Saturday, 28 July 2012

London 2012 Olympics: So was that opening ceremony one of the best tv shows ever? YES IT WAS

If, like tv-ooh, you were one of the estimated 27 million UK viewers watching the Olympic opening ceremony, many with a large drink in hand and a slack-jawed gape of the face, no doubt you would have MARVELLED at the befuddling spectacle of it all.

You may have also felt, in turn, BEMUSEMENT at the dirty-faced miners trudging into the stadium only to launch into some surprising and synchronised kung-fu style choreography - we never knew miners had such funk - before six chimneys emerged, dramatically, from the ground to the beat of a progressively rousing soundtrack, while other volunteers - munchkins? - rolled up huge sections of turf, like gardeners with a fetish for attention-seeking, and then we think a house appeared in the middle of the stadium and faces of people were projected onto it.

We remember only snatches of it - like a muddled clips show of the mind, or like trying to recall a drunken night out - such was the magnitude of it all.

Yeah, so there was the MARVELLING and the BEMUSEMENT and the MAGNITUDE but also the WONDERMENT too, even if much of it was INCOMPREHENSIBLE, and, as the night wore on, and everyone relaxed into it, Trevor Nelson's commentary became increasingly redundant.

Tip for next time Trev: stick to the facts, rather than, say, criticising the drums for not being 'real'.

But that doesn't matter; the ceremony might have felt all over the place at times, but then YOU try condensing the entire history of modern Britain - without mentioning the Empire bit - into 90 minutes using several thousand hyped-up volunteers in unitards and a complete set of Now albums.

It's no mean feat.
'Several thousand hyped-up volunteers in unitards'
Obviously, there are those who didn't enjoy it - but pay them no heed, because it was, in short, a spectacle - and the mix of live footage with pre-recorded, used to help 'sell' some of the set piece scenes - like David Beckham's boat journey down the Thames, or the text-messaging dating dance around that house we just mentioned - was almost seamless, even if it's the epitome of a vision mixer's nervous breakdown right there.

And how much sense the whole thing made to the live audience who were in the stadium is another matter.

For the tv viewers, where we had a shouty director calling the shots, we were able to follow the main action close up - right up Dizzie Rascal's nostrils we were, figuratively speaking of course - but there also must have been a hundred other things happening at the same time too. We just can't know - at least not without having a bank of monitors to watch. And we wouldn't have coped with that, frankly.

But so many highlights: the slow formation of the Olympic rings made out of hot metal; the strange grassy mound; countries we've never heard of; the carrying of the flag; the lighting of the cauldron, made up of a kind of torch carried by each country taking part; Rowan Atkinson's Mr Bean; the odd but appropriate appearance of the Artic Monkeys; the inevitable turn from McCartney at the end; Prince William looking bored or the Queen picking her fingernail: so many, many highlights; so many bits that we keep on remembering and many we've probably overlooked.

But best of all - absolutely best of all - was the Her Majesty and James Bond.


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