28 September – My shoulder, my shelter, my satellite

Belgium. It’s one of Europe’s interesting countries. A federal nation of communities and the like, and two broadcasters who sportingly take it in turns to send entries to our favourite TV show. Surely there is rivalry between the Dutch- and French-speaking elements, but they are model of fairness, aren’t they?

It was always the way that the French did the even years and the Dutch the odd ones, until the 1990s when things got muddied. By 2014, today’s birthday boy Axel Hirsoux was chosen by VRT, despite him being from Wallonia. Another example of pragmatic Belgian cooperation, surely. As you may know, things didn’t go that well for Axel, VRT and their experiment. Axel’s ode to his mum only managed 14 – but only 12 points off a top 10 place, scoring from eight out of 18 countries voting in his semi-final. We should commend Belgium on involving the whole of his country, and maybe one day this sort of collaboration will pay dividends.

Axel is 39 today.

Bonne anniversaire/Gefeliciteerd, Axel!