The Olympic opening ceremony was a great lesson to the rest of the world in what it means to be British. It showed the fiery history, the unique comedy and the beauty of our country; but what was most surprising was how well it showcased our history of great music. We all guessed that Danny Boyle would pull out all the stops in terms of visual effects, unexpected cameos and great British characteristics, but I don’t think anyone expected such an indie playlist, or for music to play such a huge part. In a time when you can’t turn on your TV for all the commercial, reality-TV show, Cowell-funded pop, it was great to see that Britain has not lost its value for real music.

It quickly became obvious that the artistic director was going to do what he wanted with regard to the music when Frank Turner appeared on the make-shift English countryside and played I Still Believe to millions of people worldwide, a few sheep and a group of actors pretending to play cricket.

…it was still a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience.

It was a gig like no other and one which undoubtedly propelled him into worldwide recognition, as well as showing the planet that independent rock and roll is as natural to Brits as our green fields. The barrage of modern indie kept coming, and kept Twitter’s fangirls busy, as Two Door Cinema Club’s Alex Trimble made an appearance singing Caliban, a song written for the occasion by English techno veteran Rick Smith from Underworld, during the lighting of the torch.

To top things off and to truly confirm the alternative theme of Boyle’s playlist, the Arctic Monkeys, another well-kept secret, were brought out after the athletes to perform their already world famous I Bet You Look Good On the Dancefloor and then a cover of Come Together to warm up the crowd for Paul McCartney’s closing number. A partnership such as this, even for those like myself who aren’t big fans of the Arctic Monkeys, was more than anyone had hoped for, and even though the ex-Beatle may have messed up the beginning of Hey Jude, it was still a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience.

…tune into this week’s primetime musical talent show and see if their playlist boasts the likes of the Sex Pistols…

Despite doing all he could to display the new generation of British rock, Boyle’s choices have had a few negative comments, most notably towards Frank Turner and his ”selling-out”. The so-called fans that have suggested this had a problem with his seamless transfer into the mainstream. Frank, however, defended his decision saying that he is still a hard-working, independent artist and feels immensely proud at just having been asked.

I find it hard to believe that ”fans” would have such a problem with the success of a true musician such as Frank Turner, who, like any artist, just wants an audience to showcase their art to. Also, for anyone thinking that the Olympic ceremony is selling-out to the mainstream, then tune into this week’s primetime musical talent show and see if their playlist boasts the likes of the Sex Pistols, Pink Floyd, Led Zepellin, Eric Clapton and the Prodigy – I bet it won’t.

About The Author

Josh is an English and Creative Writing graduate from Royal Holloway University of London. He writes plays, presents radio, draws comics and listens to folk music.

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