Monday, 30 July 2012

Sports Day comes good



Much talk over the weekend about the Olympic Opening Ceremony. Danny Boyle could probably get himself elected this week, let alone talked about as a late contender for the next chair of Arts Council England. I 'tuned in' more in hope than expectation but was rather blown away by it: as someone said it was like the biggest school play you've ever seen, in a good way, with a great walk-on part for the headmistress.  


I was moved, irritated, proud, perplexed, laughed, shrugged, felt angry, thrilled, bored, entangled, sentimental, sceptical, fearful, hopeful: all the things my national identity means to me. Obviously, it couldashouldawoulda had all sorts of other things in it, but short of bringing on Sir Tom Finney or having Thatcher emerge from Voldemort I'm not sure what more they could have done for me. 


If Ed Miliband is not quietly talking to Danny Boyle about the next election campaign he wants kicking. If we in the cultural sector don't pick up the mantle of this messy triumph to argue for and live up to the potential role of art in the national conversation - as well as for arts funding - then we might too. 


Frank Cotterell Boyce, who 'wrote' the piece, said this, which is the best summary I've seen:
"Those volunteers redefined the nation for me," he said. "We're told people need to be paid great sums to get results, but those who are motivated by money cock up. People who are motivated by things like love, family, friendship and humanity are the ones who have something to offer."

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