GAMES FOR MAY?

The Commonwealth Games are a bit of an anachronism, aren’t they? Not in the games sense; it’s basically Olympic sports with a few important additions such as lawn bowls and Royal tennis and a few omissions such as curling and skate boarding. At least, that’s my understanding. 

No, the oddness is the Commonwealth bit. British Empire Games was the original name. Hooray for imperialism and all that. Still, it’s fun to see countries that almost never get screen time in world sport coverage strut their stuff in the games-of-the-parts-of-the-map-that-used-to-be-pink. 

The other evening, for instance, I was riveted by the Women’s Beach Volleyball as Vanuatu narrowly defeated Cyprus in a big sandpit some kilometres from the ocean. But they had banana lounges to rest on during the breaks in play, and wore bikinis in their national team colours, so the atmosphere was certainly sunny, even at night.

Last night I was entranced by the final of the women’s pole vault, watching a Canadian lass unexpectedly triumph over the plucky New Zealander while a delighted young Aussie couldn’t stop smiling about her bronze medal placing. It was beautiful sport, in every sense of the word, and though I’m not sure why they were dressed in similar outfits to the beach volleyball players, I had no objection. None at all.

During an ad break, as I caught my breath from all the excitement, I had a most excellent idea. Sadly, it was about three weeks too late, but I want to share it with you anyway. 

I realised that many readers of Vinyl Connection—particularly those who regularly comment on each others music posts—are from Commonwealth countries. I know this leaves out our American cousins, but as they tend to dominate pretty much every sport (except cricket, but we’re not talking about Australian cricket at present) I’m sure they won’t mind being excluded from this particular tournament. My idea, you see, was to have playoffs between artists/albums from the various countries of the Commonwealth.

Here is an example.

Event: Women’s Solo Album (Legends)

Match: England versus Canada

Competitors: Kate Bush and Joni Mitchell

Albums: The Sensual World (1989`) vs Hejira (1976)

A pithy 250 word review of each album would follow, with a mark out of 100 using the patented Vinyl Connection scoring system.

Rating

Vision and Innovation: V / 30

Playing and Composition: P / 30

Listener Enjoyment: E / 30

X-Factor [eg: cover, design, reviewer bias] X / 10

Total: V + P + E + X / 100

Obviously it would be even more thrilling if bloggers from the relevant country wrote the review and did the scoring for their national artist, but at a pinch both sides could be written by any author, music bloggers being people of such exemplary honesty, integrity and fairness.

So what do people think? Should we plan for the next Commonwealth Games (Birmingham, 2022. Wonder where they’ll play the beach volleyball) or even the next Olympics? The latter would of course admit the good ol’ US of A, which is swell because we like to be inclusive of under-represented marginals.

While you are mulling it over, here are a few more Commonwealth examples. 

Event: Men’s Solo Album (Legends)

Match: Northern Ireland versus England

Competitors: Van Morrison and John Martyn*

Albums: Tupelo Honey (1971) vs Solid Air (1973)

* Where an artist has a mixed background, choose the one that suits you. John Martyn, for example, was born in London to an English mother and Scottish father.

*

Event: Team Album (Pop/Rock)

Match: Scotland versus Australia

Competitors: Teenage Fanclub and Crowded House**

Albums: Grand Prix (1995) vs Woodface (1991)

IMG_5438

** See previous note. As two-thirds of the original Crowdies were Aussies, I’m claiming them for this event even though that is patently ridiculous, it being unequivocally Neil Finn’s band. Given Neil’s recent recruitment into Fleetwood Mac this presumably means that New Zealand can now claim Rumours.

*

Event: Team Album (Eccentric)

Match: New Zealand versus Wales

Competitors: Split Enz and Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci

Albums: Mental Notes (1976) vs Introducing Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci (1996)

IMG_5437

*

Event: Team Album (Heavy)

Match: Australia versus England

Competitors: Buffalo and Uriah Heep

Albums: Volcanic Rock (1973) vs The Magician’s Birthday (1972)

*

Event: Solo Album (World Music—Vocal)

Match: Pakistan versus England

Competitors: Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan vs Sheila Chandra

Albums: Devotional Songs (1992) vs Weaving My Ancestors’ Voices (1992)

*

Further events might include:

Anonymous Electronic Outfit (21st Century) — solo or unknown number of musicians.

Team Album (Progressive) — imagine the arguments on who qualifies for that one!

Solo Singer/Songwriter (Established)

I’d come up with more, but there’s another medal about to be decided on TV.

Commonwealth_Flags

27 comments

  1. Good compilation! Joni Mitchell and Kate Bush created in times when the music-world was more ruled by males an female universe with intuition, intelligence und courage.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I was a little disappointed in Our Eliza last night. She’s on track to be the best pole vaulter in the world, and probably should have nailed it last night. I thought the uniforms were practical enough, but the camera probably didn’t need to follow behind them after each jump.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There’s need, then there’s, er, art.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Totally keen to join in the Commonwealth Games too.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. That’s actually a cool idea. I’d like to see one with modern albums, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sure. There are no limits on the event categories!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Fabulous idea Bruce – I’d be honoured to participate!
    Though I may have to face some tough citizenship questions in the first category, as I adore that Kate Bush record!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. jprobichaud · · Reply

    Haha! Awesome!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Love the idea, even though, as a Yank, I’d have to watch from the sidelines! 🙂 That Kate vs. Joni matchup is a good one. I had The Sensual World on constant play (cassette!) back in the early 90s…”Love and Anger” really got under my skin (in a good way).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It occurs to me that Americans could adopt a Commonwealth country for the duration. Or we could wait for the Olympics.

      Like

  7. The little spot is land were I was born was never a part of Brittan.
    Actualy we rules most of it but that was very long ago.
    So I out.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. All hail this idea. Wales of course get to compete as ourselves rather than being subsumed into a nebulous UK.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Of course. Note fourth example.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. This is a strangely bizarre and yet engaging idea, what about the expatriated Brit? Although being from Liverpool I think I can claim independence as we have largely been ignored by the rest of the UK for many years.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A valid point. I think this is the perfect opportunity to re-align our nationalistic tendencies. In fact, I’m now favouring drawing a country out of a hat for each participant.

      (And thanks for picking up on the surreal aspect, Neil. I was aware that there were at least five different directions people could respond from)

      Like

      1. Is the bikini required? Or will any swimwear be okay?

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Swimwear is optional. But please don’t post photos.

          Liked by 1 person

  10. pinklightsabre · · Reply

    Yes, it does belong in music (humor). Everywhere in fact!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I like this idea. BOOK IT!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I like your version of the games more than the actual games (and yeah, I’m a bit uneasy about the whole Commonwealth thing).

    I expect Teenage Fanclub came out on top of that Team Event.

    … and aye, I’m interested in taking part in the games in a few year. If I can avoid injury, of course.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Start training now, J. This involves seeking, acquiring, cleaning, listening to, and filing as many records as you can between now and the event. It’s touch, I know.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. CB’s wheels are turning already. Even if he doesn’t join in he will be tuning in. I am but one small loyal subject of the Commonwealth (and the world).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Love the idea of a loyal subject of the world. I think we might run with that.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. If the nee Godly among us can play for Pakistan, I would be up for Devotional Songs. At first encounter, Nusrat took the to off my head like an English gentleman removing the top of his egg preparatory to dipping his soldiers.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sounds like a particularly violent game of imperialistic polo, DD. Don’t forget your helmet.

      Like

  15. Sounds good to me. And I’ve just realised I can increase my score in your record store day quiz by one. That’s what comes from getting behind and then reading your blogs in the wrong order.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha! Must’ve been subliminal influence on, er, myself. But the extra point is most certainly yours!

      Like

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