I watched the eccentric Olympic opening on the television absolutely enthralled by Daniel Boyle’s subversive peoples portrayal rise of Britain, from the ritualistic fertility of the phalic maypole dance, to the power brick phallic chimneys ejaculating the industrial revolution. This epic kitchen sink musical narrates Britain’s ongoing metamorphosis, rather more socio-historical than jingoistic, summarising an explosive empire grown flaccid. Industrialists look on as the workforce knock out five Olympic rings which eventually converge into an breathtaking pyrotechnical golden shower of splendor. Meanwhile, an undercurrent political throb pulsates a different energy, a peoples gaining power. Suffragettes, the birth of the National Health Service (now battling a new disease: government cutbacks), immigration, childrens literature, all counterpointed with British humour, at its quirkiest. HRH The Queen plays a cameo of herself co-acting alongside Daniel Craig’s Mr Bond. Corgis rollover joyfully at the sight of Mr Bond, and who wouldn’t? I certainly would rollover joyfully at the sight of Daniel Craig. HRH The Queen’s mock entrance via a parachute jump, delights all. What a great sport. Hauntingly beautiful moments such as the hybridised dove bicycles captivated. From Elgar to punk, to grime, the music, another socio political narrative, drives the extraordinary spectacle forward. Finally, we are left staring at an humble suburban brick house, inside of which, a family conjoined, not necessarily in spirit, but most definitely conjoined by love, a love addiction for the world wide web thanks to web inventor, Sir Tim Berners-Lee.
Relentless, an up-beat beat drummed throughout the Olympian parade, its throb summed up the character of Britain today: seemingly determined, resilient, strong. I liked that. It felt good to feel positive. On a lighter note, Team Italy dressed in Armani, looked elegant, Team Mexico and Nigeria, striking. Team GB, looked more Jimmy Saville, than Saville Row. Perhaps Vivienne Westwood was busy?
Thomas Heatherwicks extraordinary copper stamens flower sculpture (not unlike copper urinals) once ablaze, unite to form the captivating cauldron of fire.
One could not shy away either from the symbology of Glastonbury’s tor, the forces of light against dark, fire, birth, re-birth, moon. Sebastian Coe would not have looked out of place on the Tor dressed as Merlin, afterall, the ceremony was magical, that is, until Sir Paul McCartney, freshly botoxed, wheezed out ‘Hey Jude.’ Still, as the British are keen on saying ‘mustn’t grumble.’ Yes, quite…I mustn’t grumble. Inspired, upbeat and proud, it is with gusto that I holller: Go Team GB, Good luck!