I was going to complete a SPEKTRMODULE podcast tonight, but, after having watched the Olympic closing ceremony with Lili, I’m no longer in the mood. It’s a silly, pointless thing to get angry about. But, by the time it finally finished, I found myself weirdly furious. I was somehow under the impression that it was to be an event about British musical culture. And what it turned out to be was a flabby, lazy variety show notable for 1) preponderance of old white people 2) famous people who apparently didn’t want to turn up 3) no sense at all of British musical culture.
Don’t get me wrong, it was lovely to see Ray Davies and all that. But anyone who watches that show looking for an understanding of how we do and did music here is going to come away with some very bad ideas. I get that these things are difficult to put on, but it was my presumption that one hires the people who know how to do it.
The opening ceremony pointed to the future. The closing ceremony – with a stated mandate of “A Symphony Of British Music” – ended with The Who. It was like drawing a line under Britain. All over. “A Symphony Of British Music” is something that’s naturally going to catch my attention. Sadly, it was no such thing. You can’t just scrape off ten numbers from the top of the Guinness Book Of Records – and whatever the fuck that was that George Michael sang after “Freedom” – and call it Job Done. Karaoke bars put more effort into the job than that.
It was as conservative, hidebound and bland as the Opening Ceremony was ambitious, demented and eccentric. It played almost as an attempt to zero out what Danny Boyle and Frank Cottrell Boyce achieved and said in the Opening.
And I remain, for no good reason, sad and angry over this stupid and petty thing, because it sought to tell the world that my odd, bittersweet, green and grey little country is not beautiful and mad in all the ways I have always known it to be.