Northern Ireland's twin historic associations with the Eurovision Song Contest are Clodagh Rodgers and Phil Coulter. Rodgers was born in Ballymena in Country Antrim and released many albums and singles for Decca and RCA in the Sixties and Seventies. Her most famous tracks were probably 1969's Come Back and Shake Me and Goodnight Midnight - both top five hits. She was Britain's Eurovision entrant in 1971 with Jack in the Box and received IRA death threats for the decision to do so. She came fourth.
After Eurovision the extremely attractive Rodgers had only one more British hit in Lady Love Bug though became popular on television variety shows with her impressions of contemporaries such as Cilla Black. Her career suffered a downturn after she walked out of the Meet Me In London show at the Adelphi Theatre on The Strand in 1971 on opening night. She was sharing the bill with Tommy Steele and the show was only saved through the exertions of - yes you guessed it correctly - Scotland's comedy legends Hope and Keen who I talked about some posts back.
Jack in the Box of course was a basic Toytown rewrite of Sandie Shaw's Puppet on a String schlager which triumphed in 1967 and was written by Derry's Phil Coulter. Shaw was one incredibly cool, stunningly beautiful and truly talented performer right the way through from her first number one in 1964 with There's Always Something There To Remind Me to her collaborations with The Smiths in the Eighties on Hand in Glove and Jeane. Sandra Ann Goodrich came originally from Dagenham in Essex alike Dudley Moore and the fictional and non-fictional characters called Dave as immortalised in separate songs by Morrissey and The Stranglers.
There is some wonderful footage on youtube of Shaw performing the Eurovision song and its b-side Tell The Boys on a British television show - also an earlier performance on German TV of the songs Tomorrow and I Don't Need That Kind of Loving. Shaw's smiling, effortless and easy connectivity with the audience is obvious - this country has quite clearly fallen a long long way since those golden days auf allen Fronten.
The fractures and chaos of the past 12 months within North Western Europe and particularly in France Gall, Benny and Bjorn and Nicole's homelands need not be detailed here. Needless to say what deconstruction of national identity - and parallel political co-ordination - commenced with the Council of Europe in 1949 and the European Coal and Steel Community in 1951 would perhaps have been better to let lie with Eurovision itself in 1956.
How amazing to think back to the 1975 British referendum on continued membership of the Common Market alone and all the nutcases who warned about the consequences ahead - Enoch Powell, the Reverend Paisley, the National Front Disco, the scary Provos, Tony Benn and the Communist Party.
Europe indeed seems now to be politically disassembling at such speed - alike London's current soul destroying endgame following upon the high-stakes Ponzi gamble with its own future - that my mind these days seems to often dwell on our own kin and blood who left these shores over the years for North America, Australasia and Southern Africa. Thinking about the reasons why they left and the dread similarity with our own daily social and financial struggles - invariably class-based at root to nobody's bloody surprise.
Indeed the literally ludicrous nature of the European project's collapse even makes me dwell more and more on the real sadness of that tangible and yet clearly premature cultural divorce between the British Isles and North America over the past two decades.
After all Billy Joel's Allentown about Pennsylvanian deindustrialisation and the demoralisation of the working man says as much to me about my life today as the fact that I have been worked to death in London over the course of 2015 but don't seem to be going skiing in January or February in mainland Europe. Or indeed have ever had the money to learn in the first place.