A Kaleidoscope of Mediocrity

So the London Olympics have come to end, not with a bang but with an “Oh god why are the Spice Girls performing?”

It’s hard to put into words exactly what was so wrong with the ceremony – well, if you’re trying to do so without using the words ‘shit’, ‘dreary’ and ‘godawful’, at least.

Brits have a – fairly well-deserved – reputation for cynicism, but somehow we managed to lose that during Danny Boyle’s superb opening ceremony, and then we kept our sense of wonder throughout the Olympics proper (helped along by the fact that our athletes won shitloads of medals).

So as a nation we were feeling pretty generous towards the Olympics when the day of the closing ceremony rolled around. Many Britons didn’t want the Olympics to end, and were prepared to eke every last moment of joy out of the last little bit of our hosting of the main Olympics.

That attitude lasted for about 97 seconds, as all the goodwill was rapidly sucked out of us by the unrelenting mediocrity of the closing ceremony. Ordinary dance performances, bizarre musical arrangements with godawful literal choreography (think Pan’s People from Top of the Pops ca. 1970s).

It’s not that all the bands or songs selected were shit – although many were – but the quality performers were spread few and far between, and many of our best musicians weren’t available to perform so the organisers made do with sub-par recordings, or (even worse) covers of notable songs by markedly inferior performers.

Where Danny Boyle’s opening ceremony was a celebration of Britishness, and used music to set the right tone of anticipation and excitement, flawlessly tying together British artists from all across the past few decades, Kim Gavin’s closing ceremony was a hotch-potch of incoherent songs, many of which were funereal or dirge-like in tone, with a severely curtailed roster of artists (even repeating songs at one point).


While Danny Boyle’s ceremony used Britain’s musical accomplishments as backdrop and accompaniment for our other historic achievements, Kim Gavin’s ceremony seemed to be solely about music – yet with bizarrely little thought about the arrangement or tone of his musical choices.

I have seen worse events. But then again most of those have been put on by high school children, and didn’t cost several million pounds.

Does this mean British cynicism has returned?

No. It never went away – the cynicism was inside us all along…

It just takes something genuinely shit to give us reason to unleash it.









2 thoughts on “A Kaleidoscope of Mediocrity

  • 13th August 2012 at 00:10

    It wasn’t just the Brits. This American was ready to pummel Boyle. For example, we just spent two weeks celebrating athletes both male and female – and he gives us a fucking fashion show?!!

    • 13th August 2012 at 00:14

      The man responsible for the Closing Ceremony is Kim Gavin, nothing to do with Danny Boyle. That’s partly why they’re so, so different in tone and execution!

      (I did see a tweet earlier suggesting that Boyle will currently be busy underlining the word ‘opening’ on his CV…)


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