Sunday 29 July 2012

The Olympic Opening Ceremony: Beautifully British

What did you think of the Olympic Opening Ceremony?

I loved it! It was so British - there simply isn't another country in the world who would have produced an opening ceremony such as this.

It was a confident presentation to the world of who we are. There isn't one defining British identity, there are so many different things that are uniquely British and so much of it was captured on Friday evening.

I'm sure parts of the show confused and even baffled some people around the world, but I don't care. It was like saying: 'This might not be want you want to see or expect from Britain, but this is who we are'

The Queen and James Bond make their journey to the Olympic stadium

I've watched every Olympic opening ceremony since Los Angeles in 1984. To be honest I can't remember many of them but I'll remember London's. Firstly because it took place 20 minutes from my house, but more importantly because I saw myself in the show.

I read earlier in the week that Danny Boyle wanted to produce a show that everyone in Britain would be able relate to and see something of themselves in the show.

I think he got it spot on.

The Games have only just begun, but I always knew this country would do a good job of it. Despite all the inevitable pessimism you find in this country, Britain know's how to put on a show and that's what we saw on Friday.

Four years ago in Beijing, the world was blown away by the scale of China's opening ceremony. Back in Britain we wondered how an earth we could possibly compete.

There was never any point in trying to emulate the Chinese. The 2008 Beijing Olympics was all about China announcing itself to the world. Britain and London doesn't need to do that. We just needed to be confident in ourselves and tell the world this is who we are.

One of the things I loved most about the ceremony was that unlike in Beijing, it was a laugh, their was fun and humour involved - things you don't always associate with opening ceremonies.

If you asked me to tell you what I loved the most, then it would have to be the music. The soundtrack was superb.

This county can rightly be proud of inventing Pop and Rock music and we had everything.

The Beatles, the Stones, David Bowie, Sex Pistols, The Jam, Eurythmics, Soul II Soul, Dizzie Rascal, Arctic Monkeys to name but a few. All very different but all so British in their own ways. It turned the ceremony into a house party the rest of the world was invited to.

Of course not everyone appreciated it. I read comments that some of the show was a bit random and was lost on foreign audiences. On Saturday morning, while shopping in Harrods, I heard one middle aged lady remark that the show was 'far too British'. I thought 'That's the whole point!'

And then we had some American commentators critising the left wing bias with Danny Boyle's inclusion of Britain's love of the NHS.

All a bit too 'Socialist' for American conservatives. Well so what, it's got nothing to do with them.

Looking back it was a great start to the Games in what's going to be an amazing and memorable couple of weeks for London and Britain.

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