DUNCAN BARKES It’s more like karaoke than a real live gig

The news that the closing ceremony of the Olympics will feature musicians and singers miming is an embarrassing cop out.

The eyes of the world will be on London and instead of wowing ‘em with stunning live performances, we will dish up karaoke.

Ceremony director Danny Boyle was keen for everyone to perform live, but was overruled by Locog, the body organising the games. Locog argue that the event is not a live concert or gig but a ceremony, so it is not necessary for live performances.

Others have also pointed out that previous ceremonies organised in other countries were also mimed, so Great Britain is not doing anything out of step. Surely this is an opportunity to raise the bar and to prove that we Brits can put on the mother of all gigs? It’s also been suggested that perhaps performers are more comfortable with miming, as they would be fearful of making a mistake in front of a global audience. What rot! If the musicians and singers taking part in the ceremony doubt their own abilities to such an extent then they clearly aren’t up to the job.

The deliciously named Horace Trubridge of the Musicians Union described the decision as ‘shameful’. He is spot on with his assessment. Remember, this miming policy not only affects pop stars, but also the world-famous London Symphony Orchestra (LSO). If I were a member of the orchestra I would find this decision highly insulting.

Aside from the LSO, other acts confirmed for the ceremony include Take That, Sir Paul McCartney, George Michael and The Who. Regardless of your musical taste, you must acknowledge that all of these artistes are more than capable of knocking out a decent live number or two, without making a pig’s ear of things.

But given their track record, perhaps we should not be too surprised by Locog’s wish for acts to mime. A few months ago they made an approach to Bill Curbishley, manager of The Who, to ask if Keith Moon would consider playing at the ceremony with the surviving members of the band. Mr Moon has of course been dead for 34 years, having died of a drug overdose in 1978. You couldn’t make it up.

We have some of the best musicians in the world and Great Britain is renowned for its significant contribution to both classical and popular music. Event organisers have not only missed a massive trick, but they have made us look like a bunch of wusses.

But perhaps I am being too harsh. You are reading the words of a man who would only be truly happy if the closing ceremony featured the surviving members of The Clash and the Sex Pistols, with a bit of The Blockheads and Paul Weller thrown in for good measure. Now that really WOULD be a show to set the world on fire.

** Great fun, bargains and homebaking

Few fetes can rival the annual Donnington Church shindig and I’m delighted to report it is almost that time again.

Saturday, June 23, from 1pm in Donnington Halll on Stockbridge Road, there is never a shortage of fun for all, brilliant bargains and a standard of baking that can make a grown man swoon with delight.

Email Barkes at duncanbarkes@hotmail.com or follow him on Twitter @DuncanBarkes