Saturday, 28 July 2012

Pogging and Olympicsing

Most of today I was sorting and scanning some new pogs I got as part of a swap. In the afternoon I also made a cake.

In the evening I watched the Olympics opening ceremony. It had been hyped up quite a bit by the British press, so I wasn't expecting much. But actually, it was very good.

The bit I liked best was where they had a pre-recorded section showing James Bond (Daniel Craig) going to Buckingham Palace and fetching the Queen in a helicopter. Then a helicopter flew over the stadium in real time. The pre-recorded bit showed the Queen and James Bond moving to the door of the helicopter, then in real time two people jumped out of the helicopter. A couple of minutes later, the Queen walked in with Prince Philip.

Another bit I thought was very clever was the Olympic Flame. There were lots of small 'torches' coming out on long rods from a central point. They didn't really resemble torches, but had gas flowing through them, and were lit by a team of young athletes. The 'torches' then rose up above the central point, to form one large Olympic flame.

As well as this being very clever, the idea of using young athletes to light the flame was very good. I don't mean from the perspective of this games' slogan 'Inspiring a generation' (though it did fulfil that). I mean from the fact that betting activity on who was going to light the flame had been quite high. But the people who did light the flame wouldn't have even been in the running. A nice stub to bettors from the Olympics organising committee.

There were only I a couple of things I didn't think were that great. They weren't really bad or anything though.

  • There was a period of remembrance for those who died in the 7/7 bombings in 2005. After this they had a hymn with some people doing a dance or something, but I didn't really get what it was on about. It wasn't visually exciting anyway.

  • The other thing was Paul McCartney played Hey Jude to end off the ceremony. But he seemed to start off with a backing track, and he wasn't on the same timing as the backing track. But they fixed it reasonably quickly, cutting the backing track. I think that was what the problem was anyway.

Throughout the ceremony they played a large range of music by different artists. I think most of the songs were by British artists, though I did notice they played "My Boy Lollipop" by Millie, who I think is Jamaican.

For live acts, they had Evelyn Glennie (a deaf person that plays the drums), Mike Oldfield (of tubular bells fame), Dizzie Rascal (Ex-grime pop artist), Arctic Monkeys, and of course Paul McCartney.

One of the songs they played as part of the opening ceremony was by the Jam (I can't remember which song it was). I thought it would have been quite funny if they'd played 'Down in the tubestation at midnight', since most of the people watching the ceremony would have to go back to their hotels via tube after midnight.

I enjoyed watching the athletes parade as well. It's nice to see all the different countries, and many of them had their athletes (or at least the flag bearer) dressed in traditional dress.

The opening ceremony was quite pro-Britain, and didn't really mention anything that Britons should be ashamed of, but I guess this is not surprising. I can't really remember the opening ceremonies from past Olympics (possibly I just watched the games and not the ceremonies), but I expect that they were similarly pro the host country. I didn't feel it was overly biased towards the UK anyway.

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