Sunday, 29 July 2012

Wiggo's Big Bong

If you had commissioned the largest harmonised bell in Western Europe, would you ring it only once, like the Rank Films gong bloke? Or, would you bang at it like a person possessed, surrounding yourself with vigorous echoey chimes? I know what I'd do, but then I'm a kind of "more is more" person, when it comes to bells.
It was probably for the best that Bradley Wiggins only got to bong the big bell once though: tired from the Tour de France victory it was best to save his energy for the road race....
I hope they have plans for the thing once the games are done. Perhaps they could melt it down and make it into NHS beds or braces for children's teeth or perhaps needles for an immunisation programme of Hackney squirrels?
Anyway, that's my oblique way of saying I thought the opening ceremony was all right, as ceremonies goes. Not really a ceremony, more a bonanza. There's been so much breathless stuff written about it, I feel I might be wasting my breath writing more, but then again....Ok, I enjoyed it, up until the bit where Seb Coe started his speech and I nodded off.
Highlights for me were, in no particular order: Evelyn Glennie and her drums, the uprooted tree, street-dancing Victorian industrialists, the Queen, the hairy goblins and Noel Fielding, Mr Bean, the Olympic rings raining sparks etc.
Things I really didn't like were: the enormous freaky baby head. It reminded me of that scene in Trainspotting where Renton is hallucinating about a scary enormous crawling baby. That Danny Boyle, he seems so goddam nice, but such an obsession with freaky babies. Real babies really aren't that bad.
Anyway, it's been quite eventful for the volunteers on the first couple of days of the Olympics. I seemed to spend my first day testing out the Jubilee Line and DLR which were very smooth. I spent the second day in Greenwich with a legend of French equestrianism and Olympic gold medal winner from Mexico '68. He was trying to get in touch with the French delegation but had no pass, no ticket, no accreditation and no English. We fought the authorities tooth and nail, and eventually cracked through the ring of steel by striking a deal with a soldier who delivered a paper (old skool) message. After a tense wait, we got a call from the French team who got us to take him to the house - draped in Tricolores - they had rented in Greenwich. At last, the 80-year-old was safe and welcome, but no thanks to the games organisers. I left thinking perhaps more could be done to afford the legends of the sport perhaps a little more welcome. But anyway - we had a lovely time with Jean-Jacques, who bemoaned how health and safety had taken the fun out of teaching riding to kids.
Nobody seems to be reading my Olympic posts, but that's probably because they are watching the beach volleyball. I met two ball girls today - Muslims in headscarves. God I despise beach volley ball. The men's shorts go down to their bloody knees.

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