Keeping Everything Crossed!
The UK is holding its collective breath and keeping fingers, arms, legs and toes crossed. Friday evening will see the eyes of the world upon this sceptred Isle with the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Olympics Games in London, sponsored by McDonalds – now that will no doubt get Lord Sebastian Coe and his official Games’ sponsors on my case…..
Now don’t get me wrong, most of us are looking forward to it. But, I suspect that we are also a tad nervous and wondering what kind of show Danny Boyle with the aid of the Women’s Institute and several other thousands of volunteers will put on. It is not that we want to be better than Beijing or Sydney (but we do). We just don’t want to be embarrassed.
We have already pissed off the North Koreans (always a result if you ask me) by introducing their Womens Football Team but displaying the flag of their great nemesis, South Korea. And, closer to home, we have already upset the good people of Northern Ireland by referring to our own athletes as “Team GB” (we are after all the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland). One cannot help but think that the bosses of our Olympic bid are consulting on all matters diplomatic with a team comprising the Duke of Edinburgh, Jeremy Clarkson and Sacha Baron Cohen……..
And, we have already had to curtail the opening by half an hour because of the inadequacy of the London public transport system, which despite collective “Olympic Bonuses” already paid out to prevent the unions going on strike, apparently turns into a pumpkin at the stroke of midnight thus providing a Cinderella moment in which all attendees of the ceremony will be stranded in the East End and unable to get home – those that aren’t still queuing at Passport Control at Heathrow trying to get in, that is…..
The Opening Ceremony is supposed to be a chance for the host nation to show off and to celebrate its history, culture and society. Lord help us! Let’s just hope we do a little better than we did in the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester, when there were far too many flat caps, whippets, umbrellas, S Club and C-list celebrities from the cast of Coronation Street on display for my liking.
Now, I still expect the usual plethora of “iconic imagery”, flag-waving Boy Scouts, Boris’ Bikes, red telephone boxes, double-decker buses, black cabs, men in Bowler Hats and kilts walking the odd Bulldog or two, with a fly past by Concorde, the Battle of Britain Flight, and the Red Arrows as the band of the Coldstream Guards play Green Sleeves, Jerusalem and a medley of Beatles number ones…………but, hopefully we will avoid a carnival like drive by of communities on the back of low loaders and trailers pulled by tractors dressed as Pearly Kings and Queens, Morris Dancers, Boudicca, jars of Marmite and plates of fish and chips or chicken tikka masala…….
There may be the odd reference to the Queen and the Commonwealth, but hopefully we will avoid tasteless reminders of our Imperial and militaristic past. I once saw a re-enactment of the Battle of Culloden during the half-time break between the London Monarchs American football team and a team from Scotland, which would be the equivalent of us re-enacting the D-Day landings, Rorke’s Drift, the Massacre at Amritsar, and the taking of Port Stanley on this global stage.
There may also be reference to some of our great literary and cinematographic heroes – rumours abound that the Queen may be giving James Bond (Daniel Craig) a mission involving a certain torch – but I would hope that we don’t stray too far beyond the likes of Robin Hood and Sherlock Holmes into Teletubbies and a dance display choreographed by David Brent of the Office…..We may call upon the odd “national treasure” – Bruce Forsyth might please the crowd by adapting his catch phrase “Good Games! Good Games!” with a rousing “Let’s be ‘avin ya” from Delia Smith…..
And, there is the big question! Who will light the Olympic Flame? Will it be Redgrave, Daley Thompson, Prince William, Muhammad Ali or David Beckham (sponsored by McDonalds)? I hope it won’t be Golden Balls – he might be a nice guy (according to Rebecca Loos at least) and the biggest marketing draw but he is not an Olympic athlete.
To be honest I don’t care. I just want the Opening Ceremony and the Games as a whole to be safe, incident free and a celebration of the Olympic Dream…….and if we can win more medals than Germany and Australia (again!) then I’ll be happy.
Roll on Friday night!!