Fascist, Higher, Stupider
If I were a drama queen I would say that this is how fascism starts. One of our top choreographers, David Bintley, has been forced to change the title of his new work for Birmingham Royal Ballet — because Olympic organisers said so. No, it wasn’t called Sod the Olympics. Oddly enough, that would probably be legally OK. Perhaps he should consider it as an alternative.
No, he titled it Faster, Higher, Stronger — a witty and (one would have thought) harmless allusion to the Olympic motto: Citius, Altius, Fortius. But so desperate are the London Games organisers not to upset the International Olympic Committee that they are employing an army of lawyers to stop “unauthorised” use of phrases with an Olympic ring (as it were). For instance, I wouldn’t be allowed to use the phrase “London 2012” in a commercial context, even though I live in London and it’s 2012. Thank God we are six months away from London 2013.
And Lord Coe’s henchmen have certainly made a Mad Lawyer’s Tea Party out of protecting the phrases they “own”. Even a little greasy spoon called “Café Olympic” had to change its name. Birmingham Royal Ballet is only the latest victim of this linguistic purge. Bintley, who describes the crackdown as “quite nonsensical”, will now call his new piece simply Faster.
But if Coe’s apparatchiks are worried about upsetting the IOC, they are utterly paranoid about offending their commercial sponsors. The catalogue of inanities gets bigger by the day...... So why are our freedoms as British citizens — freedoms of trade, choice, speech, artistic expression and even movement — being so restricted to appease commercial interests?...