Marcus Brigstocke couldn’t quite understand why there are so many countries represented in the Olympics. He assumes that some of the countries are made up. I too kept saying “where’s that?” as the athletes paraded. My favourite was Micronesia, which, if I remember correctly, is next to Amnesia, and next to its far larger neighbour Magnesia (famed for its milk and antacid industry). @marcusbrig has suggested other countries that could have been taking part, including Neverland, Narnia and the Land of Nod. Personally I don’t ever see Legoland being able to put together an opening ceremony like the one we saw on Friday, but I do look forward to the opening ceremony in Oz.
Ai Weiwei’s contrast in the Guardian between the Beijing and London Olympic ceremonies is telling. For me, the Opening Ceremony rang true. Aidan Burley MP’s tweet apart (he wrote: “Thank God the athletes have arrived! Now we can move on from leftie multi-cultural crap. Bring back red arrows, Shakespeare and the Stones!”) the Opening Ceremony has been praised from all quarters. Danny Boyle held up a mirror to the world representing his reading of this “green and pleasant (ironic) land”. People liked what they saw in the mirror, and us Brits said “yes, this is us”. We recognise how the industrial revolution ripped our landscape and communities apart, and we recognised the values which have made for modern Britain. These values of care, generosity and hospitality are not exclusively British, and they are contested values in Britain, but care, generosity and hospitality were celebrated as the building blocks of community. It was good to see the parade of achievements (music, film, comedy) alongside the parade of sporting talent, and to see the national treasure of the NHS polished to the wonderful accompaniment of Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells and In Dulce Jubilo.
So many highlights rang my bells. Besides the NHS scenes there was the ringing of the bell, the music, Rowan Atkinson, the drumming (particularly Evelyn Glennie), the Industrial Revolution, the silence, Abide with me, the cast of volunteers and ordinary people, the inclusion of the construction workers and the marvellous lighting of the cauldron designed by Thomas Heatherwick.
Michael Sadgrove has posted his reflections on the Opening Ceremony. He highlights the spirituality of the Opening Ceremony. For Edward Green the Opening ceremony is a sign of the shape of the church to come.
The photo is from powderphotography