Olympics Opening Ceremony – well done to everyone behind the scenes

So what did you think of the Olympic opening ceremony then?

I loved it - almost all of it. And what a feat of planning, logistics and – yes! – supply chain management it was, as well as a creative triumph. Imagine having to source all those costumes, the wings for the people on bicycles, hospital beds, huge Voldemort puppets, a dirty great big bell, sheep and geese..

Really, and seriously,  many congratulations for everyone who worked on it, including LOCOG and other procurement teams involved.

So what were the highlights? Purely personal views of course. Rowan Atkinson was just brilliant – coming after all the emotion and grandeur, that was so unexpected and so funny. The music – as we said in our Music Review here at the weekend – just showed what amazing artists we’ve produced in the UK over the last 50 years. And I thought the Arctic Monkeys, Dizzie Rascal and Emeli Sande were all absolutely superb. I found the dance (life and death or whatever was going on) while Sande sang Abide With Me very moving, and I loved the whole childrens’ dream sequence with Mary Poppins, the Child Catcher, Voldemort and his helpers – genuinely quite dark at times, which was brave.

I had a feeling that it wouldn’t be a major figure lighting the flame – but I was sure if it was, it would be Redgrave. (Five gold medals at five different Games is actually unique, and doing that in what is basically a young person’s sport too makes it arguably the greatest sporting feat ever. We sometimes forget that).

So I thought the whole Beckham / Redgrave / seven youngsters thing was a great idea, and the actual physical cauldron was pure engineering, design and artistic genius. Take a bow Thomas Heatherwick, and I admit to a slight misting up at that point...

Any negatives? There was so much going on at times, it was confusing, and I suspect that was true  whether you were there or watching on the TV. And I did at times wonder what on earth our friends in Tennessee, Munich and Jakarta were making of some of the references. And – it pains me to say this – but let’s stop using Paul McCartney at these big occasions. Genius and all that, but he can’t sing well enough live now to pull it off. The backing track getting out of synch with the live feed was the one embarrassing moment of the evening, and it wasn’t much better even when that  was sorted. Frankly, the Arctic Monkeys were 100% better.

And on another musical note, amongst all the well known tracks there was a brilliant song that I had never heard before, played when Beckham was on the boat. Thanks to Google I have discovered that it’s  I Heard Wonders by David Holmes. That was a new one to me, so thanks to Sir Danny Boyle for introducing me to a new artist, as well as for an amazing event!

PS My wife and daughter met at Kings Cross St Pancras on Saturday and went out for lunch then to the ballet. "London was quieter than a usual Saturday, the restaurant we went to was deserted, but the Police and the Olympic / Transport for London helpers were all lovely,even though they had nothing to do" was their analysis! We continue to wonder just what the economic effect of the Games is going to be?

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Voices (2)

  1. Paul Wright:

    Was it me or was Alex Turner dressed as the Hamburg John Lennon?
    Great show. But it should have ended after “the End”.

  2. David Atkinson:

    I’m always sceptical of anything the media tells me I should wave a flag/force a smile/get behing our boys for type of thing, so I was wasn’t expecting to be entertained by the opening ceremony. However, it was better than I expected and the Industrial Revolution/Brunel/ring casting sequence was as excellent as it could be.

    The following song and dance ‘pony show’ was dull and bewildering to this TV watching punter. It all seems so aimless and trying too hard to be ‘edgy’.

    I completely agree with your assessment, Peter, of Paul McCartney. I’m afraid we’ll have to wait the great and good amongst politics/media/LOCOG whose formative years were in the 60s to die off and let an artist from a later period to be allowed to shine. Don’t get me wrong, I like McCartney, and some of his more recent albums are well worth a listen but the poor bugg** isn’t allowed to sing songs from them; the organisers always want some hymn to their youth.

    So, a decent start to the Games, but….oh….those empty seats…..

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