Archive for August, 2008

August 31, 2008

Olympic Dilemma

Jimmy Page and Leona Lewis

With the sweat now dried on the face of Jimmy Page we can now decide if his duet with Leona Lewis at the Olympics was worthy of representing our musical nation.  Strangely Jimmy Page looks of oriental origin  though this is doubtful the reason for his national call-up.  Maybe Macca, Bowie or Jagger weren’t available or were unwilling, maybe the titanic riffing of ‘Whole Lotta Love’ was too tempting?  Why did Page agree? The filthy lucre could be one of the reasons along with the sheer buzz of playing live to a couple of billion people.  Why Leona Lewis though?  Maybe her extraordinary fame in the States propelled her into the spotlight or maybe it was the classic mythical story of beauty and the beast which summoned the idea.  Whatever the reasons it was an incongruous sight that only a truly global event like the Olympics could conjure up.  Dignity and reason are always absent at such times.  

With only 8 minutes of showtime available in Beijing the real dilemma approaches in 4 years time when London will have to symbolise, define, visualise and entertain to the rest of the world, not once, but twice and for several hours at a time!  What musical representation will they cast on the watching world?  For the Beijing showcase they decided to integrate the world of pop and hard rock (even for the mawkish London party outside Buckingham Palace featured a set comprising of popsters and kid friendly rockers covering, mostly classic, rock songs!).  This blending of genre’s suggests a directionless approach, fearful of striding out with true definition of musical culture.  Admittedly much music is now genre defying and a hybrid of something else anyway, but at least the artist is responsible for the cross pollination.  The last thing we need is an artistic director to start grouping together unlikely and unnatural musicians just for the novelty aspect.  Who wants Geri Halliwell fronting the Kiaser Chiefs?  Unwilling to select a particular style and therefore sitting on the cultural fence doesn’t create a visceral experience. 

So what music would best serve our Olympic ceremonies.  Will it be Pop, Rock, Indie, Soul, Dance, Hip Hop, Electronica, Thrash, Dub Step or a amalgamation of all of them.  Of course it is only fair to represent each musical genre,  within the same song might be stretching it a little though!  However a duet between Pete Doherty and Rihanna could well be the highlight of the whole fortnight!  Maybe the mishmash of styles is a postmodernist representation of a multimedia and digital society – or that’s what the organisers will tell us!  However the true identity of this small island lays within the sub cultures and diversification of our wonderfully rich musical history.  Don’t tamper too much and let our natural ability sing for itself.