As the dust settles from the great Olympic party, it seems the most fitting time to sit down and update you all about the progress of our #thiswondrousisle project.
I say 'our', because it is a project that belongs to all of us, of course. To everyone who has taken part by sending or tagging photographs so far, we profusely thank each and every one of you.
As the last of the bunting is swept up and empty bottles gathered for recycling, thoughts inevitably turn towards The Legacy. Legacy was a cornerstone of our bid, and up until that opening scene of the opening ceremony had only really ever been contemplated in terms of the sporting legacy. "Good sport make good people do good sport..." Or something like that...
Whilst these games will have undoubtedly inspired at least some of a generation to try to emulate their new-found heroes and heroines on all those playing fields that haven't been sold off by successive governments, I hope, nay believe, these games will inspire many more unexpected and often intangible legacies.
Amongst such legacies I fervently hope will be: the re-discovery of the joys of volunteering in exchange simply for the satisfaction of contributing to the greater good; the beginning of the decline of our obsession with celebrity and fame for its own sake; a renewed belief in the power of the ordinary citizen to make a tangible difference to the quality of life; the realisation that our cultural and economic future and spiritual well-being will be secured not by the politicians, nor the selfish, the greedy and the corrupt, nor by any elite, but by the creative endeavours of each and every one of us; a greater tolerance and respect for all who make up our society, and the fostering of an environment in which all can realise their potential; a cessation of the demonisation of youth and recognition that with the right support, they have the energy, imagination and commitment to create a better future for themselves and our nations; the acknowledgement from all that there is such a thing as society, and it can be a force for real, tangible good; an understanding that happiness can't be bought, but is found in our connections and shared experiences with our fellow human beings; renewed support for the unique virtues of the BBC and indeed Channel 4; and, of course, a campaign to elect Claire Balding Prime Minister in 2015.
Call me naïve, call me optimistic (I'm a Stoke fan - these attributes have been a lifelong necessity) but to see these past few weeks as merely an errant chapter in the seemingly inexorable story of our decline is to admit defeat in a way that is an insult to, and disrespects the dedication, hard work and humility of, every single one of our Olympic and Paralympic competitors.
It's been suggested to us that #thiswondrousisle is part of this legacy, albeit a very tiny one. If it proves so to be, and we would be utterly delighted if it did, it will be because of another, greater, legacy of these games - a renewed pride in our nation and its myriad virtues, as shown by the hundreds upon hundreds of photographs of everything from our glorious countryside to Gay Pride to fish and chips (a LOT of fish and chips) to urban graffiti and pretty much everything in-between.
We haven't edited the photos in any way, shape or form, as to do so would be to undermine the wholly democratic and wonderfully personal nature of such a collection. Every day I check in at www.thiswondrousisle.co.uk, I never cease to be surprised and delighted by just how diverse the things about Britain that we hold dear are.
Which made us think; maybe it's not enough for this to be 'just' a gift to Danny Boyle and his team. How do we make it a part of the legacy for everyone?
Because we have become increasingly infused with the spirit of 'anything is possible' that's pervaded Britain these last few weeks, we've dreamed of how this could become, amongst other things, a modern version of that mass observation masterpiece the Domesday Book. Whilst that may sound terribly grandiose, we've always wanted this collection to be 'It's From Everyone', so all our thinking has been about how we might achieve actually make it so.
The best idea we've had so far is to try to persuade the Royal Mail to partner with us. They, like so many of our institutions, have had a great games and this would be a way of continuing the momentum gathered by the Gold Medal Stamps and gold post boxes. Plus, of course, they are a wholly British organisation and arguably the only single organisation who can connect every household in Great Britain. Which is an incredible thing when you think about it.
We like the idea of every postie contributing a picture and encouraging everyone on his or her round to do the same. And it's not an unprecedented idea either; in 2006 the Royal Mail gave every postie a disposable camera and asked them to take photos on their rounds on one specific day. The resulting photos were curated into a collection called Unseen Britain, with help from Stephen Gill & Jon Ronson. So #thiswondrousisle is really just a more visible and comprehensive twist on their original and brilliant idea.
The other lovely idea comes from one of my erstwhile partners in this whole endeavour, John V Willshire; to ultimately sell the book in some form or another, with all proceeds going to Great Ormond Street and the Singing Signing Choir.
But for the moment we're just concentrating on how we can get the idea out as far and wide as possible.
So please tweet, blog, instagram & talk about #thiswondrousisle at every opportunity, and if you haven't done so already, upload some photos of what makes this isle wondrous to you.
If you don't do social media, we now have an email address to which you can send your pictures too: email@example.com.
There will be many more important legacies from 2012 than this that's for sure, but it's the only one so far that enables every single one of us to show future generations what makes this isle wondrous to them, and in so doing, thank Danny Boyle and his team for their part in Inspiring A Generation.
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