Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Closing Ceremony

Let the, er, Ceremony begin....

Olympic ceremonies are known for a number of traditional elements. They have to be garish, cacophonous, feature lots of parochial and patriotic symbols of the host city and country, use as many performers as humanly possible, and include bad music. There must also be surprise(s), and fire.

The London 2012 Opening Ceremony ticked all the boxes - its content was so successfully local that there are parts of it that the rest of the world will never figure out. The Closing Ceremony was a little clearer: we had the London Eye, Battersea Power Station, Big Ben, St Paul's, London buses, black cabs...yep, and really bad music. Well, some of the performers, such as John Lennon and Freddie Mercury, are dead, so perhaps that can be forgiven. Others were, I thought, dead, but apparently The Who still lives. The Spice Girls reunited (again) for the occasion, jiggling in evening dresses on top of black cabs being driven around the arena.

Evening falls, anticipation rises...

The ground of the Olympic Stadium was a covered, not in athletes (they came in later in reduced numbers - many gone home already, I guess), but in a great spread-out Union Jack. The sun rose over London, an actor dressed like Winston Churchill (let's not forget he was half-American -- sorry, I couldn't resist) popped out of the top of Big Ben. I think he read something from 'The Tempest' again, but I'm not sure, because stadium sound quality is a difficult thing for all concerned.

The athletes (or what's left of them) join us.

Actually, although all of the above is true, I will confess to enjoying myself. If we skim lightly over that rapper person, and the girl in the bad body suit, and the weird sequence with the inflatable octopus (what was that about?)... Eric Idle sang "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life", which is always good. Small children in white joined the deceased Mr Lennon to sing "Imagine", which was, if nothing else, appropriate for the Olympic Games. And - highlight of the night, folks! - the Stomp guys and gals battered and, well, stomped, through the London icons with not only precision timing but also a great deal of panache AND acrobatics. And through my binoculars I think I spied the charming Mr Dan from the gym! Stomping with the best of them, his feet in boots attached to a couple of 40 gallon drums. Don't try that at home.

I liked the straightforward London imagery. I liked the dousing of the flame (accompanied by a chorus of "awww" from 80,000 throats. I liked my seat close to Mayor Boris determinedly waving the Olympic flag one more time before he handed it on to the Mayor of Rio de Janeiro. In fact, in summary, I liked the 2012 Games. It was a privilege to be there.

Awww...sad to see it go.

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