diamond geezer

 Monday, September 10, 2012

I went to the Paralympics yesterday.
I went to the Closing Ceremony and sat in the back row.
And then it was all over.

To the Olympic Stadium, one last time, came the eighty thousand. To a ceremony more about celebration than expectation, a last triumphant hurrah for London 2012. The athletes were escorted to their seats on the pitch well before the Ceremony began, while their flags entered far more swiftly than had been the case at the Opening's parade, which was appreciated. I was disappointed to discover I was sitting in the very back row of the Stadium - that's row 75 - especially given that I hadn't paid the rock bottom price. But it turned out there was a plus to being at the back, almost directly opposite the central stage, because there was an excellent panorama across the whole stadium below. Binoculars were essential if I wanted to see anything at a human level, so several portions of the ceremony only made sense when I watched a recording off the TV afterwards. But many of the photos you'll see in your newspapers today were taken from almost-adjacent seats, only by folk with far mightier lenses.

And one other bonus. Everyone in the grandstands had been asked to stay seated throughout the ceremony, so that the pixels located between each seat weren't obscured and the overall lighting effect diminished. In the back row we could stand whenever we liked without blocking anything, so we did, whenever an uplifting moment arrived. But not everybody did as they were told, and above you can see one persistently upstanding section of crowd wrecking the display behind the mechanical fish. After about forty minutes the ceremony turned into a Coldplay concert, which wasn't what I'd been anticipating when I bought my ticket a year ago. It worked best if you concentrated on the amazing fiery spectacles around the arena, and not so much on the album filler, but several crowd-pleasing classics had us rapt. Para-para-paradise, which was highly Para-appropriate. And Rihanna, obviously.

The Mayor got a spontaneous cheer when he passed on our flag, and a "yay Boris" from the first-time voter sat to my left. Then came the speeches, and the Rio bit, and the nagging feeling that something unique was about to end. As the arms of the cauldron lowered for the final time an alternative light source appeared, that of thousands of audience members raising their cameras and smartphones into the air to capture the flame's passing. And at the end of the evening came the fireworks, which sounded fantastic but of which I saw almost nothing, sat at the back shielded by the roof and a row of flags. It was a very long way down and out, as the athletes swiftly dispersed and the crowds shuffled off to join the queues at Stratford station. But I didn't mind being one of the last ones out, lingering amidst the empty aisles and having space to remember. From industrial estate to global focus, from skip-hire warehouse to field of dreams. I left the stadium to its unknown future, and headed back to reality.

Nine photos from the Paralympics Closing Ceremony...
[flags] [heart] [rear view] [yellow] [centre stage] [fish] [flame out] [stage] [aftermath]

www.flickr.com: my London 2012 Paralympics gallery
There are 112 photographs altogether

<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>

click to return to the main page

...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan18  Feb18  Mar18  Apr18  May18  Jun18  Jul18
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