Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Sound quality

or lack thereof.

The Closing Ceremony of the London Olympics 2012 opened with the same quote as did the Opening Ceremony.

Timothy Spall as Winston Chrchill

“Be not afeard; the isle is full of noises, Sounds, and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not." William Shakespeare,

Sounds that should have been 'sweet airs' and music that give(s) delight were just noise - and noisy, cacophonous  noise at that. It did hurt too. Sometimes it was so painful it was unrecognisable as music at all. Madness' 'Our House'  and Liam Gallagher's 'Wonderwall' were hardly relevant and barely audible.

Nor was some of the music chosen fitting for the Closing Ceremony. Much as I love John Lennon's Imagine, whose idea was it to use it as the anthem for the celebration of an event that is primarily about competition? Healthy, good-natured (for the most part) competition between nations rather than a 'world will be as one'. Imagine there's no countries and imagine no possessions are really not suitable lyrics for competitors who were putting all their efforts into winning medals (primarily gold) for their homelands.

Very few of the songs were the sort of anthems a crowd could get behind either. The one exception was Queen's 'We will Rock You'. We'd heard it chanted by the crowds at events throughout the Games.   When Freddie Mercury 'conducted' the audience from a giant screen (a video of the warm-up of Live Aid) , I hoped that we'd hear his voice taking the lead. It was not to be. Brian May and Roger Taylor were joined by Jessie J, whose timing and delivery fell far short of the mark. Lennon's 'Imagine', by comparison, was started by a children's choir, and continued with an audio track of the man himself.

Add to all this a lack of explanation from the BBC's Commentators about what was happening and who was performing, and the whole thing was a bit of a mess. Contributions from Eric Idle (perfect clarity from his head-mic) lifted things in the middle and The Who showed the yougsters how to do it properly at the end with 'My Generation' (at least that was fitting for a Games that was promising a legacy to follow). 

Not quite nul points for Aunty Beeb but not medal-worthy either, which is a shame, because the Games were full of medal-worthy moments.