Friday, 17 August 2012

London Olympics 2012

Oh Dear!  I’m having a colossal post-Olympic let down.  For 16 wonderful days I have lived the Olympic dream and marvelled at London 2012.  I’ve shouted at the TV till I’m hoarse, felt my heart burst with pride at the achievement of Team GB and cried my eyes out watching people of all nations achieve their personal dreams.  I’ve always enjoyed sport but this was something else – something that I’m so glad that I’ve witnessed in my lifetime: a home Games.

I watched virtually everything on TV; three and a half hours of cycle road-racing (gripping), rowing, equestrian, boxing (never thought I’d see a knock down in a women’s match), hockey, football, track and field athletics, swimming, you name it, I watched it.  London never looked better, come rain or shine and the various Games venues set amongst England’s rich heritage, Greenwich Navel College, Horse Guards Parade, Lord’s Cricket Ground, Eton Dorney, Box Hill, Hyde Park, Wimbledon, Weymouth Sound and others scrubbed up surprisingly well.

For me, the legacy of this particular Olympics is the way it has changed the way I look at sport now.  It has put truly professional sports, especially football, into perspective and revealed their participants to be nothing more than highly paid under-achievers.  Whilst it would be naïve to think that Olympic athletes do not receive money, in many instances it is subsistence only, food and board whilst training.  Many still have a day job yet still find the time to train so as to compete and achieve at the highest level.  Somehow, the Olympic Games gives us a pure sporting spectacle and the emotion shown by the athletes reveals that overcoming all odds without monetary recompense is its own reward.  Stunning and humbling.

More in line with this blog, and I apologise if I sound nationalistic here, I felt a real pride in the music utilised in both the opening and closing ceremonies.  As one who has lived a life of music, it was very satisfying to see British music given its own showcase and to underline the decades of quality art we have given the world.  From The Beatles to Take That, this small Isle has come up with the goods over and over.

My own favourite moments included Ray Davies warbling ‘Waterloo Sunset’, Kate Bush’s re-mixed and re-vocalised version of ‘Running Up That Hill’ (modulated down a key or two to suit her current singing range) and Emeli Sande’s beautiful rendering of ‘Abide With Me’.  The only sour moment was provided by George Michael who ignored his back catalogue and chose the occasion to publicise his new single.  What a twat.  The Olympic Games is all about endeavour to achieve – not endeavour to make a few more millions, George.  Perhaps someone should tell him what the Olympic Dream really means.

Here's something else I picked up - a song called 'London' by Thea Gilmore.  It was used by the BBC for the backing to an image collage of the Games and set it off perfectly.  Lyrics are by Sandy Denny and were only discovered recently.  Thea was asked to set them to music - here's the result.


Adrian said...

Congratulations all 'round on a smashing success!! May you carry that Olympic spirit like a torch... You are ALL Mott the Hoople, and all else you've shown :)

music obsessive said...

Thanks Adrian, it was a blast. I hope the legacy of the 2010 Winter games is still with you!