While the One Year Countdown to the 2010 Games should have been a moment of pride for all of us, I walked away feeling a little betrayed. It wasn't Jacques Rogge's speech, where we were assured that yes, even women would be allowed to carry the torch (I assume something was lost in the translation), or the little Olympic flags we were given to wave with 2010 logos on front and corporate logos on the back. It wasn't even the track suits given to torch bearers, which should have been red and white but were mostly white with a little green and blue thrown in. The Maple Leaf wasn't so visible, but I can get over that.
What really got to me was the music. VANOC has put together a four-minute inspirational video on the Games focusing on the athletes, which is actually quite amazing. But then they set the video to "Fix You" by Coldplay.
I have nothing against the song or the band. "Fix You" was apparently written about Gweneth Paltrow's father losing a battle with cancer, so it kind of cheapens it to make it about athletes trying, failing, and trying again, but that's not a deal breaker for me.
And Coldplay did everyone here a favour last summer when they headlined Pemberton Festival. Even people who claim not to like Coldplay were affected by it, and I'm sure iTunes Music Store was busy that night downloading songs and albums.
My objection is that Coldplay are proudly British when these Games are supposed to be about Canada, showcasing Canadian industry, athleticism, and culture in the best possible light. We invested billions of dollars to grab the world's spotlight, and then we went and turned the spotlight on a British band that really doesn't need the attention right now.
Here's the thing: music is one thing that Canada does very well, that we're already internationally renowned for. People might make fun of us for saying "eh" at the end of every sentence or playing too much hockey, but almost everybody in the world with a radio can probably name at least one Canadian performer.
Standing at the One Year Countdown, I felt deep embarrassment instead of pride. It's one thing to hire an Australian company to produce our opening and closing ceremonies because they're working behind the scenes, but it's another to cede centre stage - and there were about 30 camera crews present from around the world to record the moment - to a British band. I really can't picture the organizers of the London Games in 2012 using a Canadian song for their inspirational videos, so why would VANOC use a British song for ours? The 2010 countdown needed some Canadian content.
Right away I thought of half a dozen songs that should have been played during that video. First among them was "Marathon" by Rush. The tune is great, and the lyrics are perfect for the Games.
"Being Here" by The Stills doesn't fit lyrically, but the chorus is perfect. "Here I Am" by Bryan Adams was already used for the 2010 bid video, but could have easily been used for the inspirational video as well. The Tragically Hip may not have any songs that are perfectly appropriate in terms of lyrics - "Gift Shop" was the best I could come up with - but they're so perfectly Canadian it really doesn't matter. I also like "Fire Eye'd Boy" by Broken Social Scene, which I think could have turned some heads and raised VANOC up a few spots on the cool meter. And it's an older song by a defunct band, but "Downtime" by the Ghandarvas would have kicked some ass.
That's six songs I thought of in two minutes, and I wasn't even trying that hard.
Here's what I want you to do: Go to Vancouver2010.com, and click the link for the Fun Zone on the left side of the page. Click on Multimedia Gallery, then Video Gallery, and look for the picture of the torch to get the "Lights Will Guide You Home" video. Turn the volume down and start playing random Canadian songs you think would have been more appropriate.
Send a list of those appropriate songs to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will give prizes to the best picks. I'll also forward that list to VANOC as a reminder of all the wonderful Canadian content they passed up to their (our?) everlasting shame.
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