Big Ben is probably still ringing in London to herald the start of the XXX Olympiad. The bell began to toll at 08:12. Radio 4 played it, but there was another sound played too. A terrible, horrible sound. A sound like hyenas discovering, finally, a leader and worshipping it… Whooping.
One of the things I’ve liked about the British – the English, Welsh and Scottish at least – over the years is that they do not ‘Whoop’ or ‘Holla’. I suppose that, given I was born in England, that should be “We don’t Whoop”. I’ll be plain, since returning to the island after many years away, I feel unconnected from ‘Britishness’ or ‘Englishness’. The world is just more interesting than that.
What happened when Big Ben began what I’m sure will soon be called “Belling”, is much, much less interesting in every way.
It happened, however, in London this morning. The mighty, historic, stoic, strong and occasionally comforting sound of Big Ben was washed into the air by the sound of “Whoop!”
That sound is the sound of PR and Marketing. It’s a sound of desperation. It’s the screaming horror of imagination and hope actually being smothered to death. No, the “Whoop! Yay!”, the “\0/” is the fog of faux slowly and thickly murdering real fauve.
When I was younger, we applauded gently and with intent and meaning. Now they scream like monkey children desperate to be seen as important as the USA on the world stage. They British yell “Yessss! Wooooo!” because not being loud enough means that excitement of the children is no longer good enough.
By the way, I say “The British”, I mean empirically Londoners… not a whisper of a bell nor Whoop wafted through the Yorkshire town I find myself in.
That said, it’s not the Olympics that started this horror…