Saturday, July 28, 2012

Olympics: So does that make the Arctic Monkeys the biggest band in the world for the next few days?

I'm assuming that Danny Boyle was handed the job with some bits filled in - there had to be the speeches, there had to be the flame, McCartney would turn up and not quite hit all the notes on Hey Jude, but beyond that, it's all up for grabs.

Anything that upsets The Modern Review's Toby Young has to be a good thing, surely, and it's perfectly possible to harbour doubts about the large sums of cash being spunked away on an event, while allowing that at least there's something to show for the money.

There were problems at either end, of course the historical nonsense of Industrial Revolutions and the favouring of Cristabel over Sylvia Pankhurst at the start; the soundtrack going "Match Of The Day goals package" during the procession of athletes. And two countdowns seemed to be over-egging it a little.

But from the bit where the Lloyd-Webber variation Paginini kicked in as the camera flew past The London Studios, you could taste a bit of wit and a big wink coming through. It's hard to argue with an event where the Queen gets to hear Fuck Buttons.

(The NME, by the way, has a rather useful playlist of all the music from the main part of the ceremony.)

Enola Gay sticks out like a sore thumb, doesn't it? After the ill-judgement of a song about one attending nation dropping a nuclear weapon on another, it was a relief to have The Jam kicking in with a song about being mugged in an Underground station to welcome visitors to our capital.

I can't help wondering, though, if every sporting opening ceremony actually makes as much sense to the home audience - if, while the rest of the world four years ago was going 'bouncing dancing boxes? what?', in China people were bouncing up and down on their seats going "look! they've included a bit from The Grumpy Cubes Next Door!"

It shouldn't overshadow the disgusting treatment of Critical Mass last night, although it has; it hasn't magicked away the Zil Lanes, or the involvement of Dow Chemical, or the large sums of money given to G4S simply to stand aside and let the troops in. But if you take it on its own, for what it was - a massive bit of theatre which included a celebration of socialised healthcare - it was pretty damn good.


Anonymous said...

You're thinking of "Down in the Tube Station at Midnight". They actually played the one about spending too much money on weapons instead of things that are useful. Thank goodness there was no part of the olympics where money was spend on useless security...

Didn't watch it myself so I'm more surprised to see they played Fuck Buttons. Don't let anybody at the Mail read the playlist!?!

Simon Hayes Budgen said...

You're absolutely right. I have confused my Jam songs.

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