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HUG-1
28-07-2012, 09:34 AM
"... breathtaking and bonkers ..." .... "... a masterpiece and not a ceremony ..."

Welcome to London! Welcome to the only city to have hosted the games three times. Welcome to modern Britain! In these challenging economic times, Britain had something to prove for the money invested in hosting the games. And world opinion gave us the thumbs up. We all hope that you enjoyed the opening ceremony, in whih we tried to give a flavour of the diversity of post-industrial Britain. Some media quotes ....

Yahoo Eurosport (http://uk.eurosport.yahoo.com/news/eyes-london-spectacular-games-opening-000641924.html) and also here (http://uk.eurosport.yahoo.com/blogs/armchair-pundit/masterpiece-not-ceremony-020036474.html)


The quintessentially British flavour to the ceremony, accompanied by a stunning soundtrack of hits from Elgar to U2, caused plenty of confusion among international journalists struggling to describe it to readers back home.

"It couldn't get any more British if it came drenched in tea," quipped the Hollywood Reporter movie magazine.

"It really played to what Britain does best," said Sarah Clarke, a visitor from South Africa, as she left the stadium after the show. "It was a British ceremony but absolutely we felt included."

The ceremony, inspired by Shakespeare's "The Tempest", began with Britain's first Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins ringing a giant 23-tonne Olympic bell. Played out before world leaders, European royalty and dignitaries including US First Lady Michelle Obama, the show switched to the playful recreation of an English rural idyll with grassy meadows, fences, a water mill and maypoles.

A cast including shepherdesses, sheep, geese, dogs and a village cricket team filled the stage during the one-hour prologue to the show that included a dramatic, low-level fly-past by the jets of the Royal Air Force's Red Arrows stunt team.

After "England's green and pleasant land" came the "dark Satanic mills" of William Blake's famous poem.

The Telegraph newspaper (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/olympics/london-2012/9434319/London-2012-What-the-world-thought-of-the-opening-ceremony.html) said



US media coverage hailed the British eccentricity of the opening ceremony, praised the humour, puzzled over some in-jokes and mused on what it all said about the country’s search for a post-imperial identity. The New York Times headlined its review: “A Five-Ring Opening Circus, Weirdly and Unabashedly British”.

Sarah Lyall, the newspaper’s London correspondent, wrote: ”With its hilariously quirky Olympic opening ceremony, a wild jumble of the celebratory and the fanciful; the conventional and the eccentric; and the frankly off-the-wall, Britain presented itself to the world Friday night as something it has often struggled to express even to itself: a nation secure in its own post-empire identity, whatever that actually is.

“It was neither a nostalgic sweep through the past nor a bold vision of a brave new future. Rather, it was a sometimes slightly insane portrait of a country that has changed almost beyond measure since the last time it hosted the Games, in the grim postwar summer of 1948.”

Overview here (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/olympics/news/9433818/London-2012-breathtaking-brash-and-bonkers...an-utterly-British-Olympic-opening-ceremony.html). We hope you enjoyed the meeting between the entirely fictional James Bond and Her Majesty The Queen!

Double D
28-07-2012, 12:46 PM
Quite the spectacle indeed ! Amazing on many levels, and much for the eye to absorb. Although the impromptu "rave sequence" was a bit of a "what the ..... ??" moment. But the fictional sequence with Daniel Craig and Her Maj hoping out of a plane was just brilliant ! I'm sure even she was enjoying the relaxation of protocols enough to get to this point, where a bit of "tongue in cheek" for sport and country is completely and wonderfully acceptable. GAME ON !

Kumar Kane
28-07-2012, 01:40 PM
Great fun with a brilliant finish. I had the same thought I did when I saw Cats the first time - only the Brits can do something like this so well. I don't think I saw any reference to Andrew Lloyd Weber in the retrospective - or did I miss noticing it?

EricW
28-07-2012, 03:55 PM
I agree - the whole thing was amazingly good, not just because it was a great spectacle but also because it seemed so quintessentially British, proud and confident and yet understated and funny at the same time.

The sequence with Daniel Craig as Bond and HM the Queen was particularly brilliant. And a musical/dance number about the National Health Service? Where else? Well done!

kittykat
29-07-2012, 03:30 AM
It was classy, stylish and beautifully executed. We have a network here which broadcast the highlights of the opening in 3D. Some of the event highlights are also being shown in 3D. Very impressive.

HUG-1
29-07-2012, 06:29 PM
I agree - the whole thing was amazingly good, not just because it was a great spectacle but also because it seemed so quintessentially British, proud and confident and yet understated and funny at the same time.

The sequence with Daniel Craig as Bond and HM the Queen was particularly brilliant. And a musical/dance number about the National Health Service? Where else? Well done!Follow-up here (http://uk.eurosport.yahoo.com/blogs/londonspy/mr-bond-did-think-funny-141033266.html).

" ... It capped off a successful year for The Queen who in June marked 60 years on the throne with a weekend extravaganza that saw millions of flag waving Britons take to the streets to show their affection and appreciation for a monarch more normally renowned for her stately dignity."

A.S.
11-09-2012, 01:35 PM
Well, finally the summer of sport is over. What an amazingly positive, indeed transformative, experience it's been for all of us in the UK.

I had some Chinese friends here recently, the wife has been teaching Chinese in the UK for a year and seen the lead-up to the Olympics. She was very surprised when I said that, setting aside the astonishing athletic achievements we've seen from UK athletes, the effect on the national psyche - particularly restoring our national self-belief that has been steadily eroded since WW2 - has been remarkable. It has touched every single person here. As a foreigner here she didn't sense the change. So, to prove the point as we sat enjoying fruit scones (what else!) in the tea room at Hever Castle (http://www.hevercastle.co.uk/), I called over to our table three student waiters and asked them, unrehearsed, how they felt as fellow countrymen post-Olympics compared with before. All said that their sense of national identity and pride had soared. They all said they were (now) 'proud to be British' (something rarely heard these days). One said that beforehand he'd never have been seen holding, waving or anywhere near a Union flag as it was 'seriously un-cool' but now he had 'surprised himself that he'd put up a flag on his bedroom window'.

You cannot underestimate the positive influence these Olympics have had on us as a nation. We've been running ourselves down - thanks to the gutter press - for two generations. Now we've surprised ourselves - and it's been a very nice surprise - that surprise, surprise we can take on massive infrastructure projects (of comparable complexity to that our Victorian forefathers undertook with unbounded self-confidence) and make a huge, unequivocal, success of them, on time, on budget to a great standard. We can do it. We have done it. We are still capable of doing it. Not just as individuals doing our little bit but collectively, as a nation. We are still, in our own British, mongrel, quirky, unique, self-effacing and humorous way 'great' as in Great Britain despite the previous madcap government deliberately expunging the words 'Great Britain' and substituting United Kingdom in all official communications including, and especially, the BBC.

Rightly, the British athletic contingent at the games were known as 'Team GB' and I believe that, as just one small component element, that set the scene for success. We have so much to be proud of in modern multi-cultural Britain; so much that we take for granted. All this mind-reversal achieved for a mere GBP 9 billion or so, 70% of which is physical infrastructure which will last for generations.

Well done British Government for making the financial and human investment at a difficult economic time. Well done 70,000 happy, fulfilled volunteers who selected from the 200,000+ who offered to give up their time for free to help the rest of us navigate around in safety (and many say were the real stars of the show). Well done athletes, organisers, technicians, police and emergency services. Well done Britain - you've put us back on the map again. As so many disabled athletes reminded us, when we put or collective great British minds and wills together, even if we are missing limbs and at other disadvantages, we are truly a force of happy, modern, outgoing, at-ease, demonstrative, co-operative, socially conscious, balanced and friendly folk to be reckoned with - still.


Video: Much loved London Mayor Boris Johnson and his closing speech "when we put or minds to it" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BsKA1kx02cc) - bravo Boris!


We are the Great British. We care about our neighbours, our society our environment. At long last, we are proud to admit to that in the company of complete strangers. There is far, far more that binds us than separates us.

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Some press cuttings:

Boris Johnson, London Mayor and "final tear sodden juddering climax" to a summer of sport (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/olympics/news/9533902/Olympics-2012-Parade-athletes-brought-this-country-together-says-Boris-Johnson.html)

Crowds gather for final parade (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/olympics/picturegalleries/9533359/Crowds-gather-for-the-Olympic-and-Paralympic-Athletes-Parade.html?frame=2334676)

A heart wrenching end (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/olympics/olympicsvideo/9533211/Victory-Parade-London-2012-coming-to-an-end-is-heart-wrenching-says-Greg-Rutherford.html)

Athletes parade (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/olympics/9532817/Olympic-and-Paralympic-Athletes-Parade-live.html)

One last hurrah (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/olympics/news/9534440/Olympics-2012-parade-One-last-hurrah-and-then-like-the-summer-it-was-all-over-too-soon.html)

The 'games makers' volunteers (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-19546763) and also here (http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2012/sep/10/london-2012-olympic-games-makers)

The impact on volunteering after the games (http://www.guardian.co.uk/voluntary-sector-network/2012/aug/28/olympic-volunteering-enduring-impact)

weaver
13-09-2012, 09:19 AM
Well, finally the summer of sport is over. What an amazingly positive, indeed transformative, experience it's been for all of us in the UK.



Don't forget the cycling Tour of Britain - the largest free to spectate sporting event in the country - which is in it's last few days.

Currently leading is Mark Cavendish - who was (in the press at least) expected to take the first GB gold of the games in the road race.

Also riding on the same team Bradley Wiggins - Olympic time trial gold medal winner and winner of this years Tour de France.

As an opportunity to see Olympic athletes in action all over the country no other event comes close; Saturday's stage comes past my house and then follows the route I cycle to work for it's last ten miles.

The final stage on Sunday gets to within 20 miles or so of Harbeth HQ!