Limp Picks

Aug. 6th, 2012 08:42 am
millionreasons: (hackney)
From the Guardian:

"Last Thursday, the venerable Rupert Murdoch took to Twitter to issue his early verdict on the Olympics....."No wonder China leading in medals while US and UK mainly teach competitive sport a bad thing," he said. "How many champions state school background?" "

In my experience, state schools have competitive sports to give the non-academic kids something to achieve whereas it's your progressive private schools where the kids call the teachers by their first name and choose the lessons that have non-competitive games.

Glad for Mo Farah, Jessica Ennis, and all winners whether black, white, "of mixed heritage" etc, but I don't think the BNP and their armed* wing, the EDL will suddenly wake up all pro-immigration. Daley Thompson, Fatima Whitbread, Tessa Sanderson didn't stop the Brixton riots happening. Jesse Owens didn't bring in civil riots in the US. Sport is not a salve.

Finally, I suggested on that twitter that since our national anthem is so awful that someone should write some words to the Chariots of Fire theme. Danny Boyle got in touch and suggested this, based on his opening ceremony:

The suffragettes won votes
The nurses are great,
British music is cool,
The Tories I hate.

Oh, the industrial rev-ol-ution,
it cleared all the fields,
The industrial rev-ol-ution,
increased all our yields.

Finally #2, if Spandau Ballet aren't re-releasing Gold, then their accountant needs a strong word with them.
* with bricks and dog-shit
millionreasons: (hackney)

I don't need to start on what's wrong with the Olympics (closures (canal, football pitches, towpath, Leyton marsh, roads), branding, bunting bans, missiles, idiots waving flags, security bullshit, Wenlock & Mandevil (malevolent sperm gone sentient), corporatisation of everything, the three ring circuses making the plebs forget their lack of white sliced, prioritising ridiculous events over the lives of le peuple). I generally feel that anything that removes civil liberties is a slippery slope and A Bad Idea. However, I was offered a ticket to watch the fireworks from a pub in Stratford and I'm a sucker for a pyrotechnic display. I hadn't quite pictured it correctly and thought Aline, who gave us the tickets, would be working in Old Stratford (i.e. the Broadway) and the ticket was just because the pub wanted to control entry. But the establishment was The Cow, right on the edge of Westfield, overlooking the stadium itself. Rupert Murdoch had hired the upstairs room, no-one was even allowed onto the stairs (my kingdom for a custard pie) until the end, after Murdoch had departed*, but before the staff had cleared the tables. I ate some left over bread and cheese - I have eaten crumbs from Murdoch's table! I felt just like David Cameron. I guess Murdoch already knew what was going to happen in the ceremony, he'll have listened in to Danny Boyle's voice messages.

We got the bus from Stoke Newington, which, apart from the BoJo announcements and having to wait at Bow Flyover for a VIP to pass, was relatively untroubled. Victoria Park village was rammed, people wandered down through Mile End and Stratford dressed as Batman or in toga costumes. I started to feel a buzz in the sweet, polluted, evening summer air. We watched the Red Arrows red white and blue flypast as we waited at the flyover.

We met in a rather nice old boozer, in which the their rather bizarre meal of whitebait, chicken, goujons and chips (£11.99) was, despite the branding police, called an "Olympic Platter", and then attempted to get through Westfield to Aline's pub. The security guards weren't even letting us cross the road. "No, no-one's going over there, mate." one said. A guy with a megaphone shouted: "Meridien Square is closed! Disperse to your left and right!". We waited for the lights to change, then rushed them. "We don't know who's got tickets and who hasn't!" one yelled to another. It felt like storming the Bastille. Rob handed out the magic bits of paper and the policemen changed from: "You aint going in there" to escorting us through, like a Glastonbury backstage pass. We got to the pub and nabbed a seat by the window, looking one way at the lit up stadium and the other at the telly. People in union jack deely boppers cheered at everything from Daniel Craig to nurses to the queen. I  complained about all the squaddies in the pub (just like being back in Doncaster) and about the "Cool Britannia" nonsense of British Things Americans Have Heard of - JK Rowling, James Bond, Mr fucking Bean; I was surprised that Hugh Grant didn't appear from behind a blue Notting Hill Door. I complained about the co-opting of the counter-culture for the establishment - Bowie and The Prodigy and Frankie GTH and The Jam and The Sex Pistols (the Daily Mail no doubt viewed it as liberal conspiracy). I felt very awkward when people starting chanting "Team GB Team GB Team GB", Nuremberg rally style and felt I was going to be lynched for not singing along to the National Anthem or Rule Britannia (I tried to rally a chorus of Jerusalem, but no-one was interested). I felt like Richard Dawkins at a Baptist church service.

But then an odd thing happened. I started to enjoy myself. I barely drink anymore, so it wasn't the effects of booze. I think it was the entrance of the nurses from the ceremony into the pub. In their 40s style uniforms, mingling with the squaddies made me feel that this was VE Day crossed with Millennium Eve crossed with the Jubilee crossed with the last night of a major music festival. A group of Brunels in their stove pipe hats and four of Mary Poppins' chimney sweeps joined them. I was pretty sure that Dizzee and Tim Berners Lee would soon be in for a quick snifter. It was very surreal to be hanging with volunteers whom a billion people around the world had just watched doing their thang. People screamed at Team GB and booed when Team USA did their round of the stadium. I shouted "Doncaster Represent!" when Sarah Stevenson came on telly and Aline very kindly brought us a bottle of Prosecco, with which I toasted Team GB. The fireworks went off, ooh whizz bang, criss-crossing around like the stadium itself and when Mohammed Ali appeared, I thought he would be the cauldron firestarter, then Steve Redgrave, then David Beckham, but the non-celeb young athletes mutually lighting and creating the orange bowl of fire was actually rather moving; Claire declared it a victory for the left. Even the 425 bus stopping even before Fab Macca Wacky Thumbs Aloft had taken to the stage and the 276 not being upgraded to a double decker, leaving swathes of outraged people stranded in Bow and Homerton at 2 in the morning didn't dampen my mood.

So here's some other Olympics stuff:

The Prince Gig Analogy

Bob Stanley on the Lea Valley regeneration, or lack thereof.

Vice's Guide to The 'Lympics

Critical mass arrests near the Olympic park.

* Mr Burns apparently asked the pub to provide a golf cart for him to get to the stadium; they suggested a wheelchair but he wouldn't accept that.

millionreasons: (Default)
You know the worst thing about the Olympics? Not the ubiquity, not the armed police on the streets, and not being able to use public transport or cycle down the canal, not the branding or the mascots or the sandwiches confiscated to make people eat at McDonalds, the worst thing about the Olympics is going to be Boris Piffle Johnson flopping his hair around and going: "Fnaarrr! Whiff-whaff, marvellous, what?  Errrrrrr, best of British, wonderful effort, whoopsie, harrrrrr, oh sorry just accidentally impregnated an Italian show-jumper, huuuurr." when it should have been Ken, making a lovely speech. All that fucking effort he put in, all that flying around and impressing people and shafting the French and having to do his post 7/7 Churchillian* speech whilst wildly hungover, and he probably didn't even get tickets to the archery. Poor Ken.

In other news, I am stuck in 1990, obsessively listening to the Sundays. They were such a tewibbly middle class band (from Reading, met at Bristol Uni), singing about cardigans, feeling a bit poorly, the lavatory, miserable weather, hideous towns, writing letters and going for tea. But oh that voice, and oh the jangle (the wonderful spooky guitar sound at the beginning of Can't Be Sure) and the over-riding yearn of it all. So, so English.

This has also been on repeat.

There was an odd time between Madchester and grunge when all was noise. Whereas post-punk was more interesting than punk, post-baggy (The Mock Turtles, the Farm, bloody Northside) was awful and there was a guitar-fuelled backlash to it. Away with your samplers, bring me my wah-wah pedal!. You can call it shoegaze if you like but the ferociousness of this MBV-inspired song is far from the rather tedious 12 minute noodling of Slowdive et al. I love the way the guitars hold the tension before the drums and effects pedal bash you into 2 minutes 20 of relentless guitar battering tempered by the dreamy, druggy singing before leaving you far too early, breathless and wanting.....more.

* as in good at making speeches, not as in sending the army in against the striking miners or ordering force-feeding of imprisoned suffragettes or letting the Sydney Street siege jewel robbers burn. Ken wouldn't let anarchists burn. He'd shaft them in a secret deal with the Trotskyites but not leave them to a fiery death.

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