Using the phrase 'back in the day' makes me sound like a bit of old git (perhaps I am) but listening to Capital last night made me realise that things have dipped very, very low culturally and the crappy nature of everything was brought into focus last night with the closing ceremony of the Commonwealth Games. God! It was awful! Unprofessional, disjointed, an untidy collection of individuals and some God awful performances by the likes of Lulu, Deacon Blue and Kylie who, I'm told, was miming. In fact, Kylie is regarded as good these days, a musical icon, but it's a real case of the Emperor's New Clothes in my opinion. It amazes me how tongue-in-cheek acclaim soon translates into genuine hero worship. I managed to avoid watching any of the games. I couldn't tell you who won the most medals, I couldn't even tell you the names of athletes who made a name for themselves, which in itself is an amazing achievement as the Games dominated the BBC's channels One, Two and Three.
Why was it so dominant on the UK's 'state television'? Probably because of the forthcoming referendum on Scottish independence. The royals were out in force and the BBC did a 'Doctor Who' – they had a kind of 'Commonwealth Games Confidential' programme fronted by the sadly ubiquitous Clare Balding and some other bloke – a poor man's John Stapleton – both of whom were charged with the task of 'bigging up' something that what was essentially very boring (just like Doctor Who – click here for more). I'm so glad it's over.
As for Miller's comment about 'media studies twerps' I think it goes some way towards reinforcing the theory that things are dumbing down, being diluted, getting worse and certainly not in anyway improving. The 'golden age' of most things seems to have passed in the UK – we're crap at football (that golden age passed in the sixties on the international stage and the national game is now full of nobheads earning far too much money for what they're really worth); popular music has imploded (just listen to Capital Radio or Kiss FM at virtually any time for proof of this); literature, well, there's too much of it, too much crap, and I'm not well-versed enough in the art world to pass serious comment – although there's always the Turner Prize and the fact that many so-called works of art are known as 'installations'. As for politics, we no longer have politicians that really care about world in which we live. In short, they are 'career politicians' concerned only with themselves and the direction in which their careers are travelling. Even our terrorists are no longer polite enough to warn of an impending attack.
What was good on television recently was Melvyn Bragg's new series on radicals, people like John Ball from the 14th Century and, later this week, Tom Paine. It was good on many levels thanks to Bragg's intelligence (what was John Humprhys doing criticising him recently?) but also because it made me realise that we need some more radical thinkers and revolutionaries in the UK as things are beginning to look very similar to the late 14th Century when we had the famous Peasants' Revolt – my guess is we need another one: right now!