Giant on the move
What’s so wrong with the sound of silence?
It seems like silence has been outlawed at the Beijing Olympics. Every second between every performance is filled with cheesy American rock, or the sort of music reminiscent of the moment the
hero comes to the rescue in a mediocre sub-Spielberg movie.
This is obviously an attempt to create an atmosphere and has been lifted wholesale from American sport. But as someone who has been brought up with the roar of the crowd at Fratton Park (Portsmouth Football Club’s home ground for non-British readers) I have to say it jars.
It is partly that the music is so bad, covers of songs you have long forgotten or were lucky never to have heard in the first place. But it is more than that. This kind of artificial atmosphere is surely no substitute for the real thing.
On Saturday, I was lucky enough to see Usain Bolt’s world-record breaking final in the men’s 100 metres at the Bird’s Nest stadium. The crowd buzzed and rose to their feet when the athletes emerged, but one of the moments when the music and the constant American and Chinese commentary finally stopped.
What one fan called a “deadly silence” settled over the 91,000 capacity crowd. The sound of a helicopter mingled with the roar of the gas burning in the Olympic cauldron high above our heads.
Then the starter’s gun sounded out, and thousands of voices yelled Bolt to victory. Silence was part of the drama. Let’s not exclude it from the Olympics.
PHOTO: A young Chinese boy covers his ears as an Olympic ‘Fuwa’ mascot sings at the new Beijing Capital International Airport July 23, 2008. REUTERS/Claro Cortes IV