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23 June 2012

Music for the London Olympics

The list of music for the opening ceremony for the London Olympics has been released. It is a list which misses an opportunity in front of an audience of about a billion.

This is the London Olympics, the UK is the host nation and the national team is team GB. The concept of England does not exist in the Olympics yet looking at the list of music there is not much more diversity in musical taste than you would find in a home counties pub juke box or the iPod of someone who didn't get out much.

The UK is home to 7 indigenous languages, (English, Scots, Welsh, Irish, Scots Gaelic, Cornish, British Sign Language) yet I can see only one of these represented in the list, to the complete exclusion of all the others.

The UK is also home to a wide variety of musical styles, and you might have thought even Mull of Kintyre or Amazing Grace on the Bagpipes would get a look in, something on the Northumbrian pipes or a brass band from England. It's mostly pop music from the last 50 years. So much for over a 1000 years of musical and linguistic diversity being showcased. I like pop music too, but not to the complete exclusion of everything else.

The torch did a really great job of including the whole UK, it's a pity the opening ceremony, seen by many more did not have such a wide cultural remit. The Cambridge folk festival does a better job of showcasing a wide variety of music from across the UK.

I expect though that the Irish won't be complaining. London does not speak for Ireland and hopefully soon after Yes Scotland, then Scotland won't have to complain either.

I leave you with this music from the Disney/Pixar film Brave. They sought fit to showcase Scottish music to an international audience. Somehow it's good enough to have music particular to Scotland in an international film but not in a London based Olympics. I was offered a job running the IT for the Olympics opening ceremony. It's too bad I got a better offer, perhaps I could have bent a few ears.

The music for the opening ceremony only serves to portray the UK as a narrow, mono-cultural land, something that of course isn't true at all, unless you favour the BNP view of the world.


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