great music not rubbish on TV shock!
great music not rubbish on TV shock!
great music not rubbish on TV shock!
great music not rubbish on TV shock!

Ironic isn’t it.

The mainstream media is normally clogged up with rubbish Cowell pop and yet when it comes to an ultra mainstream event it’s stuffed full of great music.

Danny Boyle really went to town for the Olympics ceremony.

Instead of the usual parade of auto tuned losers we had Sex Pistols and the Clash representing the old guard as well as a dash of the Beatles and Pink Floyd and a couple of stunning performances from Frank Turner at the beginning of the veining whose heartfelt performance cut through the fog of TV land perfectly and at the other end a stunning display from the Arctic Monkeys which was pure rock n roll and one in the eye for anyone who denies the existence of powerful young bands.

Arctic Monkeys played an adrenalised version of I bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor which with the quiffs and leathers was Beatles in Hamburg electricity they then followed this up with a stunning version of the Beatles Come Together- a real coming of age for the talented band. great vocals, great playing and delivered with a pure swagger- brilliant stuff.

Danny Boyle did a great job. It was a surreal, mad and funny rush through British culture and managed to celebrate the NHS and piss off a Tory MP who complained that it was ‘leftie and multi cultural’- so a hit on every level then.

Rough version of Hey Jude though…

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Award winning journalist and boss of Louder Than War. In a 30 year music writing career, John was the first to write about bands such as Stone Roses and Nirvana and has several best selling music books to his name. He constantly tours the world with Goldblade and the Membranes playing gigs or doing spoken word and speaking at music conferences.


  1. I loved the sequence that set a ‘girl meets boy’ drama against a mash-up of classic British sounds through the ages. This highlighted the brilliant music we’ve produced, from the Kinks to Led Zeppelin, Sex Pistols to Happy Mondays, The Jam to Dizzy Rascal. The punk characters pogoing to the Pistols in front of the Royals was a sublime moment – somehow achieving a hint of subversion while staying in tune with the whole point of the show, to celebrate sport, free of politics.

    There will always be cynics, but where else would we see Palestine and Israeli athletes marching together. Some of the theatrics were jaw dropping, like the forging of the rings, and the lighting of the flame at the climax. Or the chimneys. Or the cycling angels! As was the tribute to the NHS as something Britain can really be proud of.

    Arctic Monkeys were fantastic – a band that have achieved success on their own terms, via their fans and the Internet. The antithesis of the manufactured X Factor dross that passes for British pop in 2012.

    I thought the climax of Dark Side of the Moon synched with the fireworks was mind-blowing. I bet Danny wishes he’d made this the concluding point of his musical. Instead Macca launched into a ropey pub singalong version of a song he must’ve played live thousands of times, and managed to cock it up.

  2. I could not agree more with you John. It was as you say an eclectic mix of ‘Britishness’, and being Danny Boyle he managed to create as he has with film (Trainspotting) something that defines who and where we are and come from. He hit all the right notes because of his sensibilities – he sees no difference between supposed ‘high’ art and supposed ‘lower’ forms. Shakespeare and The Sex Pistols can sit rightfully side by side. I agree that the Artcic Monkeys were outstanding, and Mr McCartney was a little disappointing but over four hours it intrigued. I think Danny Boyles understanding of pop culture and his vision made him the ideal person to try to create some kind of version of what it means to be British, and there can be no more ringing endorsement than hearing the words of that pitiful Tory MP, and realising what vision you look too.


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