It was a fervent hope we carried that Danny Boyle would open his Olympics ceremony with a man, Renton from Trainspotting style, swimming through other people’s shit to retrieve an Olympic gold medal. But we’re rarely that fucking lucky. He had a tough act to follow after Beijing, who absolutely tore it down with a mind blowing event causing many worldwide viewers to get a sick boner for the pageantry possibilities of totalitarian society. It was clear that, regardless of your stance on the monarchy, the Jubilee celebrations sucked a big bag of dicks and it seemed to be down to a phone-this-in attitude on the part of the organisers and an ambivalent attitude on the part of the public. They were not hostile to the Queen – they may even have liked her, but that’s not the same as giving a rat’s ass about her 600th year of pissing off Charles by not abdicating.
A similar ambivalence prevailed towards The Olympics. Reactions ranged from a very weak “yaay” from the terminally timid to the outright hostile. The nationwide scenes of jubilation when we won the games were more down to us beating the French at something than any interest in playing host. How could Boyle redress this? He had to know going in that he was effectively a one-man pep squad for the nation and a feelgood factor was the very least we demanded. It began with a pre-filmed countdown – a headlong point-of-view tear through That London – leading to the ringing of The Big Bell by Bradley Wiggins who has just won the Tour de France and therefore earned it unlike an awful lot of the shitheels here on the IOC gravy train.
“Kenneth Branagh turded around as Isambard Kingdom Brunel sucking on a cigar. It was a triumph. Britain was not going to fuck this thing up.”
The lunacy began with a large lump of land representing the English countryside, dotted with smiling peasantry dancing around maypoles, playing crude early versions of football, cricket and British Bulldogs. Then came the Industrial Revolution, represented by giant chimneys shooting up out of the ground and furnaces manned by sweating grunts. It’s rural upheaval, motherfuckers, and soon the peasants were dancing like they were The Kids from Fame. The thunk and crunk of industry was brought home by Evelyn Glennie who rattled the stadium with her Kate Bush circa Hounds of Love percussion – quickly everybody had a drum and was belting the shit out of it. This was terribly impressive. Kenneth Branagh turded around as Isambard Kingdom Brunel sucking on a cigar (unlit, naturally). The grunts fashioned five rings and they ascended, coalesced and glowed as if bound to some arcane satanic ritual. It was a triumph. Britain was not going to fuck this thing up.
Helpful commentary was provided by the BBC from Bluw Edwards, Hazel Pervine and Trevor Nelson or Trevor Fucking Nelson as he fast became known on Twitter. Clueless even by Radio One DJ standards, Nelson dropped a succession of Partridgeisms throughout the evening: “my cousin’s in this one”, “expect the next four decades in a montage”, “That’s what it’s all about” (upon seeing an athlete in a pink wig) and appeared at one point to imply that white health service workers have no natural rhythm. What a cock.
Perhaps the strangest interlude was the film “Happy and Glorious” that featured Daniel Craig as James Bond arriving in Buckingham Palace to chat up The Queen. “Good evening Mister Bond” said Elizabeth II, her single line, which she delivered well. It wasn’t her first acting role – she pretended to give a fuck about Diana’s death in 1997 (mixed reviews for that one). The reigning monarch and Craig travelled in a helicopter along the Thames and then parachuted into the stadium. It was a very Oscar night bit of humour but it brought the house down. Having said that, she looked a right miserable bitch for most of the ceremony and the Puke of Edinburgh fared no better. He’s insisting on DNR the next time his heart stops and who could blame him? The ruling class can never be at ease at an event like this.
“David Cuntmoron watched as a giant tribute to the NHS unfolded which had nurses wheeling beds around in scenes eerily reminiscent of Dandy Warhols’ Not If You Were the Last Junkie On Earth video.”Certainly not Prime Minister David Cameron who sat watching as a giant tribute to the NHS unfolded which had members of Great Ormond Street Hospital staff wheeling beds with patients in around in scenes eerily reminiscent of Dandy Warhols’ Not If You Were the Last Junkie On Earth video. This eulogy to everything Cuntmoron is trying to destroy was pointed and devastating. Boyle expanded on his rationale for his approach: “We hope, too, that through all the noise and excitement you’ll glimpse a single golden thread of purpose – the idea of Jerusalem – of the better world, the world of real freedom and true equality, a world that can be built through the prosperity of industry, through the caring nation that built the welfare state, through the joyous energy of popular culture, through the dream of universal communication. A belief that we can build Jerusalem. And that it will be for everyone.”
In other words: fuck you, Ayn Rand reading slime – this land is ours. Social responsibility trumps individual responsibility. Tories were represented by giant fairytale monsters trying to kill children in their beds but the day was saved by JK Rowling and the workers of the NHS. This, more than any other, was the emotional high point of the evening.
The desire to chronicle the digital age confused the show thematically – runty little bastards texting what passes for their thoughts on screen was inane although the starring role given to Tim Berners-Lee, creator of the Inturdnet, felt, if not exactly appropriate, well earned. Muhammad Ali turned up looking the deadest thing alive enough to have strength to die. It was a shame Smokin’ Joe Frazier was not around to say “I did that to him”. The Now That’s What I Call Music medley of British pop music history was pretty shitty and it was lucky Mister Bean was on call to offer some comic relief with Hymen Rattle conducting the LSO and chewing scenery like his life depended on it. David Beckham brought the torch to the stadium along the Thames, actually piloting the boat which was pretty fucking cool.
It ended, as these things always must, with a colossal nausefest. Steve Redgrave and sundry other Olympic helmets nominating youngsters to light the cauldron. “Won’t somebody think of the children?” went out the cry. Don’t they always? This was the live-action version of Lisa Simpson‘s class’s moronic “Children! Children! Future! Future!” song which bravely posited that the future will be shaped by those still alive to shape it. After that it was only left for Paul McCartney to stink the place out with Hey Fucking Jude then everyone could piss off home.
What a strange and definitively British ceremony it was. Every nation is defined by its quirks and none come quirkier than the deferential, paranoid, uptight island race that built history’s largest empire, invented popular music, the steam engine, Benny Hill and the first democratic welfare state. It would take a bigger churl than I not to applaud this and walking embodiment of no-talent nice-school privileged fuckwaddery Toby Dung proved this with his tweet “I feel like I’ve just watched a £27 million Party Political Broadcast for the Labour Party”. If Danny Boyle was looking for an endorsement that would trump every rave review showered on Beijing then this was it. A knighthood, lifetime of free drinks and blowjobs from 22-year-old IOC interns are but a formality. Good job, son – you can now exhale.
The verdict on Olympics opening ceremony: N-H-S! N-H-S!
Marks out of 10: 8
Imagined: Saturday, July 28 2012