latter years entries have tended to be sung in English, though personally I feel ‘Een speeldoos’ (‘A Musical’), ‘De mallemolen’ (‘The Whirligig’) and ‘Blijf zoals je bent’ (‘Stay As You Are’) have a certain authentic ring to them.However, Teach-In’s strategy of using catchy but meaningless words clearly doesn’t always pay off… in 1967, Thérèse Steinmetz came last and managed only two points with ‘Ring-dinge-ding’.The 2012 entry ‘You and Me’ by Joan Franka didn’t make the cut, which means the Netherlands have failed to make the Saturday night final for eight years on the trot. Still, so long as the boys in orange make it to the other Euro final, who cares?

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