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Sunday, 29 July 2012

Lancashire lad captures the essence

Like a lot of other people, I enjoyed the Olympic opening ceremony. Danny Boyle communicated a real sense of what it means to be a Brit without any element of misplaced nationalism or overweening pride. An Australian commentator described it as 'boastful self-depreciation' (great use of an oxymoron),  which is pretty spot on.  Rather than trying to compete with China's impressive display of autocratic  imperial grandeur we stuck to what we're best at: a spot of Shakespeare, a big nod to the significance of the industrial revolution and some good tunes. It was great to celebrate children's literature, whilst reminding the Tory grandees that the NHS and the work of our nurses  is something to cherish as well as to be proud of.

Overall It was a grand* cerebration of who we are and what matters to us from social networking to the suffragettes. There was something really symbolic about the forging of the Olympic ring. It reminded the world of Britain's industrial heritage but went beyond it. It made me think of all the people who labour long and hard, all over the world. It reminded me of the people working at the Olympics, not only the army of volunteers, but those working bloody hard to earn a crust  in places like McDonalds, those  working in  fast food outlets in almost every major town, city and airport the world over. It reminded me of those who sweat a living making sports clothes and trainers for athletes and 'hoodies' alike; the army of factory workers who produce the clothes on almost everyone's backs. It was hats off to  labour, literature and popular culture and who the heck could complain about that?

I read in Saturday's paper that Boyle himself invited Frank Turner to sing  'I still Believe' prior to the ceremony. Great publicity for an underrated singer songwriter, bringing him to a massive audience and allowing Boyle to convey the sense of hope we may not always wear on our cynical sleeves but which lies well protected in our collective heart.  Someone posted it on You Tube.(It was taken off later.)

*Usage note: 'grand' in the sense of Lancashire dialect for bloody good rather than to denote magnificence.

2 comments:

mmp said...

i didn't watch the opening....and havn't caught it yet either


it's being saved for a special moment

Joan Barleycorn said...

Greetings. :)Hope I didn't spoil it too much but it was everywhere the other week.
Hope you good.