Unsurprisingly, Guggisberg turns down Moore’s invitation to revisit her painful past. But even the no-shows can’t escape his Google-powered searchlight, and some thorough detective work reveals much about the post-zero lives of performers from Austria and Spain. There’s also the troubling suggestion that a Turkish singer’s failure to come to terms with failure may have led to his sudden death.
And so it continues: from Lisbon to Lithuania, Moore finds that scoring zero in Eurovision is rarely taken lightly. Even in the UK, which reserves special derision for Eurovision, Jemini’s point-less performance in 2003 provoked agonised hand-wringing. Meeting the likeable Liverpudlians, Moore learns that false economy, coupled with an anti-British backlash against the bombing of Iraq, sowed the seeds of a barren crop.
It’s not all gloom. Some artists, such as Iceland’s Daníel Ágúst and Tor Endresen from Norway (yes, again), have managed to airbrush Eurovision out of their biographies or to transcend defeat.
But for the most part, Nul Points is a catalogue of shattered dreams, failed relationships, boozing, bankruptcy and brothels. Amidst such a grim landscape, it’s a relief to find Moore’s customary sense of humour shining through, harnessed to his astounding way with words.
Towards the end, however, he does falter, inversing the running order of the UK and Icelandic entries in 1997 and incorrectly asserting that Switzerland have failed to qualify for every Eurovision final since 1998. But such lapses are not to be too harshly treated. After all, the oxygen-depleting experience of immersion in 50 years of Eurovision is enough to drain the most agile of brains.
Full marks for Nul Points.