Olympics opening ceremony

I am going to be one of the moaners. This was a most ghastly show. Contrived, silly, over-engineered and incoherent. Or was it? Despite the Queen sitting in the arena, John Lydon could be heard singing God Save the Queen and then cut off before “she ain’t no human being…fascist regime” – but Boyle got it in. We were treated to a little bit more of the Sex Pistols when Pretty Vacant was segued like one of those 80s chart topping medley hits, ‘Stars on 45’. Then there was a big kissing scene – some of which might not have gone down too well in some countries taking part. It was deliberate, was it not?

Those were the high points. What is to be made of the NHS scene with children being looked after by larger-than-life dancing nurses in 1930s uniforms and read stories by JK Rowling? In front of David Cameron, was that a warning to back off? The NHS is now immortalised in the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games. Now untouchable. Or was it folly and plain stupid?

Rowan Atkinson as unfunny Mr Bean distracting Simon Rattle from conducting the London Symphony Orchestra; Kenneth Branagh as Isambard Kingdom Brunel spouting Shakespeare; a forlorn Tim Berners-Lee and a desktop computer; Mike Oldfield, good grief; Mary Poppins; David Beckham as James Bond, etc. No sign of Richard Branson, Tony Blair. Very strange.


It is now Saturday and this ceremony still bothers me. I’ve had to find an antidote. I’m listening to the Manic Street Preachers and it is working.

I reflect on what Boyle was trying to do last night. The newspapers are full of glowing reports. It is clear with so many plaudits he has achieved only to vindicate further the organisers for the event. Boyle has effectively lanced the boil that is this event in the eyes of its critics. It turns out to have been a master stroke by Seb Coe and company to appoint Boyle as artistc director. He delivered the critics to their table.

And then there is the question the depiction of ‘our’ history and our acquiescence in the changes that lead inexorably to the innanities of love by losing a mobile phone! Rest assured, the linearity of Boyles depiction of us is not real. There is a lot of struggle in us.

I reflect that Cameron is not embarrassed over the NHS scene. He does not believe that he is dismantling the NHS.

It was sickening to see such a large role played by the armed forces, many of whom have been involved in conflicts that have killed and maimed the compartriots of athletes representing their country at the ceremony. Maybe that was British irony. It seemed to me at the very least insensitive.

It has been an awful summer of cod and ignorant patriotism.

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