The Week In Radio: A golden Games but Kate Moss is no winner on Woman's Hour
It was the morning after the night before and at the crack of dawn on Monday, Radio 4's Today presenters were searching for adjectives to describe the Olympic closing ceremony, the kind that would mask the widespread sense that, had it taken place in the back room of a pub in Nantwich, we would have raised our glasses to a hen party well done.
In the end, they plumped for "brash" and "raucous" with presenter Evan Davis making only passing reference to the less-than-impressed reaction on Twitter. It was left to sports-lover and celebrated pedant Lynne Truss to play party pooper and provide the first dissenting voice in a monologue in which she bemoaned the fact that "when I think of London 2012, I'll think of a huge demountable model of John Lennon's face." Peter Hitchens, still smarting from his Newsnight run-in with Russell Brand, went a step further, describing it as a "moronic inferno" and remarking that "even if I'd been interested I'd have been bored."
Of course, none of this could puncture the mood of the previous two and a half weeks in which whinging had been outlawed and when it had become the norm to wear the Union flag as a cape and "do the Mobot" in front of strangers while completely sober. It's no wonder the subject of the Olympics and what it all meant made up around three-quarters of Today, and practically every programme for the rest of the day. We heard about athletes' travel arrangements, the impending sponsorship deals (Jessica Ennis looks set to be the biggest winner), the saintliness of the volunteers, the future of the Olympic park, our rearranged working habits (ie Skyping in our PJs with the telly on) and our redefined concept of what it is to be British. Charlotte Dujardin spoke of sleeping with her medals under her pillow while the silver medal-winning rower Rob Williams talked contentedly of "the big sigh" that overtook the Olympic village once the Games were over.
Woman's Hour wondered whether women's boxing and football would continue to pull crowds (answer: probably not) and expressed anguish at the appearance of Kate Moss and her fellow clothes horses at the closing ceremony, daftly strutting across the stadium as if they were something more than pretty ornaments. My eyes started to leak a bit during World at One when Frank Cottrell Boyce recalled watching Gemma Gibbons calling out to her late mother as she took silver and remarked the Olympics "was supposed to be about superhumans but time and time again vulnerability has come to the fore". Presenter Martha Kearney also spoke to Matthew Pinsent about the experience of medallists for whom, having stood on a podium with world at their feet, the only way was down. "Some of them will feel empty and dejected at times," he remarked, "but those rapid ups and down in my experience (will) even out into a glow."
Having called for a "a full judge-led public enquiry into 'George Michael's second-song-gate'," on Radio 5 Live, Richard Bacon was looking back at London 2012 as if it had happened 20 years ago. His show was mainly made up of montages, which was exactly as it should have been since, honestly, I can't get enough of them. For the time being nothing beats the sound of commentators sobbing, whooping, yelling, breaking the furniture and struggling to make themselves heard over the earth-shaking roar of the crowds.
There was, of course, a melancholy at the heart of these re-runs, a sense of not wanting to let go. Because if we do it means that instead of filling our heads with joy, hope and sporting excellence we have to go back to thinking about war, recession, poverty and ecological catastrophe. So let's not do that just yet. Let's wallow in the afterglow for a while longer. One more montage wouldn't hurt, would it?
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