Well, the opening ceremony is over, and I’m definitely under….whelmed… Why? Read on dear visitor.
A couple of days ago, I watched a replay of the Chinese opening ceremony of the last Olympic Games; just to get into the spirit of the thing, you understand. This is something I now regret, because it was impossible not to compare the two ceremonies.
Four years ago, the Chinese, with staggering meticulousness and jaw-dropping technological mastery, depicted their contributions to the human race. Tonight, the Brits managed a few sooty smoke stacks, Johnny Rotten and Hey Jude. Even more disturbing was an INTERMINABLE display of bed-ridden children and medical staff gyrating about in a manner suggesting shameful abuse of their own meds. Is the National Health Service (NHS) the Brit’s idea of their main contribution to the human race?
With the Chinese Olympic opening, each event was reflected with humbling innovation and highly effective imagery. The military presence, such as it was, showed almost frightening precision. The Brits couldn’t even march in step when carrying the flags.
The Chinese had Lang Lang and incorporated other accomplished Western artists such as Sarah Brightman. The British budget evidently ran out at the Arctic Monkeys – out of tune too. It may be their manner of covering that hit of yesteryear, Come Together, I grant you – but it was unimpressive at best.
The Chinese showed how the fabric of their society was woven down the centuries through puppetry, folk music and classical theatre. Tonight the contributions by the Celts (Scots and Irish pipe bands and the world famous Welsh choirs to name a few) were embarrassingly absent. Shakespeare, Dickens, Wilde et al might also have been represented but I missed them (possibly while yawning).
Keving Brannagh made a less than inspiring appearance, after which he and his fellow ‘industrialists’ spent an awful lot of time staring upwards (possibly admiring the chimneys).
Of course it wasn’t ALL bad. There were the facets which held one’s attention momentarily; such as the illuminated bicycle/birds and the forging of the olympic rings. but on the whole The British effort couldn’t hold a candle to the Chinese opening.
I would like to applaud Her Majesty on her sensitive curtailment of her speech. We normally brace ourselves for the “My husband and I….” gambit and a healthy dollop of Royal chat. Tonight, however, in a single sentence, she simply declared the do open and that was that.
Between you and me though, the poor lass looked bored out of her royal skull – either that or she’d resorted to her emergency supply of sherry secreted about her person (reliable sauces inform me that on some occasions, the sherry is contained in a Corgi with a false bottom).
The one redeeming item was the lighting of the Olympic Torch. A brilliant concept, making for a memorable ending to an otherwise eminently forgettable ceremony.