What ever happened to Intervision?

Eurovision studio in Moscow 2009

Eurovision studio in Moscow 2009

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Intervision? Isn’t that the thing that the Americans invented to rival Nintendo back in the 80s before they had it secretly (and chemically) destroyed for being just too awful?

Well believe it or not Intervision was the Cold War rival to Eurovision back during the days when nuclear Armageddon was looming over the continent. Even on the issue of music, we still couldn’t agree on anything.

Intervision first came to my attention last year in an article by the BBC which explained what the Intervision song contest was. It started out as a Polish competition set up by Wladyslaw Szpilman who’s life story rose to international prominence in the critically acclaimed film ‘The Pianist’.

However, in the 1970s the Soviet powers that be saw the contest for what it was and decided that, as they had taken democracy and self-determination from just about every country in eastern Europe, it was probably only fair they gave something back in the form of a music competition. To be fair, it looks like it worked pretty well.

Despite this the contest continued to be held in Sopot, Poland, for the duration of its time.

The voting system at Intervision seems, however, to have been based on a slightly less practical, and frankly less democratic method than its bourgeois, capitalist rival Eurovision…

Yes, I really hope that’s true as well. To be fair, in our current age of low election turnouts voting via light switch might actually prove more democratic and after the most recent fiasco’s in voting at the Eurovision song contest it actually seems like the Soviets were onto something. Thanks Malta, we get your sympathy vote every year.

But enough of the history and bizarre voting methods, here’s a taster of what Intervision had to offer.

I think the comments on this actually sum up this video nicely – “Bring back satin suits!” The first act seemed passable but the troubling thing about this performance is that the keyboard player in the second act has been denied access to a stool. Now I know the Eastern Bloc was hardly famous for its commitment to human rights but come on, that piano is at such an awkward height. GIVE THAT MAN A STOOL FOR PITY’S SAKE!

Now, on the face of it there’s very little wrong with this performance. Yes, it is very 1970s. I understand that, but we must look at these things in isolation but, okay, what is up with the camera angle which seems to resemble the view from a snipers nest waiting to pick off any dissenters. Actually, if you watch carefully enough, at 1:50 I swear that poor Kirka looks up to the nest high up in the scaffolding pleading not to be privy to a massacre.

Okay, okay, this one wasn’t from Intervision. But it still gets me every time. I couldn’t have an appreciation of Communist entertainment without including possibly the most endearing video east of the Elbe. 

Picture credit: Michael

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