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What’s so wrong with the sound of silence?


Fuwa noiseI might sound like a grumpy middle-aged Englishman in this blog, so be warned.

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.