Pomp and Circumstance, Part Deux

Hm…where was I…?? Oh, right! The two hour tribute to the National Health Service.

I had to break it off there, because truly it took a very large portion of the program. I must give kudos to Danny Boyle for starting this tribute to the government by tying it in with J.M. Barrie’s bighearted contribution of his work, Peter Pan, to the Great Ormond Street Hospital. It was a very smooth transition. And after all of the hospital beds lighting up, and kids jumping on the trampoline “beds”, and nurses and staff dancing around (and they were great at it, which begs the question: do they have a second job to supplement their income from the NHS??), J.K. Rowling showed up to recite something I assume she wrote, since I can’t find any information on it, and suddenly, figures from every kid’s worst nightmare show up!!

The Red Queen, Cruella De Vil, Captain Hook, and VOLDEMORT!!! And he was HUGE. But not to worry, because an army of Marys Poppins arrived floating down in umbrellas to vanquish the nightmares.

Like Mary Poppins could take on Voldemort… Sheesh…

Moving away from the NHS lovefest, we find esteemed comedian and British icon Rowan Atkinson in his role of Mr. Bean, playing the theme from Chariots of Fire with the London Symphony Orchestra, texting on his phone, playing his chord with an umbrella as he reaches for a tissue in his backpack, so he can blow his nose, and toss the offending tissue to the pianist. Classic Bean, right?? But his chord is rather boring, so he begins to daydream that he is running with the runners on the beach, falling behind, hailing a taxi to take him to the front of the line, and crossing first at the finish line after he trips the guy in the lead. I have to admit, I was in tears from laughing so hard.

And after such a great skit, it goes to Hades again. A convoluted tribute to music spanning decades from the 60’s to today. Apparently, there was no music in the UK until the Beatles. It was full of black lighting, peace signs, and then a clubbing scene where a girl loses her phone, but a guy finds it and texts her he has it, and she texts back, but I have no idea how she can do that unless she also was carrying an iPod, but why would you carry an iPod to a dance club?? And this texting and cell phone and emailing debacle is a tie-in to Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the internet. Finally the texting and cell phones make sense. But the choice of a rapper to finish leaves more than a few people speechless.

And then the athletes begin to file out. Greece is first, as is custom, and then alphabetically with the host country going last.

Some of the countries chose well in the uniform department. Among them were American Samoa, Fiji, Australia, and China. Some chose poorly. Among them Germany (pink and baby blue track suits??), Czech Republic (rain boots and shorts??), USA (we looked French), and sadly, Great Britain (gold accents on white track suits??). After they file out, there are more musical acts, complete with cyclists sporting glowing wings. They looked a bit like the Flying Monkeys, which was creepy, in my opinion.

The head honchos give their speeches, and they cut away to David Beckham “driving” the speedboat carrying the torch. Nice touch with Beck. He passes the torch to five-time Olympic gold medalist Steve Redgrave, who brings it in to the stadium. Traditionally, a former Olympian of the host country lights the torch. But not this time. A group of seven young athletes hand-picked by former British Olympians for their prowess and promise run with the torch, and then come back to the Olympians to have six additional torches lit, which they in turn use to light the petals of the cauldron, arranged in a circle, which then rise to make the torch:

The mechanics of it and vision were spectacular, but the cauldron is supposed to be seen from ALL points of the Olympic Village, not just in the stadium, so to me it’s a bit underdone and disappointing. But it is very lovely, nonetheless.

After the lighting, Sir Paul McCartney comes out to close the ceremony with “Hey, Jude”, bringing down the house. I guess because he’s a  Beatle. Personally, I think Sir Elton John would have done a better show. A duet with the two of them would have been spectacular! All in all, it was everything Britain liked, which I suppose that’s the point of the whole ceremony: to introduce to the world the host country.

At least, my droning over it is over. At least for the next four years 😉

About LC Aggie Sith

Machete-wielding zombie killer when not shopping for shoes. View all posts by LC Aggie Sith

16 responses to “Pomp and Circumstance, Part Deux

  • RabidAlien

    I think the reasoning behind the Mary Poppins thing was 1) the movie took place in London, and b) Voldemort would have been driven drooling-raving insane(er) by the old 1970’s choreography and “spontaneous” breaking out into song every 3 minutes, and would have Abra-Kadabra’d himself to death. Along with 90% of the living population of Hogwarts. And most of London.

  • katiepede

    I disagree re: Mary Poppins…. she would kill him with a click of her fingers…. 😉 I was so happy that old Queeny got involved… although I am pretty sure Philip was actually asleep at one point, poor thing! Also (and I know he is not English), but I was really hoping Dick Van Dyke was going to pop out as a chimney sweep…. I want him to be my Granddad….

    I completely agree about that girl losing her phone…. I was saying “Yeah, so how the hell is this man texting her?!” Continuity baby…. (I think a lost purse would have been better)! And when you say speechless, did you like the rapper ‘dizzy rascal’?

    The team GB outfits were awful…. just tacky blingy ickyness….. I say no more on that matter….

    I am also a little sad that Bowie and Brian May were not there,…..And T-Rex was not played at all 😦 I love the beatles, but please Macca….you just can’t sing that well these days…. Long live Queen Elton!

    I actually really liked the cauldron, but I didn’t realise that everybody should be able to see it from the stadium…. hmmm interesting….

    I think I am still hungover……… x

  • roamingfirehydrant

    For a couple of seconds near the end, I thought there was a photo of the Olympic rings from space, like on ISS looking out the window. NASAWatch tweeted it, but I haven’t seen it anywhere else. I don’t have a DVR, or I’d look for it.

  • RoundHammer117

    That the IOC refused to honor the Israeli Olympians – murdered on their watch – because they deemed it “too political” is why I will not watch any of the proceedings, Ms.Aggie.

    They honor universal health care and revisionist history instead . . .?

    Yet they refuse to honor men who died for their country at the hands of terrorists.

    Certain insults cannot be ignored nor forgiven.

    What is also unforgiveable, is the rampant anti-semitism currently being tolerated by the IOC with regards to hostile treatment of the Israelis by various teams, especially muslim nationals.

    I cannot support such actions, Ms.Aggie, my conscience will not allow it.

    • LC Aggie Sith

      I understand, but I will watch precisely because I want to keep tabs on who says what, and I want to remember ever transgression.

      • RoundHammer117

        I fell in love with an Israeli girl in college . . . but she already had a good guy. I did the honorable thing and never attempted to go beyond platonic. She knew, of course, and she felt affection for me as well.

        That she married a good guy was some consolation.

        A few years later, the first time I was in iraq, I received a letter from her where she wrote she wanted to her name son after me when he was born.

        Yalli is doing great, working for an advertising firm . . . she issues orders now and no Don Drapers anywhere to fall out of title sequences.

        I suppose that is why I take such things personal.

        And yesterday, when helping my Mother out, I saw a fencing match rigged against an American Olympian.

        Big surprise.

  • BG

    I got to watch it from the British viewpoint, on BBC. Was glad they explained much of what was happening. I thought JK was reading from Peter Pan, seems I remember them showing the book she was reading from. Most of it just seemed like a mess to me tjough, boring, and too selfimportant. I don’t remember other ceremonies that dwelled so much on the home country, maybe they were more subtle or my memory is going. From what I hear though, at least the British commentators are better than NBC’s. 😀

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