I have not always been very positive about the Paralympics, arguing in the past it gets publicity out of all proportion to the actual interest in it.
It is time to change my views - firstly through meeting a couple of the athletes, and secondly because, at least in the UK, the interest now is there. One stroke of genius by Channel 4 has been the promotional video it has used for its Paralympics coverage, with features the very apt 'Harder Than You Think' by Public Enemy. Just listen for the line 'thank you for allowing us to be ourselves'....
I used to love Public Enemy. I saw them the first three times they played in Manchester (and believe me, Hip-Hop gigs were heavy in those days) and I still regard 'It Takes A Nation of Millions To Hold Us Back' as one of the greatest LPs ever. In terms of innovation, I can't believe 'Sgt Pepper' was as innovative in its day as that album was in 1988.
I never really took the Nation of Islam controversies around them seriously - if you are going to get angry about science fiction - and the NoI is nothing more than science fiction - you may as well get angry with the Scientologists.
In time, my interest in Public Enemy, and to a large extent Hip-Hop faded. Other things took over in my life - mostly getting very drunk at Class War meetings and talking nonsense. Watching the video for 'Harder Than You Think' on You Tube a lot of PE's greatness comes back - to make a track like this aged well into your 40s is a real achievement. It is also a clever piece of work - twenty years on and they are not portraying themselves living it up on the West Coast surrounded by gold and bimbo's, but filling up skips and driving an old van around suburban New York. And that of course is a lot closer to the reality most of us are in.
Harder than you think is a beautiful thing!