Wednesday, July 06, 2005


We got the 2012 Olympics!! This is ABSOLUTELY UNBELIEVABLE!!!

It could just be the best thing that has ever happened to London - this city is going to have to get its transport & infrastructure act together within seven years, and being obliged to do so is probably the only way it ever will.

It's wonderful to hear people on TV declaring that London's going to be the greatest city on the planet. As a kid, I was always convinced that that was the case; but through the 1980s, watching the place grow run-down, demoralised and neglected, it was depressing to feel that we were being relegated to what one well-known writer described during the John Major years as 'the bargain basement of Europe'. That's no longer true. Things have been on the up for some years now, speaking on average (there are, of course, still parts of the city which are horrendously deprived, including the eastern districts where the Olympics are to take place), but if this can't complete the transformation then nothing can.

The London bid seems to have succeeded not least because it talked about inspiring young people. The arts need to inspire young people with a similar world-class example - and in music, as well as in sport, it's only the combination of the finest practitioners, accessibility (not least physical accessibility) and solid media coverage that can provide it strongly and widely enough. Arts and music movers and shakers need to start thinking NOW about how we can join in most effectively.