High Contrast

Continuing with the dance music theme which has been running on and on here for the last week or so and the occasional sporting theme I cast my mind back a year to when the London 2012 Olympics started with that still jaw-dropping opening ceremony, Danny Boyle’s Isle Of Wonder- dancing Victorian industrialists, Kenneth Brannagh as Isambard Kingdom Brunel reading Shakespeare, cyclists with wings shooting out beneath Arctic Monkeys, Bradley Wiggins in yellow ringing that massive bell, the NHS, Dizzie Rascal, Fuck Buttons soundtracking the athlete’s parade. And then two weeks (more once the Paralympics started) of success and bonhomie and ‘we’re all actually really in this together’ (except wobbly jawed George Osbourne, booed by an entire stadium). That oft-reported night when British track and field stars brought home three gold medals and in a beautiful two fingers to the EDL and other assorted racists they were a black Somalian refugee, a heptathlete with a white mother and black father, and a pasty Scot. And, rewind, from the opening ceremony, in a moment that probably brought tears to many an aging raver’s eyes, Underworld’s Rez booming out, across a stadium, and globally; an acid house Olympics.

Rez (High Contrast Remix)

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Harder Than You Think

This picture shows what happens when an athlete at the top of his game wins a major event, as David Weir did a couple of nights ago at the Olympic Stadium in London.

I’m sure I can speak for a lot of people when I say I’ve found the Paralympics to be just about the most inspiring thing I’ve seen for ages. The coverage has been a little patchy by Channel 4 in terms of showing actual live action but the excitement and interest it’s stirred up has been phenomenal, especially when so much of it has been about the sport itself and not just the disability. Perhaps people will start looking at disability differently. And though it seems unfair to pick any of the athletes out the performances of David Weir, Hannah Cockcroft, Ellie Simmonds, Jonnie Peacock and Sarah Storey have brought tears to the eyes. I’m just wondering if we can find an event to start training our son IT in. He’ll be seventeen when Rio comes around.

Channel 4’s coverage has been soundtracked by a catchy little horn sample and a fragment of voice. This began to nag at me so I googled it. It turns out it’s a Public Enemy song from 2007, which made me realise I haven’t bought (or possibly even heard) a new Public Enemy record since, ooh, the last century. It was just as surprising to find that Harder Than You Think is riding high in the UK charts. It doesn’t surprise me that it’s selling, I just didn’t know we still had a chart. Here’s Chuck and Flavor doing the right thing…

Which reminds me; why did 80, 000 people boo George Osbourne at the Olympic Stadium?
Because the Olympic Stadium only holds 80, 000 people.

Para-Olympians

On Saturday February 5th 2011 I posted Olympians by Fuck Buttons, the stand out track from their Tarot Sport album and wrote this;

Ten minutes plus of joyful, melodic, ecstatic, headspinning, roomfilling noise, drums and production courtesy of Andrew Weatherall. If the organisers of London 2012 use this for the opening ceremony it’ll be an interesting games.

Which was unusually prescient of me seeing as they did. Looking at the back cover of the Opening Ceremony Isles Of Wonder cd in the supermarket the other day I saw that Fuck Buttons have been renamed F Buttons, which amused me briefly before going off to do the big shop. This was another huge track off their 2009 lp.

Flight Of The Feathered Serpent

Good luck to everyone involved in the Paralympics (organisers, volunteers and especially athletes), starting today. Let’s hope its as successful as the games a couple of weeks ago were.




Breton Folk

On the campsite in Bretagne (sorry if you’re getting bored of ‘what I did on my holidays’) I saw two bands play. Just before they stuck the Olympics closing ceremony up on a big screen in the sportsbarn a Breton band played on the basketball court. Breton culture is very celtic so this threepiece had mandolins, tin whistles and a one horned bagpipe thing as well as guitars. Second song in I started singing along to something I recognised (they sang in French, or Breton more likely). After the first chorus I realised it was a cover of The Pogues’ Streams Of Whiskey, which they followed with Sally MacLennan (sung in English, with a French accent). Later on they did A Pair Of Brown Eyes and a rather affecting version of Thousands Are Sailing. Then we all decamped to the sportsbarn for the closing ceremony. As the Kronenbourg kicked in and the scooters charged across the Olympic stadium to the sound of Pinball Wizzard, and people cheered images of Jessica Ennis and Mo Farrah, it all felt very peculiar and for the first time, almost ever, I felt a pang of being patriotic (and not in a following the England football team way but a newer, modern British, multicultural, left-of-centre kind of way. Let’s see how long this lasts).

Thousands Are Sailing

Here Wiggo

Superb stuff from Bradley Wiggins. Long may you continue.

Making Time

Rez

That women’s road race was exciting was exciting wasn’t it?

After Friday night’s show I can’t get this out of my head, that main squiggly riff circling round my mind.

I Heard Wonders

I can’t decide what was most impressive and jawdropping about last night’s opening ceremony- the wit, scale and verve of the historical section, including dancing Victorian industrialists, marching Suffragists, a pause for the First World War and the destruction of the English countryside by the erection of some giant chimneys.

The whistle stop tour through British music, including some of the actual good bits, played out through text messages between a boy, a girl and a lost mobile phone.

The tribute to the National Health Service (no political points being made there then) with hundreds of dancing doctors and nurses and patients in hospital beds.

Or the sudden and totally unexpected appearance of Arctic Monkeys playing I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor, then covering Come Together as giant cycling doves flew from the ground beneath them.

Or the sound of Underworld’s tripped out acid house belter Rez blasting round the stadium as the teams of athletes began their entrance. I mean, Rez!

Or for that matter, the honour guard for the flame by the people who built the stadium, Danny Boyle pointing out that this should be, maybe, the peoples’ Olympics. Followed by the six kids who took the flame for the last part of the journey. Not Becks, six unknown kids. Well done Danny Boyle- hats off to you sir. 


I Heard Wonders