‘Abide With Me’
What is the purpose of an Olympic opening ceremony?
One is to introduce the competing athletes to the world and the other major purpose is to introduce the host country to all watching. It is a prime opportunity to showcase the host nation to the world and express how that nation feels about itself and its values. I personally do not think it can be viewed as ‘just’ an entertainment.
I think last night presented a dilemma and sent a very mixed message which perhaps reflects the utter confusion of modern England. I say England because I feel there was little more than a passing nod to the fact that there are four composite nations within the British Isles. The show was London/urban centric, reflected in how much time was apportioned to the various scenes.
The initial nostalgic unrealistic pastoral idyll (Spousal unit complained he didn’t see the sheep shagging!) was very quickly passed over in favour of the industrial scene which I thought the best by far of the show. Perhaps more ‘Lord of the Rings’ than anything else but at least demonstrated that we had some creditable mechanical engineers left if nothing else! At least the first two section were tenuously relevant to our past.
Then the most bizarre and seriously weird bit of dark fantasy I have seen in a long time. The NHS???? There can hardly be a more currently discredited institution in the land. Daily horror stories of starvation, neglect, dehydration and sheer ineptitude in every edition of the papers and there were nurses dressed as they haven’t been seen on the wards in a good twenty years actually attending patients? What an incredibly sick fantasy. We were told that these were real nurses, who was ‘minding the store’ whilst they were rehearsing?
Next we were treated to Doctor Bean cheating, a fine moral tale for the Olympics when not an hour later they all took oaths not to cheat! Seriously strange. Finally we were treated to the peasants Saturday night out, the kind of thing that has rendered our city centres empty of the respectable in fear of their lives and wallets. All notably multicultural but with a distinct paucity of our muslim immigrants. Which rather shows their interest in volunteering doesn’t it?
Presumably this was all supposed to represent how we see modern Britain? Hardly much of an advertisement if you ask me for attracting either tourist or business.
It was noticeable too that during the parade of athletes most managed to make a creditable attempt to walk in good order and present themselves as a credit to their nations. More than can be said for our own team who managed to straggle, slouch, jostle, slope and slump their way round as if they had just been let out of their cages. Could no-one teach them to stand up and walk properly? For the amount of money wasted on them surely a few deportment lessons might have been in order?
I am at a loss to understand how 27 million could have been expended on quite such mixed metaphors. The one thing that stood out quite clearly is that England may say that they want the Union of the 4 nations but they really don’t act like it. It appeared they much prefer their immigrants. Maybe it is time that we all left them to it like the Scots. I really found the whole thing rather sad. I noted that HMQ didn’t look too enamoured either. Her opening of the games was a little too short and very, very crisp in icy tones.
Another rather strange thing, considering the iconoclastic post religious nature of Britain it struck me as rather strange to have at least 5 hymn tunes in the music sung/played. And since when has rap music been part of the UK’s musical heritage? And please God would Paul McCartney retire, sounds like a corncrake. Too many old has beens all round. And finally someone ought to tell ‘them’ that you only sing ‘Abide with Me’ when the ship goes down one way or another!!!
Perhaps that was the true message of the evening!