Monday, 13 August 2012


Chatting briefly about this to three swimming acquaintances in the pool at the Raich Carter Sports Centre this morning, I realised there would be a more divergent view of it than that for the Opening Ceremony. Of the three (all older than me), one went to bed halfway through, the other two liked it.

Me, I thought it was a mess.

Just about every decision they made was the wrong one. I should note that I'm trying not to let the fact that I was unfamiliar with many of the artists and their songs affect my impressions.

I didn't think much of the general design which I found very unappealing. I don't think that having many of the artists riding around on buses, in cars, or on trucks worked. There had to be a much better way of presenting them; even a better way of presenting them on buses, etc.

Even apart from the fact that most, if not all, of it was mimed to pre-recorded tracks, I'm sure the sound was 'off', at least in the beginning, and I was wearing my hearing aids. The arrangement to Waterloo Sunset was overblown and would have been far better accompanied by just an acoustic guitar. It didn't help that Ray Davies looked like a lecherous geriatric and didn't sound much better. The appearance of the Spice Girls confirmed what I always thought about them -overrated (or: just crap). George Michael sang one song too many (or two too many, for my taste). Russell Brand, excruciatingly embarrassing as he sang I Am The Walrus. And, much as I love The Who, they were just as bad a choice to end the show as was Paul McCartney two weeks and two days ago. And much more of which memory currently fails me. The musical montage of songs from the opening ceremony was far far better.

So, what did I like? Anything at all? Well, not a lot. Emeli Sande, Take That (a huge surprise there to people who know me, but compared to a lot of what was on offer their talent and presence just stood out), Jessie J (particularly with the remnants of Queen -I could have done without Brian May's preceding guitar solo and I love guitar solos) who has a powerful voice and enormous stage presence, the choreography to Kate Bush's  beautiful song Running Up The Hill, the visual tribute to John Lennon (an arsehole -cf. I Am The Walrus- as far as I'm concerned) and the playing of Imagine, his finest song with lyrics absolutely appropriate to the occasion and which are completely in tune (ho ho) with my own views.

Ultimately all I can say is that I'm so glad this wasn't the opening ceremony which was as inspirational as this was uninspired.

Thoughts on London Olympics 2012.

Like the opening ceremony, inspirational. It started with bang, stuttered a little for a couple of days, then exploded as everything started going well and medals began rolling in for Team GB. We got the best of British from the athletes, not just in their sporting efforts, but the way they conducted themselves -gracious, humble, proud, acknowledging the parts others played in their achievements (including in one poignant moment, her late mother). And the best of British came from the thousands of volunteers, in public and behind the scenes, unfailing helpful and cheerful, wonderful ambassadors for our country. We got the best of British too from the spectators -in Beijing four years earlier, audiences disappeared when the Chinese weren't on the field- who cheered every nationality and cheered every athlete from first to the last, every winner and every loser.

This is modern Britain and we showed the world why we still deserve to be called Great.

Favourite Heroes.

All the athletes are heroes for their dedication and perseverance but here are some of mine from the games.

Jessica Ennis

Mo Farah

Nicola Adams

Joanna Rowsell (right)

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