It is a rather peculiar experience to be a British person onlooking the Olympics from elsewhere especially as I still read the British papers on a daily basis.
I detect a dissonance between the two. I have read in the UK papers about the enthusiasm for the opening ceremony which I have to say has not really been reflected here. In WA state we pick up both Canadian and US radio and television. Both/all were excessively polite about the ceremony, far too polite! Quirky and creative being the most often used words as various struggled to describe and understand the whole affair, frankly it wasn’t really suitable for a world wide audience. It was then dropped like a hot brick. I suspect that it was all too political and a potential minefield to correspondents, there was actually a comment on Canadian radio to the effect that were there no white people left in London? Incredible considering they are the most anal PC bunch known to mankind!!!
Today there has been much made of empty stadia, angry ticketless Brits, Olympic events not open to the public and a general wonder why Locog cannot get their act together to fill the seats. Romney was slated here for making rude remarks to the Brits re the readiness of the UK to host the games.and duly slunk off to Israel ASAP. I note a couple of commentators beginning to ask whether he had a point! I have been captive today for a couple of hours in the kitchen making redcurrant sirop so have been treated to a variety of talk shows and talking heads on my mini kitchen counter TV.
I have to say in mitigation the NBC’s coverage of the games is absolutely DIRE, were you to see it you would actually thank God you had the BBC (What a heresy!!!) We have watched any clips etc on Canadian TV which have made a far better job of the whole affair.
I would be interested to see what Chris and Low Wattage have thought so far of other denizens reactions Also what Bo and Bearsy make of the coverage and reaction in their antipodes..
20 thoughts on “Ongoing FYI”
From rural California… The two questions people are most likely to ask are “why are they so upset over Romney’s comments”? and “what was that ceremony about — did it make any more sense to you than it did to me”? In general, though, most people — if they can be bothered — watch the events they prefer and think nothing more of it.
Britain Botches Olympics is one headline that I’ve read down here.
There’s a lot of satisfaction here that Britain is managing to make an Olympic size dog’s breakfast of the games. We were panned, criticized and mocked for years prior to the Football World Cup about our preparedness and ability to be a host nation.
(picture Daily Mail, article and other pics here)
The ticket fiasco is an absolute disgrace, genuine sports lovers, family and friends denied a once in a life time opportunity. The above article tells us that now ticket touts are selling some of these tickets reserved for ‘the Olympic family’ or sponsors!
Now I read that Scotland Yard have lost the keys to Wembley (here) and that a complete stranger marched along with the Indian delegation at the opening ceremony (here)
Both the above reinforce my sense of dissonance. Beginning to be seriously embarrassing.
A Canadian friend over for drinks tonight who is a kindly soul, was horrified over the NHS claptrap in the show, after all they too have the same system and pretty well as bad as ours. She was seriously unimpressed, but knows me well enough to say so!
Ongoing? CO, you are going on, which being interpreted is ‘protesteth too much, methinks’. Do you feel the need to justify your opinions this time? 🙂
French newspapers made very little comment on the opening ceremony, but then their odd hours for putting the paper to bed could explain that, as could sour grapes of course. I remember that the French press didn’t even manage to report 9/11 as soon as the rest of the world. because it happened at the wrong time of day and the idea of resetting a front page doesn’t seem to have caught on.
Chris, good morning.
The problem with seeing things through the lens of the media without bothering to establish all the facts is that it can sometimes seem that one does not know what one is talking about.
I know nobody who is ‘upset’ about Romney’s remarks. There is, however, general bemusement that somebody can land in this country and, within minutes, make authoritative statements about our state of preparation for hosting the Olympic Games and wonder whether we are going to get behind those Games.
I would have been more interested in his views had he taken the time to familiarise himself with every aspect of the situation rather than just relying on Press headlines. It is the curse of politicians, and of many bloggers, that they feel able to be absolutely right about everything without having established all the facts. In my opinion.
Being British, there is a second point about Mr Romney for me. I regard it as terribly bad manners for a guest to walk into his host’s house and to immediately start criticising the place. Again being British, I would not dream of saying anything to him but I would hesitate to invite him again. I do hope that he will be back as President but I also hope that he will have gone through the learning curve and become more of a statesman than he appears to be at the moment,
On the ceremony, it made perfect sense to me, secure as I am in my afore-mentioned Brtishness, Parts of it were over long but all of it was memorable and some of it was deeply moving for me. I presume that you had to watch the bowdlerised NBC version which was transmitted at a later time, to the fury of the Twitteratti of North America and which completely omitted the ‘Abide with Me’ tribute to those killed in the terrorist attack in London on the day after we won the Olympics. Instead, NBC apparently ran an interview with the soon-to-be has-been Michael Phelps.
I personally find it astounding that the NBC commentators said that they had no idea who Tim Berners Lee, (founder of the World Wide Web) was and, without any sense of irony, advised their viewers to ‘Google’ him.
The weirdest thing is that the soundtrack to the whole bizarre ceremony is the leading iTunes download in many countries at the moment. As I said, I would have been happy with the parade of the athletes, HMQ making her ;little speech and the fireworks.
Sorry to tell you, Soutie, that most things are progressing very well, and the empty seats are the fault of the IOC. It happens at all Olympics, because they toady up to the corporate bods, whose guest would rather remain in the drinks tent or in bed in their hotel. Don’t forget that all the Olympic venues in the UK were built on time and under budget, something that is pretty rare!
Just been talking to some friends who took their daughter and grandchildren yesterday. They said it was just an amazing atmosphere and brilliantly organised.
To be quite honest, Christina, I haven’t got a clue what Australia made of the opening ceremony or anything else ‘Olympic’. I’m doing my very best impression of an ostrich – and sticking my head in the sand to avoid as much of the Olympic ‘Drama’ as I can.
I am already heartily sick of the fact that the first items on the News are all about the Olympics and who has won or lost what.
I find the whole scenario somewhat nauseating. It is completely beyond my understanding that the world spends a fortune every four years so that a very small group of people can hop, skip and jump in an extremely expensive venue and that the rest of the world gets caught up in the hype and does not even seem to question the cost…
As well we are not all the same … 😦
Hmmm! Not so sure, FEEG. On time maybe, but a quick ‘tappity tappity’ exercise indicates that almost everyone (apart from Auntie Beeb, LOCOG and the gobmunt) believes it is anything up to four times over budget.
tappitty linkey thingey
Not sure OZ. Depends on what you think the original budget was. If you follow your linky thing, it appears that those that have an interested in it being over budget report it as such, and those that don’t, don’t.
Mackie: NBC coverage is an utter, complete, miserable, wretched, nerve-wrecking parody of a facsimile of a sham. Heaven forbid that an athlete from outside the Democratic People’s Republic of Obamastan have the temerity to win a gold medal! It would be nice to see a medal ceremony for someone from the Netherlands, UK, Japan, Germany, Australia, etc.
I will, for the sake of fairness, seek out the complete opening ceremonies online — it should be available.
Morning Mrs. O. I’m late to this as usual, been a bit busy with storm damage etc.
I did watch NBC’s pathetic attempt to broadcast the opening, and surrounded as I was by natives, I was obliged to provide explanation as to what was going on.
The first question came as the noble peasantry were trooping off. “Why are they taking the grass with them?” someone wondered, I quickly replied “Times were tough back, then, they are probably taking it home to eat for dinner” this was greeted by several nods.
When the Shakespearian bod came on with the stovepipe hat someone asked tentatively “Abe Lincoln?” “No” I said “and probably not Captain Ahab either, he only had one leg, I think it is supposed to be Isambard Kingdom Brunel” “Who?” was the only response to that one so I had to do a 30 second summary of the man’s accomplishments “He shouted a lot and pointed his cigar and the railways got built, nothing to do with James Watt, Trevethick or Stevenson, Brunel did the lot”
When the filthy underclass appeared trudging about in a daze somebody suggested “Zombies?” “No” I explained patiently “Probably Irish, but close enough”. ” Are they supposed to be miners?” Someone asked. “Not those from South Wales” I explained “You had to be under fourteen to get down the pit there”
The kiddies jumping on the beds was a hard one. “What’s going on?” said a local lass. ” I think it’s a celebration of ADD” was the best I could do on the spur, it seemed to be accepted.
NBC kind of lost the plot about then, when they came back to London after about twenty minutes there were a lot of flying bikes and umbrellas about and it had all gone a bit Harry Potter. Most people know about Mary Poppins and HP so the inquisition quieted down a bit.
I had a bad case of Deja vu when Hey Jude came on. I am currently re-reading Steven King’s Tower series (based on Childe Roland to the Dark Tower came) A story of post apocalypse adventures, strange books with abrupt shifts of time and place and one of the few recurring themes is the singing of “HJ” in all the waystations and taverns of the “mid-world then” as he calls it.
The locals thought the best part was HM the Queen parachuting in from the helicopter. “Brave lady, she is in her mid eighties” was my only comment.
All in all it was an entertaining evening.
LW you are a wicked sod!
Spat out morning tea laughing, bad, bad, bad boy!
LW: te he he.
JM i agree it is incredibly bad manners re Romney, he has done himself no favours in ongoing diplomacy has he? Sort of equally divided here between shaking of the head at his ineptitude and asking well he was right about the disorganisation wasn’t he?
Chris I watched all of ten minutes on NBC last night and fled screaming! Actually I was waiting for the trial of Rudolph Hess on PBS which turned out to be infinitely better than NBC’s take on the olympics! And far less harrowing!!
Bo couldnt agree more. But when one is processing endless veg for the freezer and manufacturing industrial quantities of jams, jellies and pickles etc one has to watch something! It seems like the least offensive option, but isn’t!
I did what I rarely do and that is I actually watched the opening bits as far as the parade of athletes, then I went to bed.
Yes it was quirky, but then so is British humour.
The British can and do laugh at themselves, we do not take all these things in such a serious vein as the rest of the world, hence Rowan Atkinson and the Queen leaping out of a chopper showing her bloomers.
I did think that there were more foreigners in the parts than white anglo saxons, but then that is because they volunteered and the white brits didn’t. I also felt it was very left leaning and showing how great the NHS is, pity they can’t get that much effort into running the NHS.
All in all I thought it was a lot better than I expected, but the main thing is people were enjoying themselves, where as those in Beijing were ordered to be there and told to enjoy themselves or else.
Yes the tickets are a disgrace but that is the crooked IOC, about on the same par as the FA, UN, NATO and all politicians and Oxfam.
Rick, a sober assessment, thank you.
Janus, I just look at things from all angles. I hope it goes well for all concerned and above all I hope we beat the frogs at everything 😉
Rick, so far they’re leaving us for dead. 😦