For those buffoons who don’t think there was enough empire in the opening ceremonies, and for non-buffoons who don’t think that, here’s a fascinating ramble linking Danny Boyle with Francis Younghusband, administerer of imperial punishment beatings to the Tibetans turned old-age new-age mystic. In this latter capacity he was the inspiration for Parry’s setting of Blake’s Jerusalem, which Boyle used as the Olympic anthem.
Chris at the Virtual Stoa covered much the same ground last week. Briefly, Younghusband founded something called the Fight For Right as a kind of transcendental ginger group, whose advocacy of World War One as a polytheistic jihad attracted an unstable combination of jingoists, and shall-we-say spiritually oriented progressives. It didn’t last; but while it did, the setting of Jerusalem was written for it. When Fight For Right disintegrated, Jerusalem was thriftily turned over to the Suffragists and went from there to its current status as theme tune of general progressivity.
And to complete the circle, the opening ceremony specifically referred to the Accrington Pals. (scroll down to page 22).
(Thanks to SF reader for the heads up, btw)