Monday 13 August 2012

Songs For Sports Day Revisited

OK, I admit it - I was being overly grumpy for the sake of it.
Joining the band of the nay-sayers and doom-mongers wishing ill on the Olympics just so we can say: "Hey, we're British, what did you expect? Of course it was going to go wrong"

Obviously, I've seen previous Olympics, but there was something intangible about London 2012 that piqued my interest.

Team GB did good, better than many expected.  A small nation who are traditionally a bit rubbish at sport, and they have achieved 3rd Place in the Medal Table.  And the sportsmanship on show - those that competed did so for the love of their sport, not for some financial or commercial reward.

The names have been said many times before, but I'm going to say them again because they deserve as many mentions as possible: Bradley Wiggins, Chris Hoy, Mo Farah, Jessica Ennis, Andy Murray, Ben Ainslie - and these are just (some of) the high profile winners.  Lets not forget all the others: Helen Glover, Heather Stanning, Katherine Grainger, Anna Watkins, Peter Wilson, Greg Rutherford, Charlotte Dujardin - the list goes on.

The Opening Ceremony was a fantastic spectacle  from the singing of 'Jerusalem', around the country with the different anthems, the story of Britain, Mr Bean does Chariots Of Fire amd the lighting of the flame.
It seems though not everyone was convinced -
Aidan Burley MP: "The most leftie opening ceremony I have ever seen - more than Beijing, the capital of a communist state! Welfare tribute next?" followed later by: "Thank God the athletes have arrived! Now we can move on from leftie multi-cultural crap. Bring back red arrows, Shakespeare and the Stones!"
Oh shut up you silly sod!

I watched bits & pieces in the first week, not really being taken with much of what I'd seen, but then the running races started, and from the start of the Hurdles I was willing Jessica Ennis to victory in the Heptathlon.  To me, this was a truly remarkable sporting performance and if she receives the BBC Sports Personality Of The Year it would be richly deserved (although there is quite a bit of competition)

There was a great deal of hype and rumour leading up to the Closing Cermony.  Did it deliver?  Sadly not.  There were enjoyable bits, but it just smacked of the same tired, corporate "rock show".
Most memorable bits?  Boris Johnson doing his thumbs-up Dad Dancing to The Spice Girls, The Kaiser Chiefs doing "Pinball Wizard" (I really thought it was Roger Daltrey singing, so much so I even argued with the TV when the Kaiser Chiefs name was shown) and the closing performance from The Who (No Beatles, No Stones, and so The Who get the gig (this is not meant to sound dis-respectful to Pete & Roger, but I think even they accept that this is perhaps the order of things).

The Downside:
did we really need Emeli Sande twice?  Was Adele not available for one of those slots?
The tempting of the audience/viewers with the suggestion that Kate Bush & David Bowie MIGHT appear on stage
Has Annie Lennox got any other career than appearing at major concerts?
Ed Sheeran & Pink Floyd - Ginger Ed's voice is (I think) a bit to weedy to do the song "Wish You Were Here" the service it deserves.

Before the start of the Games, I offered a list of songs I was expecting to hear played constantly for the duration.
I am pleased to report that the BBC (and other media providers) did not resort to the tired and predictable I was suggesting.
The Take That & Elbow tunes did not make an appearance until the Closing Ceremony, I only heard Spanner Billet's "Gold" once (on Radio 2), and the Status Quo & Pet Shop Boys tunes were entirely absent.
That'll teach me to be prematurely grumpy about something that may never happen

I'm a football fan, and the Euro 2012 tournament that preceded the Olympics just pales in comparison to the 16 days of sporting endeavour we have just witnessed.

(I have just realised that the last entry posted was a wistful reminiscence of times gone by, and this entry is an apology for being a doubter about the biggest Sporting event of the year.
I'll have to be careful in future, or I'll be in danger of losing the coveted title of 'UK Number 1 Curmudgeon')

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