Simon Kelner: Unplugged, unenlightened and just un-British

Kelner's view

Share

It's possibly easier to come across a rock god than a black cab in London at the moment. First up was Bruce Springsteen, who found out what unplugged really means when his concert at Hyde Park was summarily curtailed after over-running his allotted time.

He was concluding an encore with Sir Paul McCartney when the concert organisers, worried that it was way beyond Sir Macca's bedtime, thought the only way to get them off the stage was to switch off their microphones. (Apparently, McCartney looked very surprised at the abrupt ending, but then he looks very surprised by most things these days.) Since when did Britain become a police state, asked one of the band, rhetorically? He should try taking a flame-grilled whopper into the Olympic Park.

The night after Springsteen came Paul Simon. There was no chance he would overstay his welcome on stage, however – at 70, Simon likes to retire with the crossword and a hot drink long before Newsnight. Between them, Springsteen and Simon encouraged more than 100,000 people – some of whom were under 40 – to believe the British summer meant outdoor concerts rather than flood warnings.

And the biggest gig of all will be the Olympic closing ceremony, the line-up for which was leaked at the weekend, confirming that the rest homes for aged rock stars will be further emptied out in August. The Who, Ray Davies, Madness and the Pet Shop Boys will all be performing, but – unlike the Jubilee concert, which was, admittedly, a very different occasion – some effort has been made to represent the historic edginess of British music.

So Russell Brand is singing the Sex Pistols' "Pretty Vacant", and The Clash are appearing, although they won't be singing "White Riot", a powerful appeal to white youths to take to the streets to overthrow the establishment, but instead have opted for the rather less controversial "Should I Stay or Should I Go?"

It is a rather refreshingly eclectic line-up, which doesn't include a single Sir. So no Sir Tom, no Macca, no Cliff, not even Sir Elton, left. You have to ask: is this a reflection on their performances at the Jubilee concert? But the question remains: have some of the great figures of rock nobility been cast aside? It seems strange, and possibly unwise, to be going into such a big public event without the collossi who have bestrode British music for decades.

But Olympic organisers clearly have a plan, and any show that includes the Coldstream Guards playing Blur's "Park Life", a parade of models including Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell, Darcey Bussell dancing and lollipop ladies stripping down to their union jack skimpies sounds like they have tried to cover a lot of bases.

All we need is a zealous official invoking a by-law that prevents displays of individual artistry in a built-up area and this celebration of Britishness will be complete.

 

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Volunteer your expertise as Trustee for The Society of Experimental Biology

Unpaid Voluntary Position : Reach Volunteering: Promising volunteer Trustee op...

Email Designer

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Psychology Teacher

£110 - £130 per hour: Randstad Education Reading: Psychology Teacher needed fo...

Food Technology Teacher

£85 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: Randstad Education are curren...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Prime Minister David Cameron speaks during a visit to Scottish Widows offices in Edinburgh, where he made an impassioned plea to keep Scotland part of the union, saying he would be  

Scottish referendum results: David Cameron did the right thing, so why does Scotland’s vote feel like a defeat?

John Rentoul
 

i Editor's Letter: The rules were simple: before the results are announced, don’t mention the S-word

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week