This is written based on my thoughts last night and pulled together in the shower this morning.
I don't usually watch opening or closing ceremonies (certainly not all the way through) as I don't really see the point of them *g* They are too long and too full of razzmatazz. And as I said to both plutos_revenge and caffyolay I was going to watch some of this because it's being held in our country, but I wouldn't see all of it. Amazingly in the end I switched my bedroom TV off just as Sue Barker & Michael Johnson began to dissect the ceremony.
However, I came very close to turning off after the first fifteen minutes - I shall explain shortly. Now the one thing the rest of the world seems agreed on is that Britain know how to do pageants and put on a darn good show, so I had relatively high expectations it would be sleek, well put together, classical even. Oh, how wrong I was.
The reason I nearly turned off after the first fifteen minutes is the cringe worthy level of what I was watching. I honestly could not believe that we would put on something so crass and awful (and yes, I do understand fully what they were trying to portray - although apparently it was terribly British so a lot of non-Brits may not have got it; that was the one bit I heard between SB and MJ before I turned off. To be honest I hadn't thought about people not 'getting' it, so . . .).
After fifteen minutes it was like watching a train-wreck in slow motion, I didn't want to watch it, but I wanted to see if it could get any more dreadful and cringe worthy.
It wasn't all bad; there were some good points:
- I loved how the forged Olympic rings rose and came together to form the Olympic symbol - this was really stunning.
- I liked the Corgis *g*
- I liked Her Majesty's sense of humour to allow the 'fake' helicopter drop.
- I really liked the combined hearing and deaf choir as they sang the National Anthem (that brought a lump to my throat).
- Rowan Atkinson was amusing.
And that, I'm afraid was all I liked pre-parade.
And so onto the athletes parade - something I have never watched all the way through. Now that was actually enjoyable; it was kept to a good pace and it was lovely to see how happy and excited those taking part were; to see them taking photos with their phones or cameras whilst they were having photos taken. After all that is what the Olympics is about: the spirit of competition. Given how delighted they all looked it made me wish that the opening ceremony happened and then there was a whole day off before the games started so more athletes could attend.
It was fascinating to see the outfits of the countries, some (those whose flags were being carried by tennis players) I'd seen before, but most were new to me. Most that I'd seen and grimaced over looked much better on; the US outfit was lovely; I admit to a wee bit (okay more than a wee bit) of sadness when Spain appeared as it should have been Rafa carrying the flag, but injury meant he couldn't compete. Team GB's outfit, I have to say was utterly hideous - had they left half of it behind?
I liked how we had countries with a couple of people competing and countries with hundreds - and one thing I thought was really excellent was that it was the first games that all countries competing had female athletes as well as male. It was about three or four countries who hitherto had only had men competing now had women or a woman.
And so on to the bit afterwards and the lighting of the flame inside the stadium. There had been much speculation as to who would do the final honour and Sir Steve Redgrave had led the betting until the night before when it had turned to Sir Roger Bannister - kudos to the committee for fooling everyone.
The arrangement of brass/copper pots which had been carried by one of the two people who flanked each flag bearer was stupendous and the way the flame took and it all came together really was tremendously spectacular, a joy to watch, classy and innovative - if only the rest of the ceremony could have been as sleek and classy and completely non-crass as this.
A few wee parting random thoughts:
-You'd have thought that after seven years of preparation Sir Sebastian Coe could actually have learnt his speech and wouldn't have had to keep referring to it every second of two *g*
- I don't particularly like David Beckham, but I felt very sorry for him that after all the hard work he has put into the games he was left out of the football squad.
- Sir Paul McCartney's voice isn't what it once was.
- The array of all participating countries flags looked wonderful.
- It was lovely to see Her Majesty, the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Charles, the Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry there and enjoying themselves (well it has to be said Her Majesty did look a tad bored at times).
- I miss Rafa :-(
And to sum up: am I glad I watched it? Amazingly, given the cringe worthiness of the hour and a quarter before the parade, I am. I did enjoy it in spite of everything. Will I watch the closing ceremony? Probably on the grounds surely it can't be any 'worse'.