Confession time: for a good 30 years now I have been harbouring a secret, one which threatens to expose me to ridicule.
Some folk lead double lives, where they are Steve during the week and Shirley on Saturdays and Sundays, while others have a sneaky tattoo.
I will just come out and say it: I am a closet fan of the Eurovision Song Contest and consider it essential viewing. I realise this is viewed by some as a betrayal of mankind and is likely to lead to me being given the cold shoulder next time I order a pint of Best and two packets of pork scratchings.
But I love nothing more than listening to a tone deaf Croat warbling in their mother tongue. Eurovision presents the viewer with a free pass to another world, a place where we can escape our woes for at least three hours once a year. It is a show unlike any other where the acts vary between the banal and the outrageous and, occasionally, can also be described as being ‘quite good’.
For as long as I can remember, it has become the norm to dismiss the contest as garbage. Yet there aren’t many red-blooded blokes who won’t smile slyly when you use the words ‘Polish’ and ‘milkmaid’ in the sentence as they will all remember that infamously saucy performance from three years ago.
But the trouble is, it isn’t what it used to be – it seems to be bigger than it was in the analogue days of the 1980s, which requires greater dedication from even the most ardent of Eurovision fanatics.
There was a time when I enjoyed the voting more than I did the music but that novelty is beginning to wear off, largely due to the fact that I lose interest after the third votes have been announced and it becomes clear to all that the UK will, once again, finish way off the pace, sandwiched somewhere between Luxembourg and Belarus.
There was a time when we were the true kings and queens of this kitsch fest but we haven’t taken the top prize since 1997, when the nation was riding the crest of Tony Blair’s wave of fresh-faced optimism. Now Brexit is a reality, we may as well quit while we can. It may well be that my days of Eurovision bliss could be coming to an end.