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Miscellaneous - The Olympics' Closing Ceremony

  by Jon Rogers

published: 24 / 7 / 2012

Miscellaneous - The Olympics' Closing Ceremony


...but slates the utter disaster of the closing ceremony

Opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games? A few grumbles but pretty excellent and spectacular. The actual games? Absolutely brilliant, well done Team GB for an excellent performance, an outstanding result to finish third in the medal tables. Closing ceremony? Unfortunately, nigh on utter disaster. Dreadful. It was so bad that it's hard to know where to start. But you have to start somewhere... Admittedly I wasn't in the stadium but sat at home watching on a TV and I'm sure that will have made a difference, not to be able to experience the atmosphere and excitement, plus fireworks never really look quite as good on the TV as they do in real life, so perhaps I didn't experience it in its best light. Still it stunk to high heaven where I was sitting - on a nice comfy sofa accompanied by some red wine. Quite a lot as it turned out, it was a virtual necessity to get through the three hour tedium. And when that ran out, something stronger was called for. It was billed as a sort of after-show party. Well, if that was the quality of the after-show then the only thing to do was to stash a bottle under your jacket and sneak out to join your mates who were no doubt doing something more exciting. In reality it was a potted karaoke history of British pop music since the 60s (with a few notable exceptions, but more of that later) where the great and the good turn up, fly the flag and belt out a couple of their most popular songs. Really all you need is the big stars from every generation, a few up-and-comers and a few pop acts for the kids. Pretty much sorted really, and with the big names featuring it's hard to go wrong. Emeli Sande. Who? Exactly. I'm sure she's a lovely lady and she has a decent enough (not great) voice. But who is she? Why does she deserve to be up there? No idea. I wouldn't recognise her if she walked down my street. Either I'm completely out of touch (always a possibility) or she really doesn't deserve to be there. Household names. If you have to ask 'who is that?' Then they're not famous enough and should be scrapped. And then this nobody pops up again. And again. WTF? Utterly bland. George Michael promised much with a decent shimmy through 'Freedom', a few cheeky grins and some wiggling. Then he threw it all away by performing his latest, and unknown, single. Everyone lost interest. Just a thought: I wonder what the more conservative, repressive countries around the globe thought of having to sit through watching an openly gay, rather balding man do his stuff to an audience of millions? Kudos to the Kinks' main man Ray Davies for a quick run through 'Waterloo Sunset' - and a few bum notes told you he wasn't miming - but it wasn't exactly the most liveliest of songs to get people into the party spirit. Then it really just degenerates into an utter and unashamed cringe-fest. Jessie J was a pop singer I rather liked for her carefree, breezy pop tunes and rather zany attitude, but she's gone down in my estimation now. Is she now just one of those celebrity pop stars that turns up to anything, performs a duet of some classic and then grins all over a chat show and bleats on about how wonderful it was? What was she doing with Brian May? And did anyone else spot the irony of her warbling on about not worrying about the "money, money, money" whilst she's standing up in a white Rolls Royce which probably cost more than a lot of people's homes. Gawd - my eyes, my eyes! And speaking of May... First there was Muse - who, possibly due to the wine I'd drunk by that stage, I didn't even recognise - indulged in some god-awful indulgent guitar wank. Which was then topped by May with even more indulgent guitar wank. My ears, my ears! Make it stop! A theme of the actual games was 'passing the baton' onto a younger generation. A theme somewhat picked up on with Ed Sheeran having a pop at Pink Floyd's 'Wish You Were Here' with Nick Mason playing along. But while our younger athletes proved they were worthy of picking up that baton. Sheeran looked well out of his depth. I've no idea how old he is but he appears to be still in puberty. No doubt he still wets the bed when mummy turns the bedroom light out at night. And probably has all the personality of a paper bag. If he represents the best of Britain's younger generation of musicians then there really is no hope. But the nadir was surely Russell Brand. If you saw it you know what I mean. I shall leave it at that before I say something highly libellous. Even Annie Lennox wasn't that bad. And she was utterly terrible. Why do these big events insist on including her? When did she last make an album? Or even one of any note? Still, every big event and there she is warbling away at some song you don't recognise. Just sing 'Sweet Dreams' and be on your way. Or better still, just don't come next time. You have easily outlived your 15 minutes of fame. And that well-known rock 'n' roll rebel (snigger) Liam Gallagher, never one to really miss an opportunity to get on TV, popped up with his backing band - whatever their name is, let's face it no one cares - to have a run through of 'Wonderwall'. It sounded like he'd only just learnt the song that afternoon. But what was really telling was noticing the difference between who was there and who wasn't. No Rolling Stones. No Led Zeppelin. No David Bowie. No Elton John. No Adele. No Iron Maiden. No Bros. Acts that have proved their worth over decades (Okay, I lied about Bros). At least Bowie had his hit 'Fashion' aired during the model/fashion interlude. Not a single note from two of Britain's biggest selling and best loved music acts. It seems the Stones turned down an offer to play but no word on what the likes of Jimmy Page or Robert Plant thought. And Bowie isn't nowadays in the best of health. Before the event rumours were flying around that Kate Bush was going to make an appearance. An unlikely event and one that never materialised but, like Bowie, at least she got a nod with 'Running Up That Hill'. Instead we were treated to One Direction... Well, that's alright then, that makes up for things. And top marks for Gary Barlow for turning up after a recent personal tragedy but Take That never really did it for me and their turn in the spotlight just seemed sanitised and squeaky-clean. And if you are going to use footage of Freddie Mercury, surely it would be appropriate on this occasion to have him singing 'We Are the Champions'? Why have the apprentice - in the former of the Kaiser Chiefs - on to sing 'Pinball Wizard' when you've got the masters on later? Do I want to listen to karaoke? It really does say something when the best performance of the night, goes not to a musician or singer. But to a comedian, ex-Monty Python Eric Idle with a predictable sing-a-long version of 'Always Look on the Bright Side of Life'. They really should have ended it there. But they didn't. There was the (yet another) reunion of the Spice Girls to listen to. Yeah! Spice up your Sunday night viewing and do a little zig-a-zig-ga (or something like that). Still a splash of pop technicolour and the chance to wonder just why was Posh Spice's microphone turned down... Or was it just me? At least they added some fun and some energy. The whole event was just all so underwhelming. And went on far too long.

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