diamond geezer

 Wednesday, June 13, 2012

London 2012  Olympic update
  Opening and closing


We discovered yesterday that the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games will feature 70 sheep, three cows and a country cottage. The interior of the athletics track will be turfed over to create a few acres of pretend farmland, complete with wiggly hedgerows, a village cricket pitch and thousands of dancing schoolchildren. It's called "Green and Pleasant", and in six weeks time billions of viewers worldwide will watch this peculiarly English vision of Arcadia unfold. Yes, someone actually had this idea, probably on the back of an envelope, and suggested it, and got it accepted, and had a multi-million pound budget pumped into it, and soon it'll be a moment of global TV history. Sparks of creativity don't run much bigger than this.

Who knew? Well, we had a hunch, didn't we? [photo] I spotted a mysterious stone-in-the-grass round the back of 3 Mills Studios last month, which is where the Olympic Ceremonies are being assembled, and deduced it might be rather important. A bit of a squint revealed the inscription to be identical to that at the start of the Thames in a Gloucestershire field - so identical in fact that it had clearly been designed with a TV close-up in mind. The turf laid round about was real, rather than astro-, and there was a rocky space in front where maybe, just maybe, a water feature might flow forth. And yes, look, there's a small stream winding forth across the publicity pictures released yesterday, starting roughly in the middle of the stadium. That river must therefore be the Thames, which places this imaginary swathe of farmland a few miles southwest of Cirencester. You heard it here first.

Olympic ceremonies are normally top secret until they happen. Those massed Chinese drummers took our breath away because we weren't expecting them, ditto the spectacles in Athens, Vancouver, Sydney et al. But London is dripfeeding information to keep a hungry media fed, and because it's bloody difficult to keep a secret these days. All it takes is one slack-mouthed volunteer to leak to the press, or a blogger with a camera at a studio back-lot, and details of the ceremonial programme might slip forth. So now we know 2012's launch will feature the world's largest harmonically-tuned bell, and artificial rainclouds, and two moshpits for which 200 lucky East Londoners have yet to get tickets. But this pastoral scene is only the first tableau in Danny Boyle's hour-long extravaganza. We have no idea what will follow when the fields are rolled away, only that eventually thousands of athletes will parade by and that the Queen will probably smile. Indeed we still don't have a clue how London's Olympic cauldron will be lit, nor even precisely where it's going.

You have to be a bit trusting when buying a Games Ceremony ticket. Unlike those sat at home you can't nip to the fridge or switch channels, you've got to watch whatever the creative director puts on in the stadium for you. Those who've bought tickets to the Olympic Closing Ceremony were probably expecting an hour of girls waving ribbons, but are actually going to get a concert featuring Paul McCartney, George Michael, Take That and the remaining members of The Who. That'll have saved a huge amount off the special effects budget, I bet. Spectators at the Paralympic Opening Ceremony will see, as expected, "a celebration of the inspirational spirit that challenges perceptions of human possibility." And the Paralympic Closing Ceremony? Cash up front has earned ballot winners tickets to a souped-up Coldplay concert, the idea of which might excite you, but I'd be less than thrilled. But hey, once the world's watching, maybe a collective magic will wash over all four of these ceremonial displays. And when the Thames ripples forth beneath a sylvan bridge, let's hope the world smiles.


<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>


click to return to the main page


...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan17  Feb17  Mar17  Apr17  May17  Jun17  Jul17  Aug17  Sep17  Oct17  Nov17  Dec17
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16  Nov16  Dec16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
Life viewed from London E3

» email me
» follow me on twitter
» follow the blog on Twitter
» follow the blog on RSS

my flickr photostream