Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Monday, 13 August 2012

The spell is broken : London Olympics closing catastro-f**k

A very long time ago I was a school kid entranced by the Montreal Olympics. I followed subsequent Olympics through Moscow and Los Angeles and Daly Thompson was my hero.

Slowly over the years the fuss and pomposity of track and field coverage has got in the way of our national gladiatorial soap opera (football) and the subsequent Olympics became an irritation to be avoided.

Then came London, and after the huge money lavished on the capital on a variety of different projects (millennium dome, wembley stadium etc etc) I was very against holding an Olympics here. It just seemed idiotic to lavish even more attention on a place already so detached from the rest of the UK.

That was, until Mitt Romney opened his mouth. Just for a moment I hesitated in my cynicism, cancelled my plans for the Friday night and watched Danny Boyle's opening ceremony. I was completely blown away. I couldn't sleep until 2.30am that night and was buzzing for days. It wasn't perfect but the intelligence, imagination and sheer bravery of staging just blew me away.

Then, caught in the spell, I fell in love with the Olympics again. I even appreciated the idea of it in the various venues in London. Beach volleyball and Benny Hill at Horseguards parade, Over The Moon equestrian jumps at Greenwich ... even knowing this was so magical only  because of the previous fortunes lavished on the capital could not take away the spectacle. It really was good.

Then I fell for the individual stories of Jess, Ennis,  Mo Farah (and training partner Galen Rupp getting an incredible silver in the 10K), and the boxers and swimmers. I spent one entire Thursday watching the Taekwondo and BMX from 10am to 10pm.

Not only the medals but also the general running of the event seem to go ahead flawlessly. It was surreal and serene. It was almost as if all the negatives of the Olympics were saving themselves to appear in some final disaster. Perhaps on the final day terrorists would nuke the marathon?

Well we can now say, in a moment of karmic and cosmic balancing that the closing ceremony, aka The Bonfire of Careers, was the diametric opposite of the opening ceremony. I am no huge patriot, but where Danny Boyle's Isles of Wonder was like finding on old photograph of yourself in your prime, the stage manager of Take That's attempt on the same thing for the closing ceremony was like catching yourself in the mirror looking old pathetic and lonely.

Perhaps my "favourite" moment from that excruciating car crash of garbage was the tribute to Bram Stoker's Dracula by ... Annie Lennox. I was half expecting a tribute to Frankenstein by Sheena Easton to follow.

I'm too depressed now to even think about the rest of it. I could spend all day taking it apart and actually I should have stayed up until 2.30am last night to get it out of my system but I have't got time for bile anymore.

Come back soon Olympics, I'm sorry for doubting you, and if the closing ceremony was cruel revenge on us cynics I will try to be less of a bitter idiot in future.

Sent from my iPhone