Saturday, August 14, 2004

"Your sweat is salty and I am ripe" just about the only thing I understood of Björk's song last night at the Olympic Games opening ceremony, but it's a great one. At first it sounds like a retro-translation of a disastruous overseas version of an ad campaign's slogan. Then, I thought that it might be about licking the sweat off an Olympian's bulging post-effort muscles, while offering carnal delights of one's own. In any case, wild speculation is needed to counteract the bloodless wonderfulness of everything else about the ceremony.

My excuse for sitting through the thing (along with 4 billion other chumps. And why didn't she sing at the end of the "artistic" part of the ceremony? Surely, that would have made more sense) is that I wanted to see what the Icelander would do (even though I'm not a fan at all). I was wondering if they would have made her do something like Nelly Furtado's song for Euro 2004, but no, they let her be herself. Now I think it would have been cooler if they had thrust an unfailingly cheesy "international competition anthem" into her unwilling hands. And made Furtado sing "Oceania."

About the parade of delegations: did Belgium really need to reinforce its reputation as a bland place? Could they find no other colours to wear apart from dark khaki and grey? More generally, on the politics of cheering for delegations: the small ones, of course; the ones with cool, brightly coloured clothes; the war-torn countries got crowd support if the US was involved (cf. Sudan); Barbados because we've painted the doors to our kitchen cupboards a shade of "Barbados skies"; various countries because I've lived there (apart from the US, because they don't need my cheers).