Ok so perhaps we are now all suffering from Olympics overkill but one truly Great thing has come out of Britian this summer. For the first time ever in my life I feel differently about my national flag.
When I grew up Britain was still desperately trying to hold on to it's international image of Empire and power. You'd be shown pictures of the Union Jack flag flown above Queen Victoria in the History books, from which, our teachers preached the gospel of past glories.
The other place you'd see it was with the Skinhead gangs that were on every corner of every street in every town. Later on I saw the flag on the football terraces of course, but often used by the same skinheads. Then along came the BNP and further abused the flag by using it in their actual logo. What I'm getting at is that I always related the Union Jack to the far right nutbags that scared the living daylights out of me. They stole my bus money and they stole my national identity, I hated what they believed in.
The Punks had a go at using the flag but then again they had a go at using the Swastika. Jerry Dammers came along and tried to nice up the place with Two Tone. But he stayed well away from re-appropriating the flag, instead focusing on his iconic strong black/white theme for his label designs. After the second wave of 80s ska the skinheads were still there at the gigs. I remember going to see Desmond Dekker at the Duchess of York in Leeds and they took over the floor. A kid who got in their way got glassed. Desmond carried on but you could see in his eyes he was terrified. They loved him and they loved his music but they wanted his family out of the UK. I just couldn't get my head round it.
In the 90s everyone from The Spice Girls to Noel Gallagher used the Union Jack but it all seemed a bit superficial. A passing fad. For me it took another 20 years before I would go anyhwere near the flag and that was this summer. Stella McCartney stuck her neck on the line and totally over hauled the flags tired, old, out dated image and look how much hate she got for it when it was first released here. Surely it was decades of hate she was trying to remove from the flag ? Are we still the same old bunch of haters ?
This summer the flag belongs to everyone. From the black, mixed race, asian or white athletes drapped in it after every medal win to the crowds lining the streets for the road races. After all if it's good enough for Wiggo then it's good enough for us. So what if the athletes wore the new blue version? For me it was the boldest and most effective logo re-branding I've ever seen. As we search for our new self-identity in the UK surely we need a new suit and a new logo ? Isn't it about time the Union Jack got remixed?
The crowds were still waving the classic version in every stadium and I was happy to give my kids the original. But I still bought myself the Adidas blue remix, come on it's far cooler.....
By the way I know this is a controversial entry and people feel strongly about their flag but if you want to have a hate rant go elsewhere - I'm a lover not a fighter...