We had the TV on last night at the Battle Rock.
It turns out Athletes from around the world had gathered in Stratford to witness and take part in some opening ceremony. Stratford! Thankfully the BBC had been tipped off and they’d got some cameras there. And, to be fair, it was a pretty spectacular show. Nothing like my last visit to Stratford on my way somewhere else. The molten rings looked amazing and the cauldron was pretty cool too.
They made quite a noise and people seem to be talking about it. The NY Times described it as “hilariously quirky…a wild jumble of the celebratory and fanciful; the conventional and the eccentric; and the frankly off the wall…noisy, busy, witty, dizzying… a zany bunch of dancing children on huge hospital beds”. The Jamaica observer commented that, “headlong rushes of movie images took spectators on wondrous, heart-racing voyages throughout everything British: a cricket match, the London Tube and the roaring, abundant sea that buffet and protect this Island nation…Boyle turned the stadium into a throbbing jukebox, with a nonstop rock and pop homage to cool Britannia that ensured the show never caught its breath”. Wang Ning, the Beijing Olympics director of the opening and closing ceremonies, gave the spectacle “90 points out of a hundred” , saying it was “very creative and they did very well…he liked the innovative ways to illustrate British culture”. He went on to say that it was also hard to understand and that it, “lacked momentum and artistic methods…was too modern and lacked globally recognised symbols”. Ghana Web, Ghana’s biggest website described it as “bloody brilliant”. The Times of India described the stadium as “spunky”, and Anastasia Uspenskaya, BBC Russian Service, managed to find one thing that she felt Russian media “likes more about London opening [compared to Beijing]… unlike the robotic Beijing show, last night’s performance was what they call elegantly chaotic – which is quite an English thing” (presumably as opposed to quite a British thing).
Anyway, we liked it but got a bit bored once the champions from a hundred or so countries’ had marched in, some with their team giant, so we went up on the Battle Rock roof and waited around to take some photos of the fireworks instead. We’d cropped fairly tightly in on the stadium and so we experienced mixed emotions, and some rushed re-focusing and exposing, when a huge wall of fireworks spread a long way north from the stadium and out of shot. Fancy Danny.
Let the games begin!
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