Saturday, 28 July 2012
the isle is full of noises
It looks as if my quick tour through the birthplace of industry came in useful for later in the week as we saw an idyllic and fluffy cloudy British countryside of sheep, geese, plough-horses, cricket greens and picturesque cottages get transformed by industry.
Of course I'm talking about the Olympic Opening ceremony yesterday evening, with its rather British slant and an attempt to edit thousands of years down to about an hour.
Preceding it, the GB Sports Minister managed to lose his clapper when ringing a handbell but Bradley Wiggins hit the mark on the big bell at the start of the ceremony.
Some parts might be lost on a global audience; the playing of the Shipping Forecast during the 20:12 countdown sequence, the blast of the Archers theme tune from a mini car radio; the inevitable slight pause for the drum beats of EastEnders whilst the viewpoint hovered over the Dome.
Mix in a skydiving Queen, James Bond, a choreographed NHS bed sequence, a proper Bow Bell to celebrate the East End base for the Olympic village. Pause for breath. Shakespeare, The Suffragettes, the Yarrow Crusade, J.K.Rowling reading Peter Pan, a squadron of Mary Poppins arriving by brolly, the invention of football, oh, and Tim, the creator of the World Wide Web. Even with both a mosh pit and a posh pit it was much more about everyman than about royals. It was inevitable that with so much available to include that the reduction must have been a major task in itself.
And did I spot a double-decker bus? And did I notice that it wasn't red? Maybe that's because it was drawn by horses.
Designed by Danny Boyle, to be a show that celebrated the people, it also used a genuine cast of thousands of ordinary folk.
It may not have had the same big bucks budget as the preceding Beijing ceremony, but I think it created a uniquely memorable and appropriately quirky view of the British - didn't overplay 'London', and also provided references for global viewing.
Although I can't help wonder about the voiceovers for some countries, attempting to explain some of what was happening.
I'm sure there will be some scoffers, but I'll nail my Team GB flag to the celebratory mast for this one.
And then, the march of the athletes, from something over 200 countries. Let the Games commence - Next I'll be watching the Brits cutting a leading path up to Box Hill in the cycling.