On Friday night, along with a billion other people, I sat in front of the television to watch the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games. Having been billed as the greatest show on earth and following hot on the heels of China four years ago it had to be something special. After the fiasco of G4S and the Korean flag cock-up, what we were presented with was a potted history of British culture with some a celebration of art, literature, film and music. In short, we didn’t disappoint.
People scoffed when it was announced that Danny Boyle would be directing the opening ceremony. Why were they getting a film director in to do it? Why were they spending tens of millions? Well, last night the answer was revealed as 2,500 volunteers and dozens of more famous faces filled the stadium, all giving hundreds of hours of their time for free for which they deserve our thanks. Likewise the international reaction to the ceremony was also very positive although some people didn’t like some of the parts of the show.
Personally I thought there was a few too many children used in the show and the bit on the NHS didn’t do much for me, but then again it was never going to be everything everybody. I thought however that the James Bond video clip was nicely done and showed the queen’s sense of humour very well. The Mr. Bean clip on the other hand was potentially the funniest piece of TV I have seen this year!
An interesting addition was that of Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, ironically though, just as he appeared on screen, the internet connection I was using to comment on the show decided to die! The music was also well done, the Arctic Monkeys did a good job and Paul McCartney getting nearly 100,000 people singing along to Hey Jude was a great way to finish the show.
However, the people that I want to thank the most are the ones we didn’t get to see at the ceremony, or at any point over the past seven years, that is the people that turned the vision for Friday night into a reality. The engineers who had to turn the architects vision into a 80,000 seat stadium, the builders who had to bolt it all together, the people who designed the set for the opening show, who run the miles of cable needed to make it all work and the people that sat in the background, doing the sound, the lighting and the not insignificant task of bringing it all together and pumping it out to a billion people around the world.
All that we need now is lots of shiny gold medals for Team GB, and if their performances are as good as the opening ceremony, then we’re bound to do well.