Two parts beautiful, one part deranged


Danny Boyle directed the visually astonishing ‘Frankenstein’ at the National Theatre, so he’s used to stitching together a monster from lots of different parts.

Even so, the Olympic opening ceremony must have presented a challenge for him. The sublime highs – Isambard Kingdom Brunel directing the forging of the rings in a river of molten steel, the NHS, airborne fairy bikes, Mary Poppinses and World Wide Web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee – were joined to silliness – HRH parachuting, Mr Beany Hill – and generic naffness – virtually forgotten band the Arctic Monkeys, Hugh Grant, ‘young people’ dancing – to make a whole portrait of a country that felt oddly accurate.

What was missing? Dickens, Florence Nightingale, artists (Hooray! No Damien Hirst!) Madness (who did the Jubilee) and Monty Python, but event was busy and bonkers enough to confound sceptics, confuse Republicans and convince sports fans that it’ll be a great 17 days, climate-changed weather and all.

The LA Times attempted to figure out the message of it all; ‘It might be something like, “Sorry for the unintended consequences, but we did give you steam engines, great pop music and comedy and the roots of social networking. It was ugly there for a while, but we’re all right — and everybody dance now.”

An unexpected side effect of Friday’s gathering-of-the-world was the transformation of the visiting Mitt Romney into a figure of ridicule – good luck with the diplomacy tour, Mitt. You might want to be careful what you say to Israel, they’re really touchy.

I threw an Olympic party on my roof (we watched the Red Arrows roar overhead and heard the explosions bouncing in great booms around the neighbourhood). There’s still a lot of cake left if anybody wants it.

9 comments on “Two parts beautiful, one part deranged”

  1. Dan Terrell says:

    Enjoyed it a lot. Much much more than the last one, which was staggering in self-importance. I’d say the Queen is having a good year; good for her.

  2. Alan Morgan says:

    I was all ready to take the piss, but it was excellent. Lots of people have been mocking Macca and it was a bit flat – they should have ended it at the end before Macca; with Pinky Floyd and all the fireworks as happened. Someone could have gone round and kicked Gilmore, Waters, and Mason in the nuts and dragged them before the lions to perform the end that-was, before the other end that also-was.

    I also like to think that amongst the millions watching there were a fair number who knew their horror films more than their prog-rock – and wondered why a celebration of the Olympics featured The Exorcist theme. Still, it did get to show what music young people danced too, British class-A through the decades. When the rave came up I half expected a lot of costumed rozzers to come on and beat them up (all doing that Dick Van Dyke style scary-legs dancing).

  3. Mike Cane says:

    Gerry Anderson was missing. Wanted to see Thunderbird 3 launch from underground as a memorable finale.

  4. snowy says:

    Hmmm cake!

  5. admin says:

    I missed: The Avengers, Thunderbirds, Eagle cutaways, the seaside and a good drunken fight, but apart from that it was fab. And well done for avoiding Cliff Richard.

    HANCOCK: ‘Just think Cliff Richard might get some of your blood. That should slow him down a bit.’

  6. KAREN says:

    James Bond and the Queen parachuting into the stadium, wonderfully mad.

  7. Helen Martin says:

    Loved it all – including the symbolic doves on bicycles (because terrible things happen to doves that are released at events like this – and to the people under them). Didn’t recognize the dance music but the bucolic stuff at the beginning was beautiful and the small, small man in the tall, tall hat supervising the rings was pure magic. My husband said it was so perfect he didn’t want to know how it was done – and the chimneys all deployed! And I’d like to see anyone top that cauldron. Bet you had a great party.

  8. glasgow1975 says:

    what kind of cake? if it’s fruit. . .no ta, anything else I’ll send an SAE 🙂

  9. snowy says:

    After my rather flippant remark above, I thought I might be helpful (for a change) and see if I could find a forum that might suit Annie’s needs. But I found something unexpected, all the B&M novels and ‘Hell Train’ downloadable for free. I thought this a bit odd, so I had a bit of a poke about and they are pirate copies, (all with US covers).

    I then had a bit of a geek about, and they appear to be on a US server, and it isn’t registered with a domain by proxy, that’s a bit silly. Obviously not overly clued up about PERSEC.

    Lets start with the basics (or skip down to the penultimate paragraph).

    Travis McXxxx
    PO 328
    Tel. +206.552xxxx
    Creation Date: 08-Apr-2011

    There’s an interesting little bit of unconsidered info tucked away in the rest of the data, lets follow that trail.

    Wikipedia user, with cheeky little photo, peach fuzz beard, no ‘tache, shirt open, (more hair on the chest than the chin, just), looks dodgy, like a sparkly vampire in a M&S shirt.

    Flikr stream Has a younger brother, it seems. (But that doesn’t explain why you would want a picture of someone that has soiled themselves, unless it’s a kink?)

    LinkedIn profile, Ex Baggage Handler and Ex Call Centre Monkey.

    (Scads of geeky rubbish, more rubbish, rubbish, self proclaimed “champion of the freedom of all information”, can’t reveal that here or that, too easy to ID him directly if I did).

    Ah, Apparently born 15-02-1990, Dual US and Canadian Citizen, has lived in Washington, Idaho and Alaska.

    Former girlfriend called Brittany, was rather smitten it seems (nauseatingly twee home made birthday cards), I hope it’s not the “well upholstered” young lady in the pictures, he’d be more use to her as a toothpick.

    Twitter profile, newer picture, finally managed enough testosterone to grow a ‘tache. (I’m sure there is no link betwixt this and the disappearance of Brittany).

    Facebook profile, likes ‘They Might Be Giants’, ‘Josh Woodward’, ‘Nirvana’ (Yawn), ‘Vancouver Canucks’ (Yawn, Yawn Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz).

    Seems you’re not the only one getting ripped off, some netizens are getting angry, torches are being lit and pitchforks are being sharpened, (If you’re in a windmill, I’d get out). The current advice seems to involve a DCMA takedown.

    Could perhaps be a job for your US publisher? They may be all over it already. But if they are not aware, I’ve kept copies of the raw information (un-redacted), if you would like it passed on to them.

    PS. You were mentioned very, very briefly on the Kermode and Mayo show this week (@ about 1:19 in the podcast).

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