Saturday, July 28, 2012

London 2012 Olympics, The Opening Ceremony

What do you think about the opening ceremony ? I thought it was quite splendid, quintessentially British, a homage to some of the incredible things Britain has achieved married to a knowing understanding of some of the harsher realities of life.

After the incredible opening ceremony in Beijing, Danny Boyle had already said he would not attempt a similar style of ceremony. Instead, what Boyle produced was a potted history of Britain replete with mythological and political imagery; China and other nations cannot failed to have noticed that part of what Britain chose to showcase about itself was the human and political rights movement of the Suffragettes, and pride we feel in having a National Health Service.

Boyle wove together great strands of what we were, the industrial revolution and empire building, with what we hope we are today, inclusive, multi-cultural, ready to acknowledge our shared past and muddle on together as best we can.

The things that Britain still does really were pushed to the fore, literature and especially J K Rowling's all conquering Harry Potter series was featured as a huge Voldemort fell beneath an onslaught of Mary Poppinses with illuminated brollies. The music showcased a parade of British talent from the Elgar through numerous acts familiar to a global audience, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, David Bowie, and Boyle was happy to use the cynical and the anti-establishment as Pink Floyd, The Clash and The Sex Pistols music was put to good effect.

Other parts of the ceremony showed the traditionally British way of being self-deprecating and quirky, Rowan Atkinson turned in a quick performance as Mr. Bean, trying to cheat his way into beating the Chariots Of Fire runners.  The Italian national news service described the ceremony as "as unpredictable as the people here" and went on to say that only the British could conceive of doing the event in this fashion.

After much speculation over who was to light the Olympic Flame inside the stadium, Britain put in to practise the Olympic ideal, to inspire the next generation, seven young British athletes nominated by British gold medal winners ran into the stadium and lit the cauldron that had been constructed from petals carried in at the head of each participating team.

Personally I thought that the opening ceremony was a great success, it was unorthodox and showed off as many British idiosyncrasies as it did British achievements, but this is how we British are, we are actually really proud of all the great things we have done, but we don't like to boast about it. Well done Mr. Boyle, that was a tough ask, and I mean this most sincerely when I say that wasn't a bad job, not bad at all.

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