Why the Olympics closing ceremony hit all the wrong notes
In stark contrast to Danny Boyle's magnificent effort two weeks ago, Laura Foster thinks last night's closing ceremony was a dud
So London 2012 has rumbled to a close after 16 glorious days of tears, triumph and unbelievable sporting achievement. It's been a fantastic carnival, one which thankfully ran like clockwork, and is already being hailed as the most successful Olympic Games of the modern era.
It's been truly heartening to experience the positive attitude of this wonderful nation during these times.
Which makes last night's spectacle all the more regrettable.
"You are the center of the universe!", shouted a slightly pudgy George Michael, as 60million Brits cringed on our sofas at the idea of this car crash playing out on screens across the world. }
While the opening ceremony celebrated everything that is brilliant about these fair isles, the closing ceremony was a whole heap of cynical populist twaddle, the lowest common denominator of entertainment.
Never has the phrase 'scraping the bottom of the barrel' been so apt. Devoid of real meaning or substance, we saw our incredible musical heritage being trampled on by Ed Sheeran murdering Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here, Kaiser Chiefs covering The Who's Pinball Wizard, Liam Gallagher tunelessly wailing Wonderwall and Jessie J dancing on Freddie Mercury's grave.
Not to mention Russell Brand 'singing' I Am the Walrus, or One Direction miming to their awful song What Makes You Beautiful.
George Michael's Freedom wasn't too bad, but who on earth let him sing a second new song that no one knows? (It was called White Light if you're even interested.)
A disjointed production saw strange gaps in the music, and the repetition of Blur's Parklife, Pet Shop Boys' West End Girls, Madness' Our House… it was reminiscent of some terrible house party where the DJ behind the decks only has five songs. The poor athletes milled around looking a bit perplexed.
It wasn't all bad, however. Elbow's turn would have been brilliant if the BBC's Hazel Irvine hadn't been blathering some inane nonsense over the top of them, and Eric Idle's Always Look on the Bright Side of Life started the rescue operation.
But there was a lot of ground to make up for, and it was up to the artists of old to do it. Recordings of John Lennon's Imagine and Kate Bush's Running Up That Hill, alongside live performances from Ray Davies and The Who were the highlights that could be counted on one hand.
Billed as a celebration of British music, the closing ceremony produced many
memorable moments for all the wrong reasons.
Following Danny Boyle's triumphant opening ceremony and the widespread clamor for him to receive some royal recognition, I doubt anyone will be calling for the closing ceremony's Kim Gavin to receive a knighthood. What a sorry sight it was.
Laura Foster is a social commentator and music journalist who has written for NME, Q Magazine, Dazed & Confused and more. You can follow her on Twitter @laufoster
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