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2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony


Ian Macmillan
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Well, now that we've seen it, I trust that we will not leave all reactions to Twitter.

 

Despite the pretty dire, almost improvised, 'takeover' piece at the conclusion in Beijing, I stayed quietly confident that we would put on a much better performance when the London opening came around - and was not disappointed. The sheer theatricality of the first 30 minutes was spellbinding, and that transition to the Industrial Age, impelled by Evelyn Glennie and her myriad drummers and supervised by Kenneth Branagh's Brunel figure, will surely stay in the memory for a long time. I suspect others will have enjoyed later sections more than I did, where I felt the sense of narrative gave out somewhat. However, Huzzas for HM and her Bond cameo, the NHS piece and Akram Khan - and, above all, for the magnificent cauldron. Will other countries use that 'handing on the torch' theme, I wonder?

 

And so now, fingers crossed for the medal count and onwards to Darcey at the Closing Ceremony.

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I loved the start and I thought Sir Kenneth Brannagh was fabulous. The transformation to the industrial age and the forging of the rings was absolutely spectacular. For me, then it descended to a pile of poo before it was resuced by Akram Khan. I loved watching the competitors parade and the lighting of the cauldron was sheer magic.

 

Why ruin it by ending with an out of tune rendition of Hey Jude? It made me understand why the byelaws were enforced at the Bruce Springsteen concert!

 

Overall, it was a "proud to be British" spectacle but it did have its weak moments.

 

Currently flicking between the swimming and the road race!

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Likewise I loved the opening rural scene and the transformation into the industrial age, Kenneth Branagh, the forging of the olympic rings, then especially the James Bond film and entrance of the Queen, but agree those were the best bits, although the Chariots of Fire film was funny.

 

Didn't think much of the pop music section, extracts were too short to enjoy, but liked the up-tempo feel to the parade, although I wanted to see the GB team I was too tired and gave up at 11pm!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The transformation to the industrial age and the forging of the rings was absolutely spectacular ... then it descended to a pile of poo ....

 

Likewise I loved the opening rural scene and the transformation into the industrial age, Kenneth Branagh, the forging of the olympic rings, then especially the James Bond film and entrance of the Queen....

 

I very much enjoyed the beginning, too.

 

[A]lthough I wanted to see the GB team I was too tired and gave up at 11pm!

 

I wanted to see the U.S. team, but I fell asleep at some point during the pile of poo.

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I thought it was incredible, and although some bits were less impressive than others - it did lose momentum a bit in the middle and I thought the rural/industrial/war bit worked much better than the house party stuff - the whole thing made me so proud to be a Londoner. I watched it at a friend's flat in Bow, more or less opposite the stadium (across the bridge) and we went outside to see the fireworks in 'real life' - it was such a special way to experience it, knowing that we were watching it all and it was happening across the road. I thought Danny Boyle and the organisers, cast and crew did an amazing job and really did us proud. The time for moaning about cost and travel chaos has past for me - now I just feel lucky that I get to experience the Olympics in my own city, and to really feel a part of it.

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On a slight aside here: my hubby accompanying a wheelchair-user to olympics on tuesday, and he's been told he can only take water bottles containing 100ml.

 

We've measured that amount and it's ridiculously small!

 

Does anyone else know anything about this, and where can we get Lilliput-sized bottles of water from?

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I fear you will have to get travel bottles 100ml size from somewhere like Boots or Superdrug (or Muji if you live near a branch) and fill them yourselves. I've never seen bottled water that small.

 

Is this to make more money from concessions inside (if there are any) or is it similar to airline security?

 

Good luck!

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No, it's airline-style security, announced well in advance. Although, if you read the blurb fully you should find that they'll allow you to take in a normal-sized plastic bottle *empty* so you can fill up with water inside the venue. http://www.london2012.com/mm/Document/Documents/General/01/25/44/10/Restrictionsonliquidsaerosolsandgels_Neutral.pdf

 

Also note the rules on sun lotion in case that applies to you. Having seen the forecast for my trip to Wimbledon, I don't think I need to bother.

 

BTW, the fireworks must have been amazingly loud: they were very audible on the S.E. Kent/London border, which I think TFL assures me is about 10 miles from Stratford!

 

Since Darcey (et al) at the Closing Ceremony has been mentioned, here's a link to that thread: http://www.balletcof...8899#entry18899

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Does anybody know why the NBC decided to edit it?

 

Although I thought some bits were better than others, I think it was largely a matter of personal preference. I enjoyed "naming that tune" during the pop section (I got all of them except one). My nieces loved Dizzee Rascal, which is definitely a generation thing. I don't particularly like the Artic Monkeys myself, but they are extremely popular and successful.

 

I also thought the actual lighting of the olympic flame was incredibly moving, and very beautiful. I felt the whole thing made me proud to be British!

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Thanks for water bottle advice - we haven't got any paperwork as it is our disabled friend who organised it. I'll tell hubby to take empty bottles - although he said if he gets thirsty he will wait for it to rain and then tilt his head back and open his mouth for a drink!

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The problem for us in USA is that NBC is showing us the "big stuff" - like swimming - in prime time (around 8 p.m. our time). By then, the event has already taken place and the outcome is on the news which sort of deflates the entire experience doesn't it?

 

So, we get to see almost nothing in "real" time. Who wants to see a race about which the outcome is already known for several hours?

 

The excitement of a race (or any competition) is the fact that one doesn't know the outcome. Duh

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what usually happens in the UK with regards to time differences is that the event is shown live for those who want to stay up late/get up early/take a sickie off work! Then this is followed by a highlights programme later in the day. With Social media being around now of course, you would have to shut that off (including NBC's live tweets about the events).

 

It was a shame about the USA missing Akram Khan and Emile Sande's tribute to those who lost their lives in the 7/7 bombings, and to others who couldn't be at the event. I was imagining attendees thinking at that point about friends and loved ones who couldn't be there. I know I was thinking about my Dad.

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My two-pence worth:

 

Loved (in no particular order):

 

The rural scene

The singing by the childrens' choirs

The transition to the Industrial Revolution (although I failed to realise that Brunel was played by Kenneth Brannagh)

Evelyn Glennie

The rings forged from steel

Sir Steve Redgrave, the young athletes, and the cauldron

James Bond and HM The Queen

 

Did not like:

 

How long each segment was, and how much history was missed out

The commentary - or lack of it - sometimes I didn't know what the heck was going on!

Arctic Monkeys, Dizzee Rascal, and Macca being wheeled out to sing pretty atrociously

The Team GB tracksuits which looked as if they'd been bought at North Weald Market

 

and above all, the scarceness of "wow!" moments. I know we could never compete with Sydney or Bejing, but both those ceremonies flowed so beautifully, and each section had something that outdid the previous in terms of jaw-dropping beauty or something truly spectacular. I felt that was missing in London which is a real shame.

 

Just my opinion of course!

 

 

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Thanks for water bottle advice - we haven't got any paperwork as it is our disabled friend who organised it. I'll tell hubby to take empty bottles - although he said if he gets thirsty he will wait for it to rain and then tilt his head back and open his mouth for a drink!

 

DD is in closing ceremony, so got tickets to see the dress rehearsal at the stadium of the opening ceremony with her dad. They reported back the following - lots of free water fountains inside the park, they thought that food and drink was pricey. There are lots of different food stands selling anything from indian cuisine to fish and chips. The big Mc D's wasn't open that night but obviously will be when your hubby goes. One idea might be to take a small bottle of concentrate and a larger empty bottle so you could have something other than water. At their prices (a coffee and a piece of flap jack cost £5) you will need the credit card (visa only insided the park remember).I'm saving up already as will have to be there all day for closing. :blink:

Edited by Elliepops
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My two-pence worth:

 

Loved (in no particular order):

 

The rural scene

The singing by the childrens' choirs

The transition to the Industrial Revolution (although I failed to realise that Brunel was played by Kenneth Brannagh)

Evelyn Glennie

The rings forged from steel

Sir Steve Redgrave, the young athletes, and the cauldron

James Bond and HM The Queen

 

Did not like:

 

How long each segment was, and how much history was missed out

The commentary - or lack of it - sometimes I didn't know what the heck was going on!

Arctic Monkeys, Dizzee Rascal, and Macca being wheeled out to sing pretty atrociously

The Team GB tracksuits which looked as if they'd been bought at North Weald Market

 

and above all, the scarceness of "wow!" moments. I know we could never compete with Sydney or Bejing, but both those ceremonies flowed so beautifully, and each section had something that outdid the previous in terms of jaw-dropping beauty or something truly spectacular. I felt that was missing in London which is a real shame.

 

Just my opinion of course!

I agree with several things you said, particularly about the Team GB tracksuits. Far too much bling! I also wondered why they felt the need to make faces at the camera. Until we got to the USA & GB, most of the athletes had managed to parade with a certain amount of dignity, while apparently enjoying themselves.

 

My favourite moment, apart from The Queen and James Bond was the lighting of the cauldron. What a stunning bit of design. This was certainly something which could compete with both Sydney and Bejiing and I did think that was a 'wow' moment

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'wow' moments for me were the caudron being lit - the passing of the flame from the last generation to the new, and then the raising of the copper petals, was stunningly beautiful. The Akram Khan section to 'Abide with Me' made me well up - with pride and emotion.

The section with Mr Bean doing his Van Gelis 'Chariots' made me laugh out loud, as did 'Her Maj' sky diving into the arena (though she must have done herself a mischief doing so, as she didn't look too happy about it for the rest of the ceremony! ;-) ). The transformation into the industrial age, and the forging of the rings spectacular too - and a burst of pride as Team GB came into the arena. Loved all the pop stuff too (even the hippity-hoppity bits), though think Macca finally run his course, methinks.

 

Great night, all told, as far as I'm concerned - now lets get going and win some gold medals! Go Team GB!!!! (not that I'm biased or anything!!)

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My heroes were the designer of the cauldron - I have his name somewhere, he's the same person who designed the new Routemaster bus - and the drummers, who must have undergone sub-Olympic training themselves to be able to carry on all that time.

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Yes, the cauldron is absolutely beautiful. Shame it can't be seen from outside the stadium to inspire everyone before the athletics start, but apart from that I love it. Loved the passing of the flame from "old" to young too.

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Just another word on the water bottles. I was at the technical rehearsal on Monday evening and took an empty 1 litre bottle in with me which I was then allowed to fill up at a water fountain - long queues but quite fast-moving and well organised, as was everything else in the park. There are huge maps around the park which show where these fountains are which was a good thing on Monday as the volunteer staff were just 'feeling their feet' and didn't always know where things were! I didn't think the food prices were too inflated. I only bought an ice cream at £2.50 (cheaper than ROH and the Coliseum) but I noticed that coffee etc. could be bought for under £3. There should be a list of restricted items supplied with your tickets so you need to make sure that ANY liquids/lotions or medications you take in with you are 100ml or less. Very reassuring to have all the security stations manned by smiling soldiers!

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Interesting: the ice creams (Cadbury's) at Wimbledon were £3. I didn't buy one, because I'm not keen on being forced to have chocolate all over my ice cream :) Strawberries and cream were £2.50, which I suspect is the same as for The Championships. I think Innocent Smoothies may have been £3. Incidentally, Wimbledon is apparently the only venue to escape the curse of McDonald's.

 

The restricted items list in full is, I think, probably only available online. It gets a little worrying to think how much information isn't out there these days unless you have 24/7 internet access. You are allowed up to 200 ml of sun cream under certain conditions. (Clearly I didn't apply enough on Monday!)

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We were at Wimbledon on Tuesday (fabulous seats on Centre Court with a great lineup!). I was really impressed; the shuttle bus for disabled spectators was right outside Southfields station, and dropped us across the road from a small entrance which meant that we only had a 3 minute queue for security.

 

As it was our wedding anniversary, dh and I had a Pimms each (£3.70 each, but a good slug of Pimms in each one). My only disappointments were: Locked toilets near our gangway, which meant only one disabled loo in the central hall, and the fact that they had taken all Wimbledon merchandise out of the shop and replaced it with Olympic merchandise. I had assumed that both would be on sale.

 

Friendly volunteers and security staff, a decent cup of coffee, and the most fabulous military band playing a medley of James Bond theme tunes all added together with the great tennis made for a memorable day. By the time we left at 6.30 I could only shuffle (thank goodness for the shuttle bus!) but it was well worth it, especially as we got to see Murray play!

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