It’s a little tricky to get excited about the Olympic games two hours into a solid traffic jam on the way into London. Especially the next day when it’s revealed that the empty ‘Games Lane’ next to us could have been used, with restrictions not yet in place, (during the games, if you use one of these lanes you’ll be charged a whopping 130 pounds). I’ll admit it, I’m grumpy. Most Londoners have been cranky for two months, having lived under a solid black blanket of rain, our socks permanently soggy.
This week, we’ve had our first glimpse of summer. On Tuesday, a friend and I went to see Madonna’s MDMA tour in Hyde Park, and tried to ignore the ominous clouds rolling ever closer, engulfing the blue sky. We stood, squished in a crowd of bald middle-aged gay men, wearing various Madge memorabilia, as she took the stage (only half an hour late). Despite the conflicting message of world peace, coming after a ten minute song medley choreographed to a gun fight, the show was great. About half way through it began to rain. And wait for it…Madonna may just be God. After getting 50,000 people to pray it would stop, she got her wish. For about ten minutes. At which time I’m assuming God took back the reigns.
I’m not sure if Madonna is dealt with so negatively in the press in the States as she is in England. Here, you’d swear she’d murdered someone for the vitriol she gets from journalists for getting her legs out, at- SHOCK HORROR- 53. She of course pushes buttons by revealing her bum, or a nipple, but with a body better than most twenty year olds who can blame her? To perform a two hour set live (and in tune) to rigorous dance routines at the age most people are beer bellied (men and women) is extraordinary. But, as you may have already guessed, I’m a fan, so I would defend her. My friend who came with me remarked that for everything that Madonna isn’t, ie the Mariah Carey of vocal talents, and for all her mixed messages, she is probably the most powerful role model she’s had growing up. Maybe this is depressing to you. I in no way want to be like Madonna, but whatever she is, her determination is unparalleled, especially in an industry like pop, which eats women for breakfast. When I was 13, I had a cowboy themed birthday party inspired by Madonna’s “Don’t Tell Me” video and ten years later I’m still going to watch her. And given how fit she is, it absolutely wouldn’t surprise me if I see another tour in ten or twenty years time.
The rain in London has finally gone just in time for the Olympic opening ceremony. All my windows are open to try and let in some of the cool breeze I’m lucky enough to get three floors up. As is the way, the second the sun comes out in England, every man I pass has his shirt off. There are many are many sunburnt people wondering the streets, passing shops who are ripping down last week’s signs of slashed prices for sun cream. People look happy, flooded with relief, thrilled to be dying of heat on the Underground.
How this city will fare with the Olympics is yet to be seen, but it’s amazing to think how far we’ve come after last summer’s devastating riots.