Welcome to the war zone

by Keith Clarke

As the UK sweeps up after its traditional summer round of rioting, looting and pillaging, it will probably be a whole lot easier to find a London hotel room, for anyone with a brave spirit and maybe a tin hat. After due consideration, the tourist board decided to take down online ads reading “Great Britain: You’re invited” that were running side by side with footage of buildings on fire, cars being wrecked, bricks hurling through the air and shop windows being smashed. Among visitors during the riots were members of the International Olympic Committee, who must have been wishing they had given the 2012 Games to somewhere quieter, like Iraq.

In Scotland, so far untroubled by petrol bombs, comics at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe have been gifted with new material. Irish comedian Andrew Maxwell said: “The person I feel most sorry for is [2012 Games chief] Seb Coe. He must be lying on the floor in the fetal position, worrying they won’t know which gunshot to start the 100 meters on.”

Most of London pulled down the shutters early on Tuesday for fear of what was to come. On my stretch of road, the only shop remaining open was the local glazing store, where they must be thinking Christmas has come early.

Among casualties of the crisis was the launch of a key London 2012 Cultural Olympiad project. Ironically, it was an initiative aimed at getting young people involved in sport, culture and the arts, rather than getting hoodied up and making off down the street with as many looted TVs as they can carry.


Stepping aside from all the mayhem, I’m looking forward to a bit of escapism with a night at the movies tomorrow, courtesy of the BBC Proms. An evening of film music has works by Ennio Morricone (who will be further celebrated with a late-night Prom by the Spaghetti Western Orchestra), William Walton, John Williams, Jonny Greenwood, Richard Rodney Bennett and John Barry, but kicks off with classic scores from Bernard Hermann, including Citizen Kane, Psycho and The Man Who Knew Too Much.

Hermann was clearly The Man Who Knew Just Enough. He broke every rule in the book, with results that still sound as fresh today as when they went on the manuscript paper.

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