I was one of the millions glued to the telly watching Danny Boyle’s opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympics. I shared in the pride as we celebrated all the talent our gaggle of small, muddy islands have produced. It was really quite something, wasn’t it? Engineers, scientists, artists, musicians; Brunel, Fleming, Turing, The Stones, The Beatles, Lowry – the names kept coming and with each one, a fresh patriotic tear rolled down our collective cheek.
I’ve been thinking about this recently: what is it about Britain that breeds such creativity? And then it struck me like a wet autumn leaf slapped into my forehead by an irritating, prevailing gusty wind. It’s the weather. Considering how small we are geographically and in terms of population in the grand, Global scheme of things, little Britain has proved her greatness in other ways; and all these things boil (no pun intended, Danny) down to creative thought.
Our creativity comes from generations of kids being driven inside by crap weather. It was weather avoidance that sent them into the garage with their mates to try out another little song they’d been working on. Or maybe reach for a science book. Or pick up a paintbrush, sketch a bridge, watch the raindrops pour down the window panes and wonder about how they always find each other in the end to make a puddle.
It can’t have escaped the attention of our Olympians at the opening ceremony either that it was from behind gale-rattled windows, that Brits thought up some of the world’s greatest sports: Rugby, Football, Tennis, Golf and Cricket. Shame that it was the same weather that stopped them actually playing these brilliant games, consigning us to a destiny of watching other countries, more meteorologically blessed, often charge ahead.
Perhaps we also have the weather to thank for our incomparable appreciation of irony.
If you’re British, or have ever been to Britain, you will no doubt have an opinion about our weather. Brighten my typically grey, miserable day with a thought or 2 …