Saturday, July 28, 2012

And so it begins......

I don't know about you out there, but I cannot cope with staying up till after 2am two nights in a week. Just call me your friendly zombie today. 

Oh, London, you outdid yourself at the opening ceremony. It was spectacular. Quirky. Humorous. Fun. Relaxed. And oh, so very British. 
Go, Team GB!!! 

You know, we British (and yes I am totally British by descent as well as by a piece of paper) are experts at poking fun at ourselves, as well as being very inclusive, and that was why the ceremony worked. Rowan Atkinson had me rolling about with laughter. The tissue.... 

Unlike the normal opening ceremonies, there were no stars really. (They could have left Sir Paul out to pasture somewhere far away. In fact, I may make the suggestion that all aged rock stars should retire gracefully and let the younger outstanding ones take the stage. Robby Williams would have been superb.)  
Just one huge party of ordinary people, including real doctors and nurses acting out the incredible history of Great Britain for an audience who may not be aware of the richness and depth of all those centuries on this small island. I live in the middle of all that history - the church in this village has a tower which is well over 1000 years old. Every town and village lost countless men during the wars fought around the globe. You should be here for the Remembrance Day service. Each year they read out the names of the fallen, and when you think of the size of the place, the names go on and on and on and on, and so many with the same name. Brothers, sons, fathers, cousins. All wiped out. 

So much more could have been added to the story last night. This is London welcoming the world with joy and celebration, saying this is who we are and where we come from, and you are all very welcome here. Good grief, it would have been really simple to get in the marching bands and soldiers and all the pomp and ceremony bits, but you saw all that in the Jubilee celebrations. This is a big year here in Britain. 

Did you know the internet was invented by a British man? There he was. "This is for everyone."
And the tribute by Jacques Rogge was well deserved. Modern sport owes a great deal to Britain, which was the first to include sport in education, and it is the British fair play ideal from way back when which was used to formulate the modern Olympics. I did not know any of this - fascinating. 
It was all about ordinary volunteers taking part and effectively being the stars of the night, and this was made even more real with the decision to pass the baton(s) to the coming generation to light the flame. Old to the new. And who needs stars anyway. Everyone mattered. Real construction workers who had built the Olympic Park lined the tunnel as Sir Steve ran in with the flame. 
The people carrying the country names wore dresses imprinted with faces of everyone who volunteered to work for the Olympics. Ordinary people. Like you and me. And those drummers kept up the beat for hours. I loved the fact that all shapes, sizes, colours, able and disabled, all ages - they all had a part to play. This is who we are here, you see. 
And that flame was absolutely superb. I had no idea what those horn thingies were - the ones being carried in as each country entered the stadium. Then they all fitted onto that immense flower which lifted its head as the flames spread. Symbolising all of us, all over the globe, coming together. 
Oh yes. You see, I have read a great many things written in the past 24 hours and some surprise me, and some amuse me. And some have me totally perplexed. Just as well I believe in the freedom of speech.

And so the games begin, and those smiles on everyone's faces last night - the pride of the athletes and the excitement and the joy - they are what matter. 

It was better than good. 

PS All the images are photos I took of the TV during the BBC broadcast last night.  


Stripeyspots said...

I loved seeing Sir Steve Redgrave, and I really loved Rowan Atkinson. I felt like there could have been a bit more of history prior to the Industrial Revolution, but I'm biased. I like the children's literature tribute but missed Enid Blyton and CS Lewis and Tolkien. And they included Shakespeare (love Branagh so much) but what about Dickens? The problem is there's so much that I suppose it's hard to choose, but I would have loved to have seen more of that. Fireworks were jaw dropping!

Vee said...

Well, as you know by now, I was mostly confused. Appreciating the celebration must require having more British blood than I do. I'm very happy, though, that the country is pleased with the celebration. That is the more important point. (I also think that listening to your broadcasters, instead of my own, might have helped considerably.)

Becky said...

We thoroughly enjoyed the ceremonies and we we also understood how British it was. It was very good.

Gillie said...

Yes, wish Dickens could have been mentioned but YES, it was us, quirks and all and loved the cauldron, goodnight and good bye, Sir Paul, enough is enough!

Needled Mom said...

It has been a fabulous two weeks and I hate to see it all come to an end. You must be busy watching them. I'm missing your posts.

Susan said...

Hello, I've missed you in the blog world. Hope all is well. God bless!

Sherry said...

I miss you.

MotherT said...

I'm getting a little concerned. You haven't posted since 28 July. Are you well?