Sunday, May 21, 2006


The usual English response to the Eurovision Song Contest is one of derision and light - hearted contempt. The sucess of the English entry is of no more consequence that the success of the English ice skating team, if they win great, but if not, so what .

Yet I can’t help but think we are on the cusp of a new era as far as European identities are concerned, the old cliches, at least as far as the old Eastern block are concerned, are in flux. Nations are emerging on the international scene and it is a time rich with possibilities and potential for the futue.

Who would have believed that Riga would have become an fashionable destination with British tourists. The old prejudices have vanished, new ones yet to be formed.

Sometimes I think I am living in a weird alternative version of the future, something akin to Phillip K. Dick’s Man in the High Castle, that in reality the Cold War is still in effect and that old divisons hold true and that what we think is true is merely the wild imaginings of a novelist.

Imagine going back in a time machine to the mid 80’s and explaining to anyone who would listen that Poland, for example, was a member of, not only the EEC but also NATO ! or that Latvia would be a cool weekend holiday spot for Westerners (how quaint that phrase sounds now, thank God).

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