July 30, 2012

WHAT DID YOU THINK OF IT ?

a olympic spectacle1

We watched the opening ceremony back to front – we were out on Friday evening and came home as the second half of the athletes were parading into the arena.  So last night we caught up by watching the first half on BBC i-player.

an olympic spectacle 6I thought the bit about the transformation of England from a green and pleasant land to industrial bedlam was the best bit of the whole ceremony.

an olympic spectacle 5 The arrogance and smugness of the giants of the industrial revolution who made fortunes from the sweat and toil of the workers came across very well I think.

an olympic spectacle 2 I didn’t quite understand what Rowan Atkinson was doing there but he was very funny. 

an olympic spectacle 3 I just loved the bit with the Queen and James Bond – what a star she is to agree to taking part in such nonsense……and as for the corgis ……marvellous !!

an olympic spectacle 3a Some of the bits were hard to fathom and if it hadn’t been for the commentators on the TV explaining the meaning I would never have known what it was all about.  But it was great entertainment.

The thing that impressed me was how technically brilliant it all was, and how it went without a hitch.  The potential for calamity with all those people involved must be huge, but it looked perfect to me.

I was also enormously impressed by the professionalism of all those who took part.  Every time you saw a close-up of the performers they were putting their hearts and souls into it.

an olympic spectacle 4 I thought the lighting of the cauldron was inspirational and quite moving.

There were bits that went on too long and that I didn’t see the point of, such as the pop music and dancing section, and I also found the part about the NHS rather odd but the Mary Poppins bit was lovely !!

I have never watched any previous opening ceremonies so I have nothing to compare it with.  You can debate endlessly whether or not we should have spent so much money (although I have no idea how much) on such a spectacle – or even hosted the games at all – when we are in recession – double dip, no less.  But for me I think it was a job well done and I enjoyed it.

34 comments:

  1. it took me a while to understand just why Danny Boyle did what he did....
    and I liked the way that the whole thing reflected what we Brits are!
    we are parochial and self effacing and the humour in the event as well as the celebration of what "ordinary people" hold dear ( nhs/literature,hisotry, the internet/family)was inspired...
    I loved the Mary Poppins bit as well as the Industrial revolution
    well done that man

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    1. John, he certainly did his best to leave nothing out !!

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  2. Rowan Atkinson was there because he (or rather Mr Bean) is an international superstar. French kids learn English using Mr Bean cartoons for instance and everyone all over the world with a television will know who he is and think he is hilarious.

    I didn't watch very much of it. Simon showed me the bit with the Queen in later on YouTube. Excellent fun. I especially liked the corgi soundtrack in the background whenever they had to run. I think Danny Boyle might be a very clever man.

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    1. Susan, I find some of the Mr Bean sketches make me cringe and I can't watch them, but this was very funny.

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  3. We saw the second half but only snippets of the first bit. We are waiting to view a dvd that a friend had recorded - iplayer not being available to us at the moment. Everything I've seen I've enjoyed, and the cost will be but a drop in the ocean compared to what has been squandered or the collective bonus pot of those who got us into this mess!

    What I've seen I recognise as part of where I've come from, even if the journey might have been a little obscure at times and possibly quite baffling to the rest of the world.

    No matter, it was certainly a spectacle and I for one am happy to pay towards the cost via tax etc.

    I wonder what delights the closing ceremony will have in store?

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    1. Gaynor, not forgetting the collective cost to the country of benefit fraud, tax evasion by the rich and famous, money squandered in the mismanagement of the NHS and the constant reorganising of the Education system, all of which probably adds up to an awful lot more.

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  4. I only learn't this weekend in Queensland that Mary Poppins was written by Australian born novelist PL Travers (Helen Goff} was born in Maryborough QLD.
    I didn't know this until and elderly cyclist mentioned to me on Saturday so after I read your post, I thought I should check out his story.
    Leon

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    1. Leon, that makes the Mary Poppins story a multinational one then !!

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  5. I also had mixed feelings and was pretty much in agreement with your thoughtful assessment. As for "Mary Poppins": At least Julie Andrews was English!

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    1. Mitchell, more English than Dick Van Dyke with his terrible cockney accent !!

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  6. I missed the whole thing. We had our grandchildren with us.

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    1. Bear, I think your granchildren would have enjoyed it.

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  7. I saw only photos of the ceremony but so much looked familiar to me--I'm an anglophile from way back. I thought it was touching to show the things that Britain is proud of. Yes, I understand that your NHS has problems, but we in the US can only envy a national system of health care. Well done!

    Jean, I'm with you about Mr. Bean. I often think he's a little creepy.

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    1. Carolyn, I wonder if other nations would see it like that or if they thought it was just a wierd mish-mash of unrelated stuff.

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  8. We really enjoyed it very much. The Queen was a wonderful surprise. Mr. Bean was very funny and the transition from rural to industrial was just brilliantly done -- those golden rings rising into the night sky was just breath-taking. but for me the piece de resistance was the lighting of the torch -- so original and so in keeping with the Kingdom of special effects1

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    1. Broad, the lighting of the torch was amazing, just magical. And the rising of the golden rings was also fantastic. I did feel rather proud to be British at that point, that we had done something so spectacular so well.

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  9. Oh I loved it - totally bonkers, quirkily British - what DO the rest of the world make of Ambridge and The Shipping Forecast? -
    But when she sang Abide With Me in memory of the 7/7 bombing victims I wept.

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    1. Angela, I agree, it was a magical moment and very moving.

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  10. I missed it, alas, as we don't have TV here in France and the BBC isn't allowed to show live Olympic coverage online except to people in the UK (or, I presume using something ike ExpatShield, which hides your location) I gather that each country has exclusive broadcasting rights where the Olympics are concerned. Sigh....

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    1. Perpetua, that's a shame. I wonder if you know someone who has recorded it and could let you borrow the disc some time.

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  11. I really enjoyed it -- I wouldn't normally watch an Olympics opening ceremony, I only watched this one because it was Danny Boyle directing. Utterly bonkers, but I loved the way it celebrated the contribution of the little people to British history, instead of going for hackneyed pomp and circumstance. And the balance between wacky, serious, and just plain silly was beautifully handled.

    There was so much crammed into it -- I'd love to watch the music and film sequence again, to pick up the references I missed. And when Sir Tim Berners-Lee appeared ... I leapt to my feet and cheered! I just thought it was wonderful to celebrate this modest modern hero in such a public way.

    It's clear that quite a lot of non-Brits either hated it or just didn't get it. But that's OK. Something that pleased everyone would have been deadly dull.

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    1. Veronica, deadly dull really would have been a waste of time and money. It certainly wasn't that.

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  12. I think you have a really good take on it, I thought it was excellent, a lot of my USA Etsy customers have e-mailed me to congratulate me on it even though I had nothing to do with it :-) I only live here! But it made me proud, highlights for me were the olympic rings in your opening pic and the Queen herself appearing in the spoof, I was gobsmacked by that, convinced it was a look alike but it really was her :-) What a sport she is! At the end of the day, I think the money spent on the Olympics will repay us in an enhanced reputation (flag gaffes aside) and if it helps us stand out against other European countries in the Eurozone when it comes to investment and tourism, this can only be a good thing. Well done LOCOG!

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    1. Sue, I knew before I watched that it really was the Queen but when I saw it I still was amazed !!

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  13. It all made me British blood swell with pride; I may be 12 generations apart from Fitzhead England, but I remain a proud Englishman !

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    1. Spo, I am glad that you are proud of your English roots.

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  14. Being an hour later here I have to admit that we both went to bed halfway through, we could just not stay awake! I did enjoy it, but as I never lived in England much I was glad to have Nigel's knowledge to explain much of the history bit, he was far better than the commentators! I have watched a couple of other openings and I thought that this had a lot more meaning. Have a good week Diane

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    1. Diane, glad you enjoyed it, but it was rather late.

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  15. We enjoyed it! Watched it virtually to the end not something we normally do. Some of it was bonkers some of it very quirky; but there were loads of memorable bits to remember--many of which you mentioned :-) We also enjoyed 'the spot the music challenge' all the clips offered.

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    1. N&A, I agree, it was rather bonkers in places !!

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  16. I would have liked to see the opening ceremony, and have waited to see if it would be posted up on YouTube, but any postings are being blocked by the Olympic committee, or the BBC, one or the other, which is a shame. It looked quite a 'do'.

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    1. Vera, it's a shame you missed it. Many of our friends in France have UK TV, although I don't know how they get it. We don't have a TV in France at all and I don't miss it but maybe I would if we lived there all the time.

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  17. I was a little confused at the start, but soon got into the concept. So well put together and very different from other opening ceremonies. As people of the world do find us Brits quite eccentric at times, I though we gave them just what they needed.

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    1. Steve, I was surprised that an opening ceremony should be all about how wonderful the host country is - I don't quite know what I expected, but it was really well done.

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