20th May 2024

A Virtual World of Live Pictures

Technology and Computer

You decide • The Register

It is rare that the world of vintage desktop operating systems and trashy Euro-pop collide, but on Saturday’s Eurovision Song Contest they did, and the results were as baffling as they were explosive.

At the weekend, the Eurovision Song Contest celebrated its 68th year, and with it offered up its usual menu of upbeat dance numbers and earnest ballads, as well as something so inexplicable that witnesses were forced to question their own sanity.

Windows95man revealed himself to an unsuspecting public, donning a T-shirt and cap with the branding of Microsoft’s point-and-click GUI, ’80s style steel rim spectacles, and a curly blond mullet hairstyle.

US readers may be unaware of the Eurovision Song Contest, but on the other side of the Atlantic, it is big business, watched by around 160 million viewers, and was even made the subject of a Will Ferrell comedy highlighting its most absurd aspects. Over the years, it has launched the careers of a string of successful acts, including world-conquering Swedish song-crafters ABBA.

It is also known for a uniquely European shall-we-say good-taste-shattering flamboyancy and this year, Windows95man was not about to let the side down.

Emerging like an upturned turtle from a giant egg, he leapt onto the stage and yelled, “And I only live by one rule, and the rule is no rules.” The serious-minded might wonder if this was about to become a treatise on the liar paradox in song form, but this was no place for serious minds.

“Is there something wrong with the way I look?” he sang to the audience during the opening verse, like a man as lacking in self-awareness as he was musical taste.

As the scene unfolded, though, it became apparent that there was something very wrong with the way he looked. To all outward appearances, he was wearing nothing below his short-cropped Windows 95 T-shirt (with the logo tastefully blurred out) other than his white socks and sandals.

Cupped hands, carefully placed mic stands, jets of dry ice and choreographed camerafolk all prevent the true horror of Finland’s finest exposing his DLL files to the world, but the damage was done.

Inexplicably, during the musical breakdown, a pair of high-cut denim shorts were lowered to the stage on ropes. After donning the garment, Windows95man danced like he was having a seizure. Reaching the routine’s climax, the ropes which had lowered the shorts split and in the end, remaining tethered to the Window95man, burst with pyrotechnic sparkle. And then he had another fit.

Microsoft has yet to offer The Register its official response to the performance (yes, we really did ask them) but on social media platform Blue Sky, Jen Gentlemen, Microsoft Windows engineer did ask if Windows95man was going to sing the Rolling Stones hit Start Me Up, for which Microsoft is rumored to have paid between $8 and $14 million to launch the Windows 95 marketing campaign.

The Redmond software giant picked the Jagger-Richards number because Windows 95 was its first operating system to use the “Start” button. Unfortunately, for some viewers, Eurovision this year did not come with a please-please-oh-god-make-it-stop button.

Those brave enough can watch the performance on YouTube. ®

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