Monday, 30 July 2012

Wouldn't it be nice...if everyone appreciated how amazing the London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony was!

I have caught Olympic fever. I'm finally starting to recover from the flu and now I've caught fever! However this fever is easily treatable with near constant Olympics on the television in my house and with my whole family on the (rather fantastic) London 2012 apps checking the results of events we can't watch. Basically we are all addicted. And this addiction began with the fantastic opening ceremony.

Danny Boyle you did us Brits proud. It was truly amazing. I watched every single minute of it gasping in delight at the fantastic sets changes and crying with laughter for the inclusion of the Queen (yes the ACTUAL Queen) and Mr Bean within the whole event. I thought it fantastically covered our history and it was quintessentially British and British at its best. Taking us from green pastures:

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To the aftermath of the Industrial Revolution, all lead by Kenneth Branagh as Isambard Kingdom Brunel:

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With the Olympic Rings forged by workers (below) before we were taken through a journey incorporating British children's literature and some one of our great national institutions, the NHS. To me the whole 3 hour spectacle was perfect culminating in seven young British athletes lighting the beautiful beacon; highlighting the key message of inspiring the next generation.

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However I was somewhat perturbed in the few hours following our viewing of the ceremony when Twitter started to become more and more active as NBC started showing the delayed, edited, version in the USA. Now I know, because I waited to see and hear more, that generally the reaction from the USA and their media was good. Yes they found it a little bizarre but they seem to have expected that from us Brits. BUT I was shocked by some of the messages I saw on Twitter and by some articles I have since read. Some stated it was "too British" and many wondered why lots of Abraham Lincolns were wandering round *face palm* (perhaps the US need to invest more time and energy into their teaching of world history). I read a particularly disparing piece on The Washington Post Social Reader by Cyd Zeigler that genuinely offended me! I may be taking this all a little personally but I feel as though each attack on the Opening Ceremony is an attack upon the nation and everything that makes us us, because that is exactly Danny Boyle showed.

Also upon hearing that NBC cut one of the most poignant moments of the ceremony; a hauntingly beautiful contemporary dance piece widely viewed as a tribute to the London 7/7 bombing victims, I was genuinely outraged. Mainly because of NBC's reasoning: "it wasn't tailored to U.S. audience". Seriously!? Can you begin to imagine the outcry if the BBC cut a tribute to 9/11. They wouldn't even dream of doing it let alone outwardly stating that they didn't because it wasn't specifically tailored to our nation. And what did NBC show instead? Ryan Seacrest interviewing Michael Phelps. Top journalism there.

Woah this has turned into a rant! I do not mean to tar all with the same brush as I have read many fantastic pieces praising the opening ceremony by US journalists writing for various publications but I won't lie that it has left me not rooting for the USA as much as I normally would do. I do want to say though that I feel the Opening Ceremony was a perfect presentation of all that makes this nation great. It was all a bit wonderfully chaotic with different eras of music mashed together for amazing dance routines but most importantly of all, it felt fun. We British don't like to take ourselves too seriously and we like to enjoy ourselves and I think that really came across in the fantastic show. I hope that that kind of feeling and atmosphere rubs off on all; athletes, viewers, volunteers etc. throughout the entire games. Let's show the world what the best of British really looks like.

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Bye for now :)

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