Monday, July 30, 2012

London 2012 - Get Ahead of the Games!

Since the time I moved into London, I have unwillingly and unknowingly brought into the countdown and excitement for the London 2012.

I remember seeing the counter put on Trafalgar Square and also on my company homepage which showed ‘X’ days to London 2012 daily till the day it actually started. The mayor of London addressing the travellers almost every day and encouraging people to ‘Get Ahead of The Games’, and our Business Continuity Departments making advance preparations of ensuring their employees make it to work wading thru the predicted sea of people and choked public transport!

Today is the 1st real working day after the games have started, and I use one of the important lines of London tube (the Jubilee Line) and the DLR which connect to the core London 2012 areas with Central London, and quite surprisingly the city was less crowded than usual J .. Maybe people have been scared into making alternate plans – working from home or getting out of London all together!

In this post, I wanted to write about the Olympic opening ceremony, which will be talked about for several years, at least until the next Olympics.   

Danny Boyle was the main man behind the Opening ceremony, which was commendable and lovely in many ways, very British in its essence and feel.

The opening began with showing pre industrial revolution Britain where the main occupation was farming and animal husbandry. Traditionally dressed men and women were shown working on the fields with herds of cows, sheep and ducks grazing the green grass, Britain appeared to be like a picture from an Enid Blyton story -- it so wonderfully showed the romance of country life with splendid views, water mill, maypole dancing and all the brightly lit faces and energies. Then came in the industrial revolution and there stood tall smoke expelling chimneys and all the lovely greenness was quickly replaced by coal, and tar and steel. Am not sure if it was supposed to signify greater prosperity and happiness, but the feeling it had on me was very dark and stressful – people with grease on their faces and arms working hard on wheel pulleys and coal factories and smoke dispensing towers with '1900s English style' suited rich looking men walking around giving orders – to me it almost seemed like the era gone by was nicer and happier. Anyway, that’s my view, maybe because I am more of a country person than being a city girl..

Then came in other sequences portraying the pride of UK, the National Health Services (NHS).. the sequence only focussed on comforting children in distress.. as if no one, but children, fall sick.. *giggles* .. Naah, without being too critical, it was nice to highlight the NHS, irrespective of the fact that it is really not the loveliest health services – but then again it is free of charge and functional in its own way, and I, coming from India, should be the last person to complain about it. Characters from the famous children books, Voldemort, Peter Pan etc were brought in during the NHS show which highlighted the British contribution to world children’s books. Post this was a rather silly ‘text’ based romantic story brought in with dance and music.. Did not quite get the purpose of that..

The best part of the games was undoubtedly the funny sequences by Mr. Bean and the wow factor brought in by the female drummer (Evelyn Glennie), Mr. Bond (Daniel Craig) and David Beckham, the felicitation of inventor of www, Sir Tem Berners Lee, the bringing in the torch, the fireworks and the lighting of the petals in the end.. J

Needless to say, the English were also tripping on the sportiness of Her Majesty to agree to act in a sequence and say ‘Hello Mr. Bond’ (or was it, ‘Good Evening, Mr. Bond’??) ..

You  know, it was a nicely done opening, however, I thought since this is Olympics which is existent because of world participation, it would have been nice if a host country could have the courage to get out of ‘self boast’, ‘self projection’ or ‘I, Me, Myself’ mode and do a unified show – especially a place like London, whose world supremacy does not need any further proof, and also because London in itself is a such a multi cultural and diverse place with people from all over the world sitting next to each other in any compartment of any tube.

There were many parts of the show which was only for the British eyes and sensibilities. But don’t all host countries do exactly that? They just don’t leave any opportunity to talk about themselves. London, alas, was no different.

Nevertheless, a good show which certainly will be talked about in many years to come.


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