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Thursday, September 04, 2008

The Waste Land

Thought it worth mentioning this, as it's the first I've heard of this preposterously-titled 'Cultural Olympiad'.

Anyway, the jist of this story seems to be that, in the run up to its hideously ill-judged application to host the next Olympics, the 'London 2012' organisers realised that London was a veritable cultural wasteland, with nothing of artistic or literary value going on with which it could commend the city as a site for a sporting contest.

"We need to put on some culture to win this, that's what we need to do. You know, pictures n that", said Seb Coe.
"What about some pretty lights?" said that lesbian runner woman who won a few medals that time in Greece.
"BRILLIANT!" said everyone.

So is born the Cultural 'Olympiad'. Superb. The BBC online news bunny tried valiantly this morning to give this story due prominence, she really did, but is it just me or is it not rather telling that one of the 'highlights' of this historically-important, £40m (that's £40 MILLION) cultural epoch appears to be changing the lighting scheme at the Queen's gaff?


'A William Shakespeare festival and 12 new public works of art will form part of a 'Cultural Olympiad' planned for the run-up to the 2012 London games.
Set up to showcase Britain's arts and culture, the four-year programme will comprise 500 events designed to involve and inspire people at home and abroad.
Details are being announced on Thursday by 2012 chief Lord Coe at the National Theatre on London's South Bank.
The scheme was a key factor in London winning the bid to host the Olympics.
The Cultural Olympiad will co-ordinate the opening and closing ceremonies at the London games, as well as local and regional events.
It will begin with an open weekend, to be held later this month - between 26 and 28 September - for which hundreds of events have already been planned.
One of these will include the illumination of Windsor Castle and Blackpool Tower in pink, blue, orange and green - the colours of London 2012.
Future projects include Film Nation, a digital film competition for young people, and Unlimited, described as a celebration of disability arts, culture and sport.
There will also be National Singing Day, held as part of the BBC-backed Sound strand, dedicated to "celebrating music as universal language".
When London's selection as the next host of the Olympics was made in July 2005, Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell described the Cultural Olympiad as "absolutely central" to the vision of what could be achieved.
However, many of the original plans have reportedly been scrapped, with some people questioning the value of the scheme's reported £40m price-tag.'

3 comments:

urmynv said...

Really? Is it really a necessity to prove or highlight the culture of London? I'm not quit sure bathing Windsor with disco lights will be quite as effective as the planning committee hopes it will be. Surely the daily pomp and circumstance over at Buckingham, or the collections at the Tate, or the shows at any number of theatres in the West End should be suffice, no? If you want culture, try to put out the message that pissing on doorsteps during the games should be kept to a minimum?

Jo said...

Indeed. Amusing, isn't it? We have some of the best cultural sites in the world in this city (mostly filled with stuff that we plundered from elsewhere, but let's gloss over that, it's probably best we don't get into the Elgin marbles what with you being Greek and all!) and yet a bunch of former athletes have been given a bottomless pit of money and told that they need to do something to make the city more worthy of foreign attention.

Having said that, if their bizarre light displays or whatever it is they're doing distract tourists from "the good shit" that the rest of us want to look at, it can only be a good thing - I tried visiting the National Gallery recently for the first time in ages and couldn't get anywhere near any art for all the people.
(It did give me a good excuse to visit the gift shop, mind, where you can buy a furry Vincent Van Gogh toy, complete with removeable ear. Wonderful....)

urmynv said...

With the removable ear! Brilliant!!