Basic Biittner : London Calling

Monday, June 4, 2012

For the second consecutive summer, in the immortal words of Paul Revere, "the British are coming, the British are coming!"

Every so often, the Brits remind the United States and the rest of the world that, though they are small in size, there's an awful lot of tradition and talent in the British Isles.

Almost fifty years ago (!), the Beatles hit our shores, followed by the Dave Clark Five, Rolling Stones, Animals, The Who, et al, and the so-called "British Invasion" was on. The irony in these groups' success in the U.S., of course, is that much of the music they first brought over consisted of covers of songs by American artists whom they admired, most of whom had been neglected or forgotten in their own country. The British groups went on to create their own wonderful original music too, of course, but much of it was grounded in the American music to which they had listened growing up. Subsequent English artists such as Elton John and Phil Collins, along with Irishmen like Van Morrison and U2, Wales' Tom Jones and many others have assured the Brits a lasting legacy of their own in the world of pop/rock music.

The next British wave to hit came approximately ten years later, with the wedding of Prince Charles, heir to the throne (who it now looks like may never actually wear the crown), to a lovely young Diana Spencer. The Royal Wedding drew a large TV audience and Princess Diana maintained a loving relationship with the public and media until her untimely death - and for some time after that.

Last year, Prince William's wedding brought worldwide attention back to the British, but that was just the beginning. In 2012, we've seen continued interest in "Will and Kate," as well as in the actions of eligible bachelor Prince Harry, Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee (She's been on the throne 60 years ... I always thought "Diamond" meant 75 years ... oh well), and soon we will see the ultimate - the 2012 Summer Olympics - from London.

The Olympics are always a spectacle, from the Opening Ceremonies to the Closing Ceremonies, and there are usually some memorable athletic performances in between as well.

Unfortunately, in some of the Summer Games of recent vintage there have been many memorable moments which were not so positive. Here's hoping that politics and special interests don't get in the way this time around, and that London throws a great party we can all enjoy.