Monday, August 25, 2008

As far as the UK contribution to the Beijing closing ceremony is concerned...

...this piece by Charles Spencer in the Daily Telegraph expresses my feelings exactly.  

(I wanted to give my own take yesterday, but unfortunately I couldn't get onto blogger).


Blogger JL said...

I hate to say this, and hope it's not offensive, but it would appear that socially, the UK (or at least England) is in one of its periodic fits of childish reversion.

I've talked to a number of folks who work in the social sector in various places in the UK, and my response has to be, "What happened?" The denizens of the UK were previously known quite well for fairly decent social behavior!

In this historical cycle, that seems to have vanished utterly, to be replaced by an alarming and frankly horrifying series of trends and fascinations of the most inappropriate sort.

It's happened before at certain times, but honestly, the place seems to have just utterly lost its way...

Sorry, hope that's not truly the case, but...

Mon Aug 25, 01:59:00 pm  
Blogger pierre l said...

I hear rumours that Montreal may have finally finished paying for the 1976 Olympics (or I may be completely wrong). I haven't lived there since 1972, so I wasn't affected.
But I do resent the way that a lot of Lottery funding that would normally have gone to various kinds of arty things is being channelled towards the Olympics (not to mention a portion of my taxes).

Mon Aug 25, 02:49:00 pm  
Blogger Clare Dudman said...

Yes, JL, I'm sorry to say I agree. I hope you are right because 'periodic fits' suggest it is just temporary.

Small shops are shutting, there is little community spirit, and the city centres only seem to come truly to life in the evening when half-clothed young (and not so young) people roam around drunk and otherwise intoxicated.

We seem to be stuck in an era when it is all right to be greedy - and everything seems to depend on money. The celebrity rules and culture seems to be little valued. I had such hope when Tony Blair came to power but i have been much disappointed.

And yes, Pierre, it is just the same here. Arts Council money has been diverted to the Olympics - and really far fewer people benefit from that than the many that enjoy the Arts.

Mon Aug 25, 05:11:00 pm  
Anonymous crimeficreader said...

I've not been watching at all, but caught a bit of the London section on the news yesterday - well, I saw the bus before the top came off (wondering how it got there or if it had been made in China) and Boris Johnson waving a flag looking uncomfortable and in desperate need of a professional stylist. Then I caught an article in The Guardian earlier today which said there was controversy - hardly surprising - in that an image of Marcus Harvey's art work of Myra Hindley, was flashed in the London 2012 promo video as screened in Beijing.
olympics2012.politicsandsport) I've put line breaks in again to ensure the full link comes out.

Charles Spencer's article made sad reading for me and I'm glad I did not see it all. Is this the best of British talent? But it's certainly a reflection of how vacuous our (cultural) society has become. Everything is now, now, now; shallow and a flash in the pan. 15 minute famers, which our culture now thrives on creating, struggle to extend their luck to 15 months or more. If they are women they seem to think that more exposure of flesh will assist in that endeavour. If they are men, a sex scandal seems to be par for the course. Rest assured, the next 15 minute famer will have the lifespan of a couple of sparklers in the back garden on Guy Fawkes night. Anything else is more likely to be notoriety or being ignored.

We have lost any sense of endurance or depth (apart from our athletes who did us proud) and, dare I say it, the decent values that we were once quite famous for across the globe. If someone says we are now perceived as the "tacky" nation, I'd find it hard to fight the corner. Those who uphold those values are doing what they do best within those values: remaining discreet.

I believe that a recession might actually be good for this country as it would force many to re-examine their finances; prioritise what is really important to them and hence, force a reflection on their value structure. This is already happening.

Let's also not forget that in addition to the diversion of funds to the Olympics 2012 away from the arts and arts councils, there are other charities suffering. These include health related charities and care charities.

And yes, pierre l, you're right. It was recently reported that Montreal had finally finished paying for its hosting of the Olympics after 30 years.

Personally, I too was full of hope when Labour got into government in 1997. But it did not take more than months before interaction with a party campaigner over local council elections had me walking away from them. Personal greed is something I've seen them serve since they've been in office - now for far too long. But it was the advent of "Cool Britannia", another Labour engineering, that I feel was the start of the true denigration of culture in the UK.

Lastly, never did see the attraction of Beckham. Spencer reports that he kicked a ball into a massed crowd of UK athletes. When interviewed by the BBC he said he was proud of London and of himself. Spencer noted the reply as inane; yeah right, proud of himself for what? Flying to Beijing and kicking a ball or for just being alive? And I bet the delivery came in the same old high pitched whine that sounds like a pansy. Why oh why is this guy so feted outside the world of his footie talent? Beats me every time.

And in the new UK world of crass vacuity with drunken muffin tops peeing in your garden as they make their way slowly home, the return of the true alpha male beckons. Alpha/beta males and females make for another exploration, but that's not for here right now.

Note to jl: sometimes you have to reach rock bottom to rise again. You hit a nail on the head with your comment to Clare's post here. The masses that make movements in the UK are lost. It is true. But circumstances now will serve to change that and your suggestion that it is a cycle is most welcome. Surely we can't go on creating the underdog on the world stage? Given our history, I am left with some hope. Clare's post and the comments to date add to that hope.

Mon Aug 25, 06:58:00 pm  
Blogger Clare Dudman said...

Bravo, CFR!

Mon Aug 25, 08:11:00 pm  
Blogger JL said...

Regarding the Beckham 'thing', one of the falling-down funniest things I have seen in a long while was the result of Victoria Beckham, while an interviewee, attempting to answer the question, "Why don't you smile?"

Dear Posh Spice responded, "I smile, watch!" and contorted her face into the most terrifying, snarling grimace I have seen outside of a Hammer film of a certain genre...

Mon Aug 25, 10:18:00 pm  
Blogger Clare Dudman said...

Heh. I can imagine a lot of things, JL. but I am afraid Posh Spice smiling is not one of them.

Mon Aug 25, 11:01:00 pm  
Anonymous crimeficreader said...

Nah, me neither. Watched a documentary on her on Sunday - only because I was curious and prostrate on the sofa and couldn't be bothered to switch channels. Someone concluded that she could endear herself to the female (and I believe male too) masses if she did five things. The last was "smile". The puckered pout is so well-practised though. If only...

But honestly, why do they still garner so many column inches (exceeding her waistband size)? Especially her? What does she do exactly?

Tue Aug 26, 02:14:00 am  
Blogger Anne S said...

The "Lympics" as they are known in our house passed by us totally unregarded. Frankly, I hate them and assiduously avoid watching them.

I successfully failed to watch either the opening or closing ceremonies, or any events in between.

It is a challenge, as the news is saturated by Aussie gold medal medal achievements. I can't stand the hype and the ultra nationalism exhibited by the media - Aussie, Aussie Aussie - Oie Oie Oie - chills my blood and makes me feel ill with the world.

Tue Aug 26, 11:04:00 am  

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