Monday, August 06, 2012

From Allan Thompson: On London Olympics Part 3

Allan Thompson has been contributing many articles about Singapore 60s music on this blog because he was at RAF Changi in the 1960s.  I asked his opinion about the current Games. Here's his letter:
Mike Oldfield
Dear Andy,

Like many people over here, I was sceptical about the Olympic opening ceremony.  But as it progressed, I was amazed at the wonderful, well planned, well executed history of Britain which unfolded. All the amateur performers and participants were excellent and the way each episode slid effortlessly into the next was fantastic. 

The pop music sampling section wasn't bad, although they missed out the influential popular music of the 50s in their typical eagerness to get to the Beatles.  [Poor old Tommy Steele, Marty Wilde, Billy Fury (deceased), etc. always seem to suffer in this way]. 

I thought Mike Oldfield's music was just right for the section in which it was used, but I thought the other group (The Killers?) were a pointless inclusion, and Paul McCartney's ragged Hey Jude at the end was even more pointless.  What significance did that particular song have? 

The James Bond and The Queen piece could have been cringeworthy but because they used Her Majesty and not a lookalike, everyone was impressed by her decision to have some fun and take part.  It's a shame that so many of the team members during the parade were waving cameras about and some of them looked quite awkward.
Paul McCartney

Over here, the BBC coverage was pretty naff at times, almost as bad as it was for the Diamond Jubilee celebrations, but we have come to expect that now - everything is being dumbed-down and trivialised.  (Not like in our day,  hmmmm??!!)
Hope this is of some help.

Best wishes,

Images: Google.


ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thank you Allan for the no-nonsense, straight off the cuff but informative letter.

Anonymous said...

**At HMV, sales of Mike Oldfield’s original "Tubular Bells" album rose by 757 per cent overnight, the best-performing of all artists in the ceremony.

LL said...

I certainly agree with Z. about MacCartney. It was painful to watch.

Z. said...

Here's a repeat of yesterday's letter from Z:

Hi Larry,

You can pass on my 2-bits worth on the opening ceremony.

1. Way too many depressing scenes:
Dirty overworked miners, sullen frowns on faces, children in hospital beds, nurses, Voldemort.

2. Poor international empathy:
Having James Bond as a hero parachuting in British glory in an international event?

How do you think the "villians" in his movies feel? Russia, China, N. Korea. Poor taste.


Olympics opening ceremony - amendments and additional comments.

Dear Andy,

It just goes to show how completely out of touch I am with current trends in pop music!! In my reply to your question about the opening ceremony I mentioned (?The Killers) as being the name of the pop group who also played.

My question mark showed how hazy my memory had been. The group was, of course, the Arctic Monkeys. I think they are pretty good but I only questioned their relevance to the ceremony.

As for Paul McCartney, I don't mind him but I thought his voice was not up to scratch, and I thought that "All You Need is Love" or something more universal than "Hey Jude" would have had more relevance.

One other minor quibble is that much of the ceremony was very "English" with not very much reference to Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Even their 'national identity' songs were video links.

Yours grumpily (as an expatriate Scot),


Modern performers I like are Richard Hawley (excellent writer and performer - he produced Duane Eddy's latest album in England); Franz Ferdinand; Richard Thompson, OBE (still going strong after 45 years in the business); and the Fleet Foxes.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thank you Allan for the quick reply. I have published your letter in full to explain the changes. I thought it's best.

Makes for interesting debate I hope.