It\’s good to see that Saint Etienne have offered to write a song for London 2012. SE are the quintessential London band, and What Have You Done Today, Mervyn Day? their unsentimentally-filmed elegy for the Lower Lea Valley\’s vanishing grimescape is well worth watching.
But, based on the evidence to date, their bid to craft a 2012 anthem is doomed to disappointment. From Barcelona to Beijing, understatement has rarely been an Olympic theme. London\’s bid was buoyed along by mannered M-People caterwhauling, and our contribution to the closing ceremony at Beijing was a faintly embarassing attempt to distill the essence of \’Cool Britannia\’ (remember that?), while ticking appropriate boxes. Red double-decker bus, as seen in establising shots in every film from Goldfinger to 28 Days Later? Check. Old white man from once-important rock band? Check. Inoffensive young black woman from talent show to counterbalance said rock dinosaur? Check. Global brand/footballer type person? Check.
I hope I\’m wrong, and there may still be a lot of suprises before the 2012 opening ceremony, but I am afraid that Saint Etienne\’s music, while not always my cup of tea (too winsomely Heavenly Records, if you know what I mean), is too subtle, too particular, too crafty and crafted, to fit into the bizarre, homogenised world of Olympic culture and bombast.