Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Wrong About the Olympic Games

It turns out that I was 100% wrong about the Olympic Games, which drew to a close on Sunday.

The opening ceremony was a wonderfully conceived and executed piece of pomp and theatre, with some genuine humour (not forced!) and full of quirky details and charm. Film director Danny Boyle deserves nothing less than a knighthood for his brilliant work on the ceremony, which was even more impressive by being performed by amateurs (mainly) and also had to be chopped a bit to fit into the time scale.

It was so good you wondered what had actually been cut out and whether we missed something wonderful as a result. No matter, there was enough remaining to give a comprehensive picture of Britain transformed first by the industrial revolution, and then the de-industrialisation that continues to this day. It was the first ceremony I've ever seen that celebrated Britain in a confident, inspiring, yet thoroughly modern way. It was the more impressive that Boyle managed to achieve this without a single reference to Winston Churchill, The Battle of Britain, or the Empire.

Terrific stuff. What a shame we so often celebrate the 'pieces' of the United Kingdom, England, Wales, Scotland and the now forgotten and ignored Northern Ireland, and so seldom praise the real deal - Great Britain. It was so uplifting to be reminded that the people of Great Britain are actually multi-talented and have been so for centuries. I loved it.