Subscriber OnlyTechnology

Eurovision saw a collision of vintage operating systems and trashy Europop

Finland’s Eurovision Song Contest entry Windows95man′s hard drive issues entertain

My system is still in recovery mode after the serious risk of, shall we say, hardware exposure by the Finnish Eurovision finale entry.

In a performance on Saturday as inscrutable as the old Windows blue screen of death, Finland’s “Windows95man” danced about, shouted “no rules” many, many times and sang/shouted, “Is there something wrong with the way I look?”

Admittedly, this was a reasonable question as he was dressed in socks and sandals, plus a cap and cropped T-shirt bearing a blurred-out Win95 logo. OK, that alone had my vote and I had to suppress the urge to run upstairs and throw on my late-90s “geek”-emblazoned T-shirt in solidarity.

Windows95man also had a blond mullet but, at least from the viewpoint offered from a TV or (more appropriately) computer screen, he seemed to be lacking an external casing for his central processing unit. Perhaps I scanned the faint lines of a G-string. But maybe it was just vapour-wear.


I was around when Windows 95 was launched, and I don’t recall any geek types forgetting to put on their pants so, yes, in historically accurate sartorial (if not satirical) terms, Windows95man’s dress sense was a bit off.

I saw Bill Gates doing the Windows 95′s official launch in Dublin, and he was definitely – thankfully! – wearing trousers on the day. However, they did play the beginning of The Rolling Stone’s Start Me Up over and over, which might be relevant here, depending of course on whatever boots your drive. Microsoft famously spent $3 million for the rights to the song, and Microsoft Ireland held the Gates Windows 95 launch in 1996, both of which still seem perfect metaphors for the operating system.

Anyway, on Saturday night, Windows95man’s hard drive appeared to be on full view to the Eurovision finale live audience. However, its dimensions remained a mystery to those tuning into the show, because the home-viewing audience’s gaze was discreetly blocked by some deft camera work and curiously-positioned items, including a large hat on the head of an audience member, the jutting protrusion of the lens on a TV camera carried across the stage, and the timely firing of an upward-arcing blast from a fog machine.

Perhaps only Clippy or Bing know Windows95man’s true specs, and whether measurements should be calculated in gigabytes or teraflops. Then again, what if it were only artificial intelligence? And was binary relevant? Or, as I suspect, was the joyful performance more quantum, a celebration of the uncertainty principle?

Regardless, we ultimately were deprived of knowing whether a microprocessor, a floppy or a large language model was on offer because a teensy pair of stonewashed denim shorts were downloaded on cables from on high, and attached to cover Windows95man’s jubilant extensions.

Then lots of sparks flew everywhere as Windows95man waved what looked like damaged cords after a surge protection failure, perhaps from those weekend solar storms. As they sprayed, fireworks-like, I really thought this was the moment they should have gone all insider-reference-for-oldies and sampled Start Me Up in an otherwise almost flawless and crash-free run-through (so unlike Windows 95). Almost? Hang (on), I’ll cycle back to that.

Over on the YouTube video of the performance, someone commented, “This guy really has balls to do that”. Alas, we’ll never know for sure. Someone else, almost certainly a true socks-and-sandals kind of fellow, posted, “I love windows 95. My first computer”, thus revealing he was the only person in the audience to mistake Finland’s gloriously hilarious Will Ferrell-esque Eurovision send-up for a Microsoft nostalgia trip.

Hats off to acerbic information technology news site The Register, whose timeless opening sentence for its coverage begins: “It is rare that the world of vintage desktop operating systems and trashy Euro-pop collide.” But, they did, and we are all the better for it.

And of course, heart emojis to the magnificent Windows95man himself, who in real life is, according to the official Eurovision website, “a well-known entertainer, dancer and sought-after model, widely appreciated in Finland and throughout the world” named Teemu Keisteri. He specialises in wearing his skimpy Win95 uniform to play DJ sets featuring “90s eurodance and techno hits”.

He must now be considered the entertainer of choice for every future tech company conference everywhere.

So there was back story, and it wasn’t all totally “What The Actual…”. But really, as with a Windows 95 clean install, it was far better not to know just what exactly you were letting yourself in for. Still, recalling that the Eurovision Song Contest is abbreviated to ESC, just like the computer key, certainly provided the mirthful equivalent of a gaming Easter egg. For me, anyway (see sad geek T-shirt reference above).

My prize for best reaction to the act definitely goes to the person on YouTube who observed: “The country that gave us Linux, is rooting for Windows 95.”

As to why the performance was almost flawless? Well, I really can’t help thinking it would have been douze points on infinite loop if Windows95man had emerged with his bits hidden behind ... an apple.