An open letter to Danny Boyle…

London Calling

Gold medal winner Paul Simonon smashes his bass into the floor in new Olympic event

Dear Danny,

So there we were sat there all ready to hate the whole Olympic opening ceremony.

After all these things are usually the worst of Britain as Sir Gary Barlow showed us during the Jubilee affair.

Danny, we knew you were up to something, after all we had heard the rumours about the madness you had up your sleeve, but we still expected hours of Cheryl Cole miming and dancing awkwardly, some quickly forgotten Cowell puppet prancing around grinning desperately at the camera, Jedward desperately gurning at their swift disappearing fame and then Sir Gaz Barley himself plonking through some ballad at the end and getting a gong for ‘organising’ the whole limp lettuce affair.

But this was about as punk rock as it gets. That is punk rock as it was in the first place – a punk rock of big gestures, surreal art, edgy music and a powerful message that jolted you awake. Taking the message to heart of the establishment. This was situationism at work. The Queen acting in a mind blowing surreal play that made a powerful political statement from industrial revolution to, apparently (according to LTW reader Terry Clarke) during the Emilie Sande’s performance of the FA cup favourite Abide With Me, there were 96 – note, 96 – dancers, ( a reference to the Hillsborough 96 for whom we have just been touring, with the Clash’s Mick Jones in the fight for justice).

But then Danny we knew you had form. Good form. Trainspotting was the defining nineties movie, a great take on Irvine Welsh’s classic book – a dark, trippy romp through the peeling wallpaper of the not so royal Britain where smack is the currency and lives are desperate. The film also had a great sound track, so we knew that you were on the case on the music front. But we were worried that by the time you had jumped through all the hoops and the conventions of the Coca Cola games that you would have had your creativity watered down to a dribble.

We should have known that a Bury boy was no push over though.

We knew that you had a bit of power because you had Slumdog Millionaire, a massive worldwide hit of a film. With this you could tell them to fuck off if you had to and we knew you creative powers because you have made a series of pretty original films that show a keen eye for the mind blowing effect and sense of vision. When we heard they had asked you to do the opening ceremony we thought, ‘A ha, they are pulling a weird one.’

Despite all this we didn’t expect what you delivered. It looks like you were given a total free hand. No wonder that daft Tory MP from Cannock, Aiden Burley, was choking on his caviare and complaining about the political nature of the event on twitter, typing with his prissy fingers about the leftie nonsense and multi culturalism. He received a barrage of angry responses from Twitter users, many claiming the multicultural nature of London is one of the main reasons for their pride in the capital and has made a half assed apology, claiming to have been misunderstood in that time honoured modern way of Twitter.

In your magic event Danny you managed to celebrate all those things that put the Great in Britain like the NHS and our generous spirit that welcomes people and culture. You incorporated our wonky history without the usual triumphalism – a history of normal people doing great things and not just the history of kings and queens and empire. You got CND symbol into a dance sequence and celebrated the way that more than any other country in the world we can soak up waves of immigration and ideas and make them all feel British.

The soundtrack was stunning. It was to hear the Clash’s apocalyptic London Calling – an anti nuclear war song blasting out was quite emotional and then the Sex Pistols Pretty Vacant blasted at high decibel as the Queen sat there quite safe in the hands of James Bond was pretty surreal. The Queen becoming a Bond girl for the night in the highlight sketch of the whole thing. Danny we would like to ask you, does the Queen actually have a sense of humour? it’s never easy to tell.

That bit where the Queen was ‘parachuted’ into the stadium. You must have been pissing yourself laughing as you put all this together – turning the whole notion of an opening ceremony on its head. It was like the special guest on the xmas Morecambe and Wise show from our youth but on steroids. Even if some of it was hard for people to follow it looked magical all the way though. I’m still amazed that they let you get away with all this- no empire pumping, half an hour on the NHS, harry potter and pop culture- are you watching Mitt Romney and your stupid, dumbed down Disney take on the world and your slobbering piggy eyed greed and stupidity?

The set was outrageous. It almost made the sponsorship woes and greed of the fizzy burger mob who own the games worthwhile. It looked so much like middle earth that we were waiting for hobbits to come bounding out, instead what we got were cottages with smoking chimneys, a waterwheel, 15,000 performers, 40 live sheep, 12 horses, ten chickens, three cows, two goats, nine geese and three dogs that somehow told the history of the UK as it went from middle ages agriculture to the industrial revolution to the post industrial age to pop culture machine- pretty ambitious Danny and you made it work.

The playing with our amazing pop culture was quite stunning and that aformentioned meeting of the Queen and James Bond will become an iconic piece of footage, whilst showing the world our pop culture – the stuff that we do the best – was a brilliant move.

Mitt Romney (oh no, him again – the dumbed down version of George Bush) may have slagged off our capability of putting on the games, after all he had put the Coca Cola Olympic games on in Salt Lake City and everybody remembers that opening ceremony (nope, me neither). The Americans seem to think they own the games – they seem to be held there most of the time. We don’t.

Danny, you took the opportunity to show the world what we do best and what people love us for. It was a surreal, tripped out, hilarious, quite mental display of pop culture madness. A mash-up and celebration of our colourful island and its fantastic soundtrack.

You proved you knew your music. Frank Turner was a surprise addition at the start of the show and he has never sound better – and we would like to congratulate you on the sound – the groups sounded amazing – none of the usual muffled, rubbish messes but sharp and live and abrasive – a long way away from Cheryl Cole miming, that’s for sure!

Taking full advantage of this, the Artic Monkeys were simply stunning – have they ever sounded better? Alex Turner sported the greatest quiff since the Beatles in Hamburg or prime time Stray Cats. Their breakthrough hit, I Bet You Look So Good On the Danceloor’ had an urgency and power that I have never heard before and their performance of the Beatles Come Together was a gripping and powerful take on the song that John Lennon initially wrote for Jerry Brown’s campaign to be governor of California in 1969 before taking it back for the Beatles Abbey Road. There was also transcendental, noisegaze artists Fuck Buttons getting played in the soundtrack and let’s not forget the event’s musical score produced by Underworld.

After this it was a blur of more mad dancing, more wacky costumes than a Damon Albarn play. It was a pop culture roller coaster with the Beatles, Stones, the Who and a live appearance by Dizzee Rascal bringing it bang up to date.

Even Pink FLoyd sounding morose and melancholic really fitted because instead of the American fixed grin displays we are not scared of the rainy day psychedelia that soaks our island. It was great that you incorporated all of this Danny. We hate all that phoney jolliness like Sir Gary Barlow did for the Jubilee.

If only Macca hadn’t had that sound fuck up for the mighty Hey Jude then the whole thing would have ended on an emotional high.

Good work Danny – this was the punk rock moment of the decade.

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87 comments on “An open letter to Danny Boyle…”

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  1. I only tuned in under duress to watch it. Living in Glastonbury I wanted to mock the.err…mock Tor (with a frigging tree on its summit rather than the Tor FFS) and being a vegan animal lover I wasn’t enthusiastic with the idea of live animals in the show paraded around under the lights, the cameras and 80,000 humans.

    I hate the corporate sponsorship, the money and the pomp and the ceremony, but you know what, I actually thought Mr Boyle did a great job; very unique and totally unexpected. Macca at the end spoiled it – he always was the worst Beatle, and the massacre of Hey Jude (not entirely his fault) meant the event sort of fizzled out in the end. Aside from that it was stupendous.

    Aiden Burley can don a Nazi Uniform and go fuck himself.

  2. Alan A Hillier

    A review befitting of the event itself………….nice one JR
    Al

  3. KEITH GOLDHANGER

    And FUCK BUTTONS…they played FUCK BUTTONS ….TWICE !!!

  4. john, i don’t suppose you’ve heard about this, because i’m sure you would have mentioned it. appararently during the emilie sande performance of the fa cup favourite abide with me, danny boyle had 96, note, 96, dancers. absolutely incredible, what a fucking hero!

  5. John, spot on, I felt the same way. The couldron was mindblowing.
    Alf Skitten, exactly.
    Terry, very good point, which I had n`t realised.

  6. Nice one John , it won me over too after my natural cynicism was overcome by the genuine depiction of the real people that make this country work !

    That and the riff from Pretty Vacant still makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up !

    Can we get some of those massive Pogo sticks for Rebellion ? :-)

  7. Surreal, symbolic and all encompassing the underclass, with the ruling class, the sadness, the madness, the punk and the glam rock and all making sense if you had been around for a while. Too many good bits to mention but having Mr Bean and the Sex Pistols in the same show and it working was pretty amazing. Not to mention the stunning art and pyrotechnics. And the drumming all the way through. SO glad I didn’t miss it, but nearly did because I expected it to be naff, irrelevant and boring. Well said.

  8. Steve Houlihan

    It wasn’t God Save The Queen by The Sex Pistols it was Pretty Vacant. Other than that, very well written and totally agree on everything. It was blinding. Absolutely awesome. Perfect.

    • They did use God Save The Queen in the opening sequence … They also used Pretty Vacant … Both sounded great

  9. smoked paprika

    He’s from Radcliffe!

  10. Despite being an utter Olympics cynic, I thought the whole thing – especially the beginning industrial sequence – was fantastic. Then again, I’ve been an Underworld fanboy for 20 years and so it was like seeing old friends at the peak of their game.

  11. Anthony Barrett

    Nicely nailed John.
    It was an accident waiting to happen, but pulled from the jaws of defeat by the same exuberant car-clash of styles that defines every one of Danny’s film’s.
    Even if they’re belting down a blind alley and rolling over a car’s bonnet, there’s very little to dislike, and when they’re good, they’re like Sunshine.

    I wondered out loud last night on Facebook just how many interns at the Syco DeathStar had been strangled by Darth Cowell during the swiftly moving 3.5 hours of fun as Danny effortlessly wrote his fake and flimsy legacy rightly out of UK music history.

    As we speak, there may be a 14 year old kid in Tuvalu illegally downloading a copy of Tubular Bells from a crazy Italian Prog Rock blog and short circuiting on the spot, or some Georgian 8 year old simply Googling the word ‘BONKERS’ with a grin the size of a basketball on his excited dial.
    This instead of being led down dark, dead alleys of corporately zapped links where ‘Back For Good’ lingers free no more, or having to negotiate reams of enslaving sign-up material to pre-order the new official Olly Murs official Olympic single because the official Olympic site wouldn’t let him officially escape alive without officially doing so.
    Think we’d have Danny to thank here as well.

    It was great to hear the real and the pure representing us again, on the music side of things at least, some great new stuff even got an airing which nearly made ME short circuit on the spot.
    We’ve kind of forgot that this is what we’re really all about somewhere along the line I think. We ARE a jumble of square pegs and round holes socially as much as musically and ain’t it grand?
    What an antidote this ceremony was juxtaposed to our rolling over and letting the faceless, the normalised, the manufactured and the ‘bought-on’ express another roots-free PR’s airbrushed ‘vision’ prevail like we did at the Jubilee debacle, never again?

    I notice it’s woken a lot of people up today as well, let’s hope this vapour trail keeps blazing for a bit eh?…By f**k we deserve it here in the UK right now.

  12. Totally agree with your review,John… I also was not going to watch this corporate advertising show,but I’m glad i did… Danny Boyle should get a medal for this… P.S. Did anyone else notice the German ambassador ? giving what looked like a Nazi salute when the German team walked in… What a faux pas . Now ,if it was a Tory MP i might of understood it .

  13. An excellent review. Like most I was expecting a display of gurning self-obsessed ‘performers’, including cut-aways of ‘celebrities’ in the crowd. Thankfully we got something nowhere near. We had a performance of choreographed chaos to a soundtrack of bands with heart and soul.

  14. Danny did us proud. i love his work as a director but was slightly sceptical about how he’d handle last night. i need not have worried. it was amazing from start to just before macca turned up! the soundtrack to the whole evening was immense. take a bow mr boyle

  15. Can someone tell me why U2 were played? What have they got to do with the UK or GB?

  16. Nonsense. It was rubbish. Utter rubbish. Parochial, self-important, dull. Populated by wankers. Eschewing entertainment for sixth-form political point scoring. There was absolutely nothing punk about this. Get a grip. If anyone thought that was punk then the punk wars were a waste of time.

    • Poor SB,

      It was definitely THE most punk rock thing ever…
      He took Coco-Cola’s money, for the biggest UK event for years and did something the KLF couldn’t have dreamt up with all the drugs in the world.
      All that whilst, and this is key, DOING IT FROM THE INSIDE!!!
      AN INSIDE JOB THAT THE QUEEN AGREED TO AND EVERYTHING.
      Looking at Johnny Rotten selling butter and trying to figure out what punk is anymore is difficult though, I’ll give you that, but not what you just said, sorreeee no.

    • They unquestionably were a waste of time. But so what?

    • Totally agree with SB Punk was a joke in the first place. John Robb you.Danny etc working for the Yankee dollar. Shame on you

  17. Half of U2 are from the UK.

  18. As someone who was in the vicinity of the games, I can tell you for a fact that this was not used for political points scoring, nor was it used to advertise anything. And each and every performer in the stadium did it for free. Also known as voluntary.

    For god’s sakes people, what you are doing is turning this into a great big argument about how there’s some hidden meaning behind it. Enjoy the spectacle. Enjoy the charade, and for crying out loud, learn to let go and enjoy yourselves for once! That was the best of Britain!

    • Abide with me; gobsmacking, I am tearing up now as i write, The N.H.S.; Viva Britannia, Macca; hmm, but 80,000 plus singing at a sporting event very British, The Queen and James Bond; a nod from pomposity to pop culture, Jerusalem; Those Dark satanic mills a brave decision to show the beginning of our abuse of the Earth and it’s resources ; The Olympics;Ruined since professionalism,The Volunteers; thank you for your efforts,

      What I wish to know is Danny Boyle RED or BLUE. If he is a CITY fan it was Magic but if he is a UTD one, it was Magic.

      I am stuck here in the U.S.A. and along with a fresh bout of homesickness I felt and still do an immense pride in Britain.

  19. Please amend to say Aidan Burley is the MP FOR Cannock, not FROM Cannock. I’m from Cannock and he’s not one of us.

  20. Riot Nrrrdâ„¢

    @Steve Houlihan: “It wasn\’t God Save The Queen by The Sex Pistols it was Pretty Vacant.”

    Did you not watch the opening segment? During the “flyover” between London Eye and the Tower Bridge I most definitely heard the first line of “God Save The Queen” (shame they didn’t include the 2nd, haha!) followed by PiL’s “Under The House” and then “London Calling”. And … opening with Fuck Buttons! Brilliant. Well played Mr. Boyle.

    @SB: Hello Lord Coe, welcome to Louder Than War!

  21. I think this has been written by Mr Boyle himself or been penned by him. Well done my friend divert the blame. Fantastic show to start, lost it in the middle and an old guy to end the musical extravaganz. Where were the monsters of today’s music scene and, what did the rest of the world really think of the political message that was being sent?

  22. Brilliant, spot on review as always, saw you at the Morrissey gig tonight, looking forward to your review of it :)

  23. Fantastic piece JR. Perhaps we were all expecting the usually overblown cliches that panders to corporate sponsorship or a London-centric bias. Instead, we were treated to a celebration of Northern triumph that helped build this country, of institutions that are the envy of the world, and a culture that is unique and diverse. The best part – Liz having to listen to the Pistols and the not so thinly disguised two fingers right up at David Cameron rejecting his polar vision of this country. It was real, it was honest, and for once made us all proud to be British for all the right reasons. Danny Boyle should be celebrated for his sheer subversiveness and his love of this country and its diversity.

  24. Harlequin, South London

    Stop it, you lot! This was the best ever olympic opening ceremony and we did it!! it was OUR LONDON OLYMPICS. It should be SIR Danny Boyle. Everything about it was great and as usual it was the VOLUNTEERS that made it special. What did you expect? I would remind everyone that it was quintessentially British. I loved the singing of the Welsh, Scottish and Irish ‘Anthems’ and only wish that we had had the chance to stand up and sing the ‘English’ anthem and not the National one. [Land of Hope and Glory]! And we are still the land of hope for all those that arrive on our shores.

  25. Totes agree with this but do we need so many statements of anti-american sentiment? Yes, give Mitt a kicking but we don’t need to compare ourselves to others, we’re great on our own!

  26. During that James Bond thing I remember thinking it was a shame Leslie Nielsen wasn’t still around, when they were walking down the corridor, out a side door knocking out Bond a la the opening of “Naked Gun 2 1/2”

  27. It’s a good review, but I have one criticism: you are praising and embracing the Britishness of it, yet you used the phrase “half-assed”. Another example of this foul American word taking the place of the way we say it in Britain. An ass is a quadruped, an arse is a backside; stop the insidious slide of American language into our everyday speech – it’s ‘orrible. I expect, at the very least, a half-arsed apology from you. :~p

  28. can I add – Tim Berners-Lee! without whom none of this conversation would be taking place. Brilliant!

  29. According to all the reports there were 50 dancers ” The tribute segment was tastefully done featured 50 dancers, a 9-year-old boy and Akram Khan.”

  30. Aidan Burley and The Mail thought the opening ceremony was “multicultural, leftie crap.”
    Unlike the Jubilee. One was ‘masterminded’ by gong-hungry Gary Barlow, the other by award-winning Radcliffe born film-maker Danny Boyle. One was dull, floppy and a bit heavy on the beefeater sauce; the other, all bangers, biryani and bonkers. Which “crap” did Aidan and The Mail prefer? Me, I prefer my “crap” to be a bit “leftie” and “multicultural”, thank you.
    (Embarrassing moments: I -literally-cried with laughter at skydiving Liz. I cried with emotion at soon-to-be-privatised NHS segment. Then again, I was drunk.)

  31. Surely it was 52 dancers representing the victims of 7/7 ?

  32. Great article. Only 52 dancers though (including Akram and the little boy, Reece) for each of the 7/7 victims. No less poignant though. My favourite piece of the show (and I was in another bit!)

  33. Given the subject matter, it was probably good.

    But ultimately sh*te, as pap for the masses…

  34. Agree with JR. I tuned in prepared to be mortified but the whole extravaganza was amazing. Only spoilt by Macca who was dreadful and those outfits….

  35. Just seemed rather hokey to me, a cross between ‘chim chimeney’ mary poppins and re-runs of 1980’s style janet jackson dance routines with a bit of pop and fireworks thrown in. Wouldn’t a more progressive message to the world have been that capitalism is over and all the lolly stolen or spent, and it’s time to stop flaunting bloated overpriced extraveganzas like this in the face of poverty…on the other hand perhaps all people really want is a three hour £27000000 TV knees-up.

  36. Bingo the Clown

    Could not have put it better myself Johnrobb your one to watch as you have a true grip on the pulse…Keep em coming throughout the games….I look forward to you posts….!

  37. Bingo the Clown

    Well said Johnrobb I look forward to your regular bits from the Olmpic games…!

  38. great article but artic monkeys were abysmal I’m afraid in my opinion

  39. Great article, although considering how much you praise Boyle for his musical knowledge, it was a pitty to see you that you got the name of the Arctic Monkeys breakthrough single wrong…

  40. At the risk of being pedantic, ‘Abide With Me’ is more traditionally associated with the Rugby League Challenge Cup Final, rather than the FA Cup. (Although I know they use it there)

    Even Trevor Nelson knew that…. ;-)

  41. Bollocks. Get real here – No it was ‘not the punk rock moment of the decade’ Pussy Riot performance of Putin Prayer in Moscow cathedral back in January for which they are still in prison awaiting trial is the punk rock ‘moment’ of our times. I loved Boyles show. Brilliant piece of community arts performance but for fucks sake lets keep it in perspective.

  42. What a fckload of bollox that was…total waste of OUR money…an elitist performance for the elite…Danny Boyle initiated into freemasonry…

    That cunt Richard Branson buying off parts of the NHS and money being wasted on this elitist shite…

    Should have invested all this money into the NHS instead of showing this pompous shit to the brainwashed masses…

    yours,

    Angry and bitter from the North..

    • Don’t worry mate, It’s only a few hundred Londoners who are wetting themselves over it. Most of the country agree with you, but you know what Londoners are like, we don’t want to upset them do we.
      Angry and bitter from the south (south of London that is)

  43. Absolutely agree!! Danny Boyle has raised the bar so high now…there is no bar! Recorded it,and watched it through last night,amazing visuals and the music was perfect! So much so,I’d happily sit through it again.

  44. Looks like my previous comments didn’t pass moderation – not particularly democratic , as disagreement is actually democratic – unless the software takes out swearwords or something, I’ll have a look and edit out any swearwords if they’re in there . In the meantime, since the article mentions Situationism, here’s a snippet of Guy Debord, original situationist: “”What hides under the spectacular oppositions is a unity of misery. Behind the masks of total choice, different forms of the same alienation confront each other, all of them built on real contradictions which are repressed. The spectacle exists in a concentrated or a diffuse form depending on the necessities of the particular stage of misery which it denies and supports. In both cases, the spectacle is nothing more than an image of happy unification surrounded by desolation and fear at the tranquil center of misery.”

  45. OOps, original comment has now appeared! Awaiting moderation – subsitute ‘stuff’ for the f word if that gets it through….

  46. Beautiful piece – said so much I wanted to say so much better than I ever could. However as a Brit transported to the US sadly NBC’s coverage of the opening was an absolute insult – I wrote an open letter to NBC inspired by your piece (quoting you accordingly) – its’ at http://www.waynster.com/?p=260 if you should feel so inclined to read it. Thanks again for a great piece

  47. Padders – Arctic Monkeys awful? Glad I wasn’t taking what you were on. I’ve never been a great fan of theirs but I thought they were fantastic. Would have loved to have seen a shot of the Queen’s face whilst they were on (and Pretty Vacnt & Bonkers for that matter!)

    Well done Danny for a great show and to John for encapsulating what I and thousands of ageing punks felt about it!

  48. It was one of the most Punk Rock moments on TV ever … It was an intelligent two fingers to the government … Like a smile and a pat on the back just as the knife goes in … It also showed people via the use of the suffregettes that if you stand up then you can win … It then showed what we should be standing up for … THE NHS … Someone asked me was it worth the £154 per head it cost the taxpayer? … Every single penny … That advert for the NHS couldn’t be bought … McD’s Burger King would have paid a fortune for a 30 minute advert like that … I wish I could have seen Cameron squirm.

    • one year on and your over the top comment is shown up for what it is.
      Amazing how lefties get so worked up about the slightest, almost insignificant things.

    • Oh and by the way, the most punk thing ever on tv was the sex pistols interview with Bill Grundy, I saw it live and the opening ceremony was totally choir music in comparison. You and the other plonkers here who keep calling it punk are so out of touch, really, grow up.

  49. An alternative view..

    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/andrewgilligan/100173131/london-2012-how-the-olympics-suckered-the-left/

    “My favourite line was from the Guardian columnist Richard Williams who wrote: “Cameron and his gang will surely not dare to continue the dismemberment of the NHS after this.” Hmm. If dismemberment is indeed their intention, are they really going to be stopped by a sound and light show? This isn\’t a new dawn for Britain. It\’s a night\’s entertainment.”

    Disclaimer – Not a tory.

    • At least the left have the best tunes! the right get Gary Barlow and Cheryl Cole (who is not a Tory but is the choice for their does)

  50. No props for Underworld who organised and selected much of the music?

    Nice touch throwing in a remix of Fuckbutton’s Olympians too.

  51. Hopefully this will pass moderation – swearwords taken out : I think John Robb\’s got it wrong on every count – in what way was it \’Punk\’? Punk wasn\’ t about \’gesture\’ , Punk (most particularly in the form of the Sex Pistols) was oppositional and confrontational by it\’s very existence. The only message to take to the Establishment is notification of its demise – anything else is incorporated and sold back . Does no-one see the contradiction between a Pistols song being played in a multimillion pound ideologyBurger , protected by soldiers and missiles, and a Pistols 200 quid boat trip back in 1977 being brutally smashed by said forces of the State? As for the historical stuff , whose version of history is being played out ? History is as much about who gets to write it and what gets left out – eg why not make a big deal of, say, the Battle of Cable Street and/or the Miner\’s strike (whose defeat enabled the establishment and all their collaborators to consolidate themselves and embark on the true ruination of the world and the rest of us).Paul Seacroft It was a manifesto of ideology , not democracy . Londoners didn’t get to vote on how their local taxation went into the pockets of greedy corporations as well as building the whole thing. Having said that , it was a fairly subtle ideologica…l spectacle, into which Danny Boyle stuck a big ‘get stuffed’ to , in particular, the Corporate U.S.A and their adherents in th UK , in the ‘NHS’ sequence ; but a big ‘get stuffed’ can get lost in the fug of ‘middle -of- the-road’ nationalism and historical revisionism (eg William Blake’s ‘Jerusalem’ is not and never has been a ‘patriotic’ ditty , it’s a proto-socialist demand for a really decent – not just ‘better’ – world). Plus tomorrow (monday) , the business of dismantling our NHS goes on and on and on – dancing nurses won’t stop it.

    • Dancing nurses won’t stop the dismantling on the NHS and neither will anonymous comments on the internet.

      Punk rock didn’t stop Thatcher getting in either- it was showbiz with a point, Danny Bole was showbiz with a point. If you prefer Gary Barlow and the usual parade then good luck to you.

      • Boyle and his lefty mates are the reason that Thatcher got in. They are incapable of keeping their politics to themselves. Massive boost for the Tories.

  52. in what way was it \’Punk\’? Punk wasn\’ t about \’gesture\’ , Punk (most particularly in the form of the Sex Pistols) was oppositional and confrontational by it\’s very existence. The only message to take to the Establishment is notification of its demise – anything else is incorporated and sold back . Does no-one see the contradiction between a Pistols song being played in a multimillion pound ideologyBurger , protected by soldiers and missiles, and a Pistols 200 quid boat trip back in 1977 being brutally smashed by said forces of the State? As for the historical stuff , whose version of history is being played out ? History is as much about who gets to write it and what gets left out – eg why not make a big deal of, say, the Battle of Cable Street and/or the Miner\’s strike (whose defeat enabled the establishment and all their collaborators to consolidate themselves and embark on the true ruination of the world and the rest of us). It was a manifesto of ideology , not democracy . Londoners didn’t get to vote on how their local taxation went into the pockets of greedy corporations as well as building the whole thing. Having said that , it was a fairly subtle ideologica…l spectacle, into which Danny Boyle stuck a big ‘Fuck you’ to , in particular, the Corporate U.S.A and their adherents in th UK , in the ‘NHS’ sequence ; but a big ‘Fuck you’ can get lost in the fug of ‘middle -of- the-road’ nationalism and historical revisionism (eg William Blake’s ‘Jerusalem’ is not and never has been a ‘patriotic’ ditty , it’s a proto-socialist demand for a really decent – not just ‘better’ – world). Plus tomorrow (monday) , the business of dismantling our NHS goes on and on and on – dancing nurses won’t stop it.

  53. Disappointed that there was no T.Rex. I know you can’t please everybody, but Bolan was one of the biggest pops stars to ever come out of London.

  54. Here’s comment without links and rude words – in what way was it \’Punk\’? Punk wasn\’ t about \’gesture\’ , Punk (most particularly in the form of the Sex Pistols) was oppositional and confrontational by it\’s very existence. The only message to take to the Establishment is notification of its demise – anything else is incorporated and sold back . Does no-one see the contradiction between a Pistols song being played in a multimillion pound ideologyBurger , protected by soldiers and missiles, and a Pistols 200 quid boat trip back in 1977 being brutally smashed by said forces of the State? As for the historical stuff , whose version of history is being played out ? History is as much about who gets to write it and what gets left out – eg why not make a big deal of, say, the Battle of Cable Street and/or the Miner\’s strike (whose defeat enabled the establishment and all their collaborators to consolidate themselves and embark on the true ruination of the world and the rest of us). It was a manifesto of ideology , not democracy . Londoners didn\’t get to vote on how their local taxation went into the pockets of greedy corporations as well as building the whole thing. Having said that , it was a fairly subtle ideologica…l spectacle, into which Danny Boyle stuck a big \’get stuffed\’ to , in particular, the Corporate U.S.A and their adherents in th UK , in the \’NHS\’ sequence ; but a big \’get stuffed\’ can get lost in the fug of \’middle -of- the-road\’ nationalism and historical revisionism (eg William Blake\’s \’Jerusalem\’ is not and never has been a \’patriotic\’ ditty , it\’s a proto-socialist demand for a really decent – not just \’better\’ – world). Plus tomorrow (monday) , the business of dismantling our NHS goes on and on and on – dancing nurses won\’t stop it.

  55. very well written piece. I am not British but the opening ceremony was very unique one, full of simbolism and hope. Though I missed something, a little message to the next generation. Part of the ceremony was a big green tree, next to the industrial revolution, fairy tales and pop culture. I missed a clear message about the social and individual responsibility to preserve the natural environment, although at the end all the flags (nations) are under this big tree and at the only green part which left.

    • No Pav, your trying too hard. This kind of thing is known colloquially as left wing hog wash. No symbolism in it, just the deranged thought patterns of a completely lost ideologist. Total rubbish mate.

  56. An open letter? Its a bit kiss arse riding on the coat tails of what Danny Boyle did.

    • Spot on, as the over used saying goes (here anyway). a very good, pertinent read and one in the eye for the left wing fools who have been sucked in by the brain washing. I can only hope that the awful Chakrabarti reads it.

  57. come together was sung flat. but i did love the whole thing. except the chaotic BBC camerawork. which was exhausting. i hope, danny, you’ve filmed your own version. i will buy the video.

  58. Brilliant .. Couldnt have put it better myself .. I was BLOWN AWAY by the show .. EVERYTHING that was and is good about GREAT Britain

  59. Err… it was a bit, in places. And no, apparently not ;-)

  60. Nowhere near as bad as it might have been and a tricky thing to try and be political without blowing the whole thing out of the water. I mean a really political statement would have been to get the queen to walk out and hand a cheque for 27 million quid to a nurse from the NHS .
    But you have to say within the bounds of what he was working with…. this is an event that will have people talking, thinking and debating all kinds of aspects of our history, our culture , our achievements and our failings for years to come. that’s got to be a good thing.

  61. Did anyone else notice the playing of God Save The Queen by The Sex Pistols in the 5 minute intro? They stopped just before the lyric of “facist regime”, but I still sung it in my head, no doubt countless others did too. Prodigy and Firestarter being an utterly brilliant video and being as friendly as it got. Plus Team GB getting to walk out to the track Galvanise from their album Push the Button.

  62. This event cost £27 million pounds. It was a lot of things, it wasn’t punk rock.

  63. Its a pity that the closing ceremony ” a celebration of British music through the ages” gave no reference whatsoever to punk rock.

  64. Music fans! A great place to find the alternative music you love and discover some new tunes you’ll enjoy is this website.

  65. Cool louderthanwar.com. Offtopic: Who will play in the final of the Champions League Cup?
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  66. What a totally one side piece of carp.
    27 million down the pan. What a waste of good money. The worse opening ceremony ever.
    The worse bit for me was the fawning, sick making reference to Chakrabarti….”how we admire your integrity”…No!….how a few left wing, sandle wearing, quiche eating pillocks think they admire your so-called integrity. The vast silent majority actually hate your interfering self righteous clap trap.
    Not punk and most certainly political rubbish.

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