Saturday, 28 July 2012

Off and running

I thought the Opening Ceremony last night was great viewing although I have a little sympathy with Tory Aidan Burley's tweet that it was "leftie multicultural crap." Anyone who saw the spoof Twenty Twelve TV series will have had a rye chuckle at some of what we saw last night, imagining the "brainstorming" sessions between the media luvvies that spawned it. Nonetheless, it was brilliantly choreographed and striking to watch.


I wasn't sure the green and pleasant land thing worked particularly well but the ability to control the visuals of the audience via those square light-boxes by every seat gave us some fantastic effects, none more so when the all turned blue with splashes of white at the beginning as we focused on the green "island." 


The themes chosen to show our history were interesting choices too. I wonder why Shakespeare didn't make the shortlist or why the British Pub or Beer were missed out. That probably says more about me than the average Britain and maybe Pubs are being seen as yesterday's archetypal view of our nation - certainly at the rate they are closing that could well be perceptive. The Brunel piece was well done and the whole Industrial Revolution piece was brilliantly conceived. I thought our role in the Wars could have warranted more than a crowd of soldiers standing in a wheat and poppy field. Football, too, was conspicuous by it's absence. 


The celebration of the NHS was probably merited although it was prolonged and I personally don't have great experiences of the modern day service.


Getting the Queen to contribute in the video sketch with James Bond was also great viewing, even if she did look very uncomfortable and as miserable as she does of late. There was a classic moment when she first appeared with her back to the camera and you immediately thought it was that women who doubles for her, only to see it was actually her Majesty when she turned around.


That just leaves the music choices and I suppose, given the time, it was only ever going to be a snapshot and that it would come down to personal tastes. Paul Bloody McCartney and the Beatles were there of course but what about the Stones? Were Mud really more iconic than T-Rex or David Bowie? I can't argue with the Sex Pistols but The Clash contributed far more and, for me, The Smiths should definitely have been included. 


To the action today then and major disappointment as our cyclists were left behind in the Road Race. The sun shone and it was compulsive viewing with an estimated one million people lining the route. I wouldn't argue with the estimate. They appeared to be five to ten deep for the entire route.


Right then, to Big Ben's Stag do, the British Pub and a gallon of ale.

6 comments:

ChicagoAddick said...

..... and no doubt some Shakespheare.....

"Why, sir, for my part I say the gentleman had drunk himself out of his five senses."

James Watt said...

I also wondered how they came to the conclusion of picking the parts of history they did. I think had it been me, I wouldn't have gone for some of it. Overall though I think Boyle did a sterling job.

I was particularly pleased by how much limelight was afforded to the kids. It was wonderful to see so many children having a great time and giving themselves a lifetime memory in the process.

I did feel that the pace of the initial sequence was a bit slow, but the crossover from the green and pleasant land to the Industrial Revolution was well done. The forging of the Olympic rings worked really well too.

It was compulsive viewing, I simply had to stay up and watch it despite having to be out of the house by 5am Saturday.

Dave said...

James - yes, there was a great shot from above at one point where all the "grass" had disappeared and was replaced by industrial mess. I was speaking to someone who had the part of one of the nurses last night and she said that they did 100 hours of rehearsal and that Danny Boyle was at every single session.

Sciurus Carolinensis Nemesis said...

Isembard Kingdom Brunel's speech in the opening ceremony (performed by Kenneth Branagh) was from Shakespear's 'The Tempest'

Dave said...

SCiURUS - I saw that yesterday in the Standard, so you beat me to it. I am not familiar with the Tempest and assumed it was something Brunel had said! By the way, ht rumour that Solly will be sold shortly which may account for the Boardroom resignations. If so, I think we pear to be operating on very limited cash-flow which will be an ongoing concern about the viability of the club.

Dave said...

SCiURUS - I saw that yesterday in the Standard, so you beat me to it. I am not familiar with the Tempest and assumed it was something Brunel had said! By the way, ht rumour that Solly will be sold shortly which may account for the Boardroom resignations. If so, I think we pear to be operating on very limited cash-flow which will be an ongoing concern about the viability of the club.