I am a touch late typing this post, amongst other things I was waiting for my dew claws to be clipped. The subject however has been bugging me for quite some time. After watching the quite fantastic opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games, I was quite saddened by the vitriol that was expressed regarding Paul Mccartney’s appearance at the end of the show. There appeared to be universal condemnation for the ageing Beatle and his rendition of Hey Jude. However, two weeks later, when a VT of John Lennon was played in the closing ceremony, there was no such outcry about his inclusion.
The reason for this is simple, Paul is not dead. Dying whilst still culturally relevant guarantees immortality, future generations learn of the legend of Lennon, and never get to see some washed-up wife-beating OAP who hasn’t made a decent record in thirty years. Better still, Lennon being cut down in his prime allows us to imagine, that in 2012 he would still have be a great pop-culture icon.
I have no particular love of the Beatles, Macca or Lennon. Neither for that matter, do I have any particular dislike of them. The Olympic Opening Ceremony was a celebration of British Culture. One thing that we certainly do export globally from the UK is music; as such it had to be a major feature in the ceremony. If you tried to put an anthology of British pop music together and omitted the Beatles you would be laughed at. The decision to include them was a dead cert.
Given this fact it makes perfect sense to invite one of the surviving members to put a show on for the world. It’s not Macca’s fault that he is not dead, that he accepted the gig and that he played (a bloody good version of) the classic ‘end of the night track’ that was asked of him.
It’s sad that we show such little respect for age, achievement and experience, Paul Mccartney is no longer a pop icon, but the fact he happens to still be alive, shouldn’t deny him a place in a contemporary account of our cultural history. I am glad that Danny Boyle realised this. It is a pity that so many others were quick to jump on a band wagon without thinking. That is all.