28 February – The men of not long ago were all brothers

France are good at Eurovision. Well, they have been in the past. And anyone can win our favourite TV show. And wouldn’t you love a contest in Paris? And they almost did it in Rotterdam. And that’s a lot of ‘ands’.

We can always dream. But it’s true that France won five times between 1958 and 1977, which was some record in 1977. Maybe not quite the same now. But you know how it is. A country has a win a few years previously, and there’s still enough interest to yield another win in quick succession. In 1981, France managed a third spot, sung by today’s birthday boy Jean Gabilou (né Gabriel Lewis Laughlin). He wasn’t a full-blooded Frenchman, as he came from what was an Établissement Français de l’Océanie at the time. So he was a Frenchman from birth. Such is the reach of our favourite TV show, people from the South Pacific can take part and not be false-flaggers. Anyway, he scored off everyone except Spain and Turkey, and got four maxima. Any other year that sixth win could have been France’s.

Jean is 80 today.

Bonne anniversaire, Jean!

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