Monday, August 13, 2012

The closing ceremony: London Pride has been force-fed down to us

I keep thinking 'bits of that weren't so bad, were they?'. And then I remember Russell Brand bellowing The Beatles through a megaphone.

The most successful bit was the Slim-J-Tempah sequence, which bubbled with energy, and was stuffed with shots of athletes bouncing about and singing along. Maybe it was a bit T4 On The Beach, but better that than the large swathes of a 1984 Radio One Roadshow beamed from a sleet-skittered Grimsby that made much of the rest of the event. It felt like the party the thing was supposed to be.

But what of the rest? Muse finally disappearing behind the self-pardoy horizon was only to be expected; the Kaiser Chiefs turning up in 2012 was a bit of a surprise. If the deal was George Michael had to do the new single to be persuaded to turn up, he should have been asked to stay at home.

Emeli Sande has been rather over-promoted: she can carry a tune, but not an entire ceremony. That Kate Bush was only on tape was a bit of a disappointment.

And The Spice Girls getting together for what felt like the first time in a couple of weeks wasn't the treat it was meant to be - the slow trundling of taxis for their entry seemed to last longer than the two half-songs they trotted out.

The London theme was quite weak - a couple of cars made out of newspaper, a Michael Caine voiceover and a bit of Only Fools And Horses. Why that one TV series? Why not, say, Barbara Windsor ringing a bell crying 'that's yer lot, ain't you got 'omes to go to?'; or Cumberbutch-as-Sherlock; or Grace Brothers; or Howman and Davidson finally doing a Babes In The Wood/Up The Elephant And Round The Castle crossover. Maybe not the last one.

Hang about, I've just remembered Churchill popping out of the Big Ben bell tower like a grumpy jack-in-the-box. Oh, god.

On Twitter, there were some voices going 'why are people being cynical? Can't we be like we've been for the last fortnight?'

But that's the point. If there's a point to the Olympics, it's about celebrating the extraordinary and superlative. If you applaud Mo Farah's triumph in the same way you applaud whoever went 'we could get some supermodels in and - hey, didn't Derek Bowie do a song about Fashion?', then you're really just watering down praise for Farah.

Not everyone at the Olympics gets a gold medal; in fact, that's the kind of point. Doing a closing ceremony is always going to be a thankless task - who wants to be the guy ushering in the hangover? - and coming in the wake of the opening extravanganza set the bar at a pole-vault height for a high-jump event. But nobody made anyone start a parade of plodding would-be secular hymns. No event will thrive when it drags on the film of Lennon doing Imagine, the national anthem of the Independent State Of Hypocrisy.

There were bits that were pretty good - the phoenix; the all-too-brief visit of The Pet Shop Boys. There was an exciting one hour event struggling to fight out of a three hour one.

But Russell Brand came on, singing through a megaphone.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Russell Brand singing through a megaphone still sounded better than Liam Gallagher did.

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