And other New Year’s Honour News..
If you are American? This is still relevant. Indeed, doubly so! Is it political? No. This is arts news. Seriously.
Tony Blair is an easy figure to dismiss, glibly, as a footnote. He is in that sense, victim to the same spin he mastered and deployed in his own rise to power.
But if you put aside the now polarised politics and the saddening decline in revisionist history amidst social media soundbite? There is a creative and cultural legacy to examine.
Blair was a modern Elizabeth I: initiating a new golden age of British arts. Playing all sides, a ‘third way’ to ensure a nation’s survival on a newly globalised stage.
Sir Tony personified (alongside the Brosnan Bond movies, Richard Curtis/Hugh Grant rom-coms, and Blur/Oasis boy bands / Kate Moss supermodel chic) a truly ‘cool’ Britannia.
That, in turn, boosted British profiles on the world stage and injected new life to our creative economies. Those assets are neglected, all too easily, as seen in the Covid crisis.
But Blair led the way in reminding us that our culture is both political and artistic. There IS a media/industrial complex, every bit as surely as its military counterpart is beyond avoidance.
Sometimes, those lines ‘blur’ for the better. On occasion, the balance tips and yes, wrong decisions, of life changing proportion can be made in the wake. But make no mistake: economically, creatively, stylistically, aesthetically: New Labour = New Britain, even today.
And yes, a strong and truly ‘special’ relationship with America was PART of that. We forget those benefits at our peril and it is for THAT reason that yes, Arise, Sir Tony. Congratulations!
In that same spirit? BARBARA BROCCOLI, CBE! This woman is remarkable. Her vision propelled James Bond from the perceived post cold war slump into an endlessly regenerated powerhouse movie franchise of the future. Her work for charity, notably engendering young film making talent among other causes, is itself, worthy of celebration and a further reason to award her the honour given.
Remember: Bond is a vital advertisement for British interests, abroad. His fictional exploits keep a foot in the realities of armed forces endeavour and yes, that kind of patriotic popcorn propaganda is not to be underestimated. The GOLDENEYE for a GOLDEN AGE?
That said: our times now appear to be in some cultural and moral transition, once again. Which is why, effective immediately, I would urge Barbara and co to consider a 1990s based period piece 007.
Plenty of room to grow from there; a nod to nostalgia yet not so far back as to tempt extinction. Allows for Cavill to play Bond prime, with a cameo nod from Pierce/Tim as codas in the present. Resurrect Cool Britannia! Make Britain cool, again. See, it is all connected.
Congratulations, also to Dame Joanna Lumley (lovely; played an Avenger and a Bond girl; campaigns for veteran rights; makes great travel shows; v sexy voice). Absolutely..fabulous!
And of course: DANIEL CRAIG, CMG. A perfect title which recognises the actor’s diplomatic efforts on behalf of British film, theatre and HM Armed Forces.
I am hearing conflicting reports on whether there will be a ‘Sir’ David Beckham. After what he said about the Honours’ system a few years back? I dunno. Tough call. I mean yes he is a brand and does a fair bit of charity work. On the other..well..let’s not be negative. 😉
In short: cultural, political, transatlantic. Truly cool honours list! x
HAPPY NEW YEAR, ONE AND ALL. CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL WHO HAVE BEEN HONOURED. 2022..Here we Go! x