Unless you have been living under a rock for the last 7 years you should be well aware that London, United Kingdom is the home of the Olympics for 2012. The 30th Olympiad so I am led to believe.
Last night was the opening ceremony, now after a very very busy week at work coupled with recovering from a cold and then the death of my grandmother, I was really after an early night and thought that this spectacle was going to be boring and I could in fact watch it whilst updating this blog, knitting, etc. However, I was captured from the outset and all them plans including the early night went out the window.
How do you sum up such a show? I made a note of all the things that stuck out for me and captured them in this list of words, which covers I hope a small part of the show plus a large part of British culture, our quirkiness and our uniqueness
From Agriculture to Industry, with Shakespeare in the form of The Tempest, read by the man we all know as a Bard actor – Sir Kenneth Brannagh. Portraying another great man – Isambard Kingdom Brunel. And so we watched and listened to those dark satanic mills of Jerusalem, the boyish charm of Danny Boy, the Scottish burr of Flower of Scotland to the Welsh valleys of Bread of Heaven. The Olympic Rings were forged and brought alive into the stadium
The landscape changed to remember War, those who fought for good over evil. The sixties swung in with a flight of Beatles. We were missing our figure-head our Queen. And what better way for her to come in but accompanied by Bond, James Bond. I know this clip will be seen thousands if not millions of times, but it is just fantastic and I share it again!
I bet she has always wanted to do that! And watch it as Daniel Craig turns as she leaves the room. There is a little pause and I am sure he is thinking “I cannot believe what is happening….”
Then a creation which began when the Olympics was with us in 1948 – the NHS. This is what we are all about, nurses in uniform with ‘proper’ hats, doctors in white coats and children in beds being tended to and read the wonderful novel of Peter Pan. Suddenly the book of English Literature was opened up; Mary Poppins came in to save the children, JK Rowling read from Peter Pan, , Cruella De Vil, Queen of Hearts, Captain Hook and Lord Voldemort suddenly arose from the stadium.
In complete contrast the wonderful London Symphony Orchestra and Chariots of Fire with an additional musician – Rowan Atkinson as Mr Bean. Oh I had visions of Andre Previn and Morecambe & Wise. Then more of British Popular Culture, music, television, films (nicely added in Danny with Trainspotting!) A mini, the BBC, radio, technology. Then it turned into ‘name the band’ The Who, The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, The Beatles, Bowie, Eruthymics, The Jam, The Sex Pistols, New Order the list is endless.
And then another exportable British person – David Beckham – on a power boat from up The Thames a la James Bond as he was making his journey, all the athletes went into the stadium, planting their flags. It is at this point or in fact letter G that I had to give up and go to bed. I just needed to sleep. However I resumed watching this morning from when Team GB came in and picked out the other key moments, thanks to the blow by blow account by the BBC.
So Becks was to be greeted by our greatest ever Olympian (so far) Sir Steve Redgrave. The flame now entering the stadium as the official opening began, with the Queen and officials declaring it open. Oaths given to a ‘fair’ games, the flag brought in by important people such as the UN ambassador and then the tear jerking moment when we saw Mohammad Ali. (Although I am not sure whether it was the correct thing to do). The choice of who was to light the cauldron was excellent, nominated by Olympians and who also paid homage to previous British Olympic medal winners. And then a finishing act of Sir Paul McCartney (which I have not seen but understand was as good as his Jubilee effort) All in all a wonderful night, and I hope that Britain does this Olympics proud. The world watched us last night, may it continue to do so and appreciate our complete uniqueness in the world.