The closing ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics was what I’d feared of the opening ceremony. An antithesis of that glorious spectacle it was a mess of ideas, a shambles, a ‘history of British music’ degraded to a party or some such excuse. Early on we were treated to an extended montage of athletes crying, and with subtlety suitably bludgeoned it was on with the show.
David Bowie’s Fashion. From each truck emerged the fashion supermodel pictured who then, to prove his or her versatility, walked to the centre of the stage and posed fashionably. Some marvelled, some wondered. It was this sense of the unknown, this crazy sense of danger that kept me watching; here, some supermodels standing upright; there, a middle-aged pop group aboard a flatbed, none of whom wore seatbelts, one of whom, the saxophone player, dangled from a wire; it was madness.
Or was the highlight Liam Gallagher and his new band, whose ‘new arrangement’ of an old Oasis ‘classic’ amounted to singing out of tune? Not a problem with recorded slots, of which there were several including the aforementioned Bowie, and of course John Lennon whose challenging contribution - “Imagine there's no countries, it isn't hard to do” - caused the more enlightened athletes to vanish in a puff of logic.
Not to be outdone, George Michael - who was able to attend - in a paean to the great days of Top of The Pops, mimed to a recording of his new song. It’s an outrage, suggested various commentators afterwards, to use the occasion to plug your latest single, and who presumably thought the Spice Girls and The Who had appeared for philanthropic reasons. There were lights, there were fireworks, an emotional time was had by all. I’d liked Michael’s performance, preferable anyway to the adoration inexplicably given to five wannabe pop stars screeching “spice up your life”, which was my daughter’s favourite moment; my daughter is ten.