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Don't Get Me Started On: The Olympics
So the first impressions of the ceremony were as follows. A cheapshot clutch at straws to cram together as many irrelevant and unrecognisable icons of British culture, followed by a strictly politically correct reference to blood thirsty war-mongering and brash historical prime minister Winston Churchill, then drowned out by a naff and definitively distasteful appearance of Madness in a bizarre street party scene - barely comprehensible to us most avid of Brits, then finally making way for the neo-KKK on bikes, heralded by the pet shop boys, clad in horrifically crass leather bondage gear which may even be turned down by an alien just stepped out of a tacky, low budget 60s film.
Admittedly, Emile Sande's appearance was promising, with a set of lungs rival to the capacity of the Amazon rainforest, and a status as one of the most prevalent voices of modern British pop music, thus providing us with the concept of relevance, which seemed to be understood neither by organisers of either of this years ceremonies, or by the IOC. Unfortunately this relevance proved insufficient in hopeless and desperate isolation, among what to the rest of the world must have just been an embarrassing spectacle of disaster.
I was reluctant to watch, as the games themselves proved to be such an inspiring, exciting and dramatic 2 weeks of tantalising, edge of your seat, nail biting and tear jerking journey of a competitive yet unified sense of sportsmanship. I knew that the encroaching day of the closing ceremony threatened to pick up that notion of great sportsmanship, and send it hurtling towards the wall and shattered to a million pieces. Thankfully however the reappearance of the people who had kept me glued to the TV screen for 2 fateful weeks mitigated that threat, just as it began to encroach more prominently than I was comfortable with.
Elbow unfailingly pushed the event on with dirge after dirge of boring and dull songs. Well, I don't really think music comes into it. It'd be criminal not to mention how pretty it was to watch all of the countries come together in their array of colours atop the Union Flag Damien Hurst installation! however this pleasure was distorted and spoiled by the audio I was hearing. You would hope that for an extortionate £2012 to watch the event, you'd be provided with a mute button such as that on my TV. And such as was necessary for as long as elbow churned out their...sound...again, not sure if music comes into this. Playing 'Our House' twice, made my blood boil at a temperature much greater than 2 weeks of hearing Chariots of fire time in time out.
And recycling One Direction music is rival to the product of pouring a dustbinful of household waste in the recycling plant.
Overall I must admit that there was some artistic credit to the whole thing with a few nicely composed sequences, such as the construction of a large white pyramid accompanied by a subtle and dramatic arrangement of Kate Bush's 'Running Up That Hill'. Nonetheless, repeated use of traditional Indian drummers seemed a baffling feature in the middle of an event which from its conception was destined to be notoriously brimming with sickly sweet, and maple syrup thick national pride. Of Britain of course that is.
The medley of British music opened once again promisingly! With hugely impressive visual marvels and radiating glows of beautiful luminescent colours. The appearance of the deaf and hearing choir added an essential feel-good element too. John Lennon's face and music however proved to be a depressingly lifeless, and naff touch, especially since 55,000 of 80 couldn't probably see it for restricted viewing £700 and £400 tickets. At the opposite end of the scale, one could've paid £20.12 for the D tickets, which based on information above would have been no viewing?
And who the hell's George Michael? Well, according to my 62 year old grandfather even, he's a yesterday man! And to me presumably that makes him more of a yesteryear, or perhaps yester-century man. And presumably you can presume the place for 'yesterday' people...
By now, the Union Jack set is dire and boring, and has apparently, due to lighting, transformed into a neon blue block of cheese.
Annie Lennox aboard a skeleton of a burnt out ship, in precession abreast Henry VIII, Queen Christina, Vivienne Westwood, and Dracula, and drawn by corpses, half nude women and Madame la guillotine? I know exactly what you're thinking so just imagine for the rest of the world!
And you think that's bad, till you see Norman Cook (who I know personally is about 20 years out of date) erupt forth upon an oversized inflatable octopus. I must admit the blow was softened, as it was dispelled by the majestic serenade of homegrown, and successful talent Jessie J. As much as it was great to see Tinie Tempah in glorious duet too, I bet all the eyes from Uzbekistan and Saudi and Egypt and Qatar and such, were nothing more than dumbfounded. However with Taio Cruz added, creating a super-trio, there's definitely no room to complain about there not being anything modern to keep it nice and fresh. But then you have your eye almost poked out by the colossal inflatable sea monster, and admittedly that hope does diminish again slightly.
Hippy spice. Mumsy spice. Not so baby spice. Granny spice. Camp spice. I suppose they started before I was born, so the reception was a good turn out. Enough respect to them, though posh could barely move I thought, so firmly moulded in all that plastic.
With characters appearing without any unifying theme, or any unifying time period, organisation was apparently the last thing on these organisers' minds. That is second to relevance. I'm still not quite sure what was British about the Wright brothers, and how I arrived at them from WWII britain, to Jessie J, to the suffregetes, then Mawrycole. And more incoherently, by what vague stretch of the imagination, that paves a transition to Eric Idol, the romans, and then some traditional Indian dancers.
Fortunately the whole thing did simmer down to a fairly light hearted climax. Roger Taylor and Brian May in a trio act with Jessie J is hardly marketable as 'Queen'. Still - it made out for some mildly interesting guitar solo, and Jess seemed to enjoy herself, which is of course a kind of success itself. But even I enjoyed a bit of fun, clapping and singing the chorus to We Will Rock You. And it was an equally pleasant thought that they couldn't really bring on anyone bigger than that, so we weren't worried about the shrill and coarse screeches that Paul McCartney seems to bring to every national event going.
It is true that no one could REALLY top Take That, but I still retain the right to my opinion that they are somewhat resemblant of a pack of dying cats. For me that ruined potentially a tearful moment, when the cauldron disbanded, ready to be extinguished. The melodramatic build up was also dampened by the fact that it was running so overtime.
And then all was still, and all was silent, and I set my pen and paper aside, and assembled to watch the extinguishing of the flame. Each copper petal, a burning flame of hope for a nation of people, and felt a glimmer of pride to have seen them all burning as one in the blessed land of Great Britain. Yes, teary-eyed, I still feel obliged to conclude.
So indeed many questions arose in my living room corner to corner; some to marvel 'wow! How did they manage that?' or even to exclaim 'isn't that beautiful?!'. However unfortunately more prominent were demands of 'what the %*#! was that?!' and 'people pay to see this?!' and 'why am I watching this?!'. And I don't for one second doubt my nan's claim that in her words she could have come up with better on a monday morning after a heavy night on the p*** and other substances. So now it's dead and finally laying down - which after 2 hours we feared may never happen - we consider the prospects of Rio. Their presentation was an amazingly apt follow on from what we had to offer (not in a good way), and thus they have already achieved the first of those descriptions. Dead, but a long way from laying down.