I guess like the other 27 million households I was actually captivated by Danny Boyle’s opening ceremony last Friday. I was also awash with a large amount of beer after a particular irksome week and some outrageously sunny weather. Let that not take away from what was a spectacular triumph despite my obvious drunkenness when Team GB finally walked in, it delivered where in fact all of us would struggle to define what Britishness is. Like a lot of big events the opening ceremony was also an enjoyable twitter fuck fest as the simmering crowd blurted out some hilarious stuff ( even funnier after the taking of cold drinks). Particularly focusing on Trevor Nelsons hapless but hilarious commentary, two actual examples; “Sierra Leone, that was my first car” when the team walked in and after mentioning that 3D coverage was on the red button “any of you got a 3d telly, they’re really good” to his fellow sombre presenters topping off an interesting fact about Stratford being the birthplace of Grime, right on so many levels. Where Danny Boyle got it right was focusing on the four major triumphs, we did practically invent everything, intrinsically as a nation we do like to take the piss (what other country would throw there head of state out of a helicopter for a giggle) the unmatched cultural heritage (Shakespeare, pop music and children’s stories) and our greatest success the NHS.
In some quarters using the NHS is seen as leftism, but I honestly believe as a civilised society it is our greatest achievement, if you get sick in this country, then all of us look after you. We may complain about mythical foreigners abusing it, fake boobs babes wasting money on it and all the other Daily Mail bollocks, but as a nation it should be celebrated that the British above all else are the greatest humanitarians on the planet.
There is no doubt that the whole thing made uncomfortable viewing for a conservative government so hell bent on dismantling the NHS. I was almost sure at one point a giant Thatcher was going to crush the smelting miners as well.
I seriously didn’t expect to watch the whole thing and if you’d would have asked me to express being British beforehand, it would be queuing for petrol, warm beer in plastic glasses and unexpected items in the baggage area, but now I have a drunkenly skewed definition and it feels slightly more positive about the whole being British (when it suits me, I’m welsh really and I love it that the welsh boys are refusing to sing god save the queen at footy). I also went out to watch the torch go by and I didn’t expect to be so moved and elated by that experience and I’m, not even sure I can articulate why I felt that way. Trudging down the road early with my son under the pretence that if I hadn’t of taken him I would have got a bollocking when he was older, but actually I really glad I did it, it touched me and I had a strange teary eye.
It was noticeable that a large element of Britpop was missed out of the music, I guess to distance itself from New Labour when we all last got this excited ( that ended in bitter disappointment), but then Blur are closing it, Christ knows we need to move on from the Beatles.
This is also the second major event to sort of pass me by, first the euro’s now this. I caught a bit the cycling time trials but the lovely Stormplum likes doing sport but has no interest in watching in it and I’m rather enjoying the fact of being free from Sport and enjoying her company, instead of becoming a couch potato shackled by the confines of sport, I’m sort of picking at it on the highlights using twitter as the new feed and dipping in where I fancy. The excellent online coverage by the BBC is another British triumph you can watch anything live or hit a highlight button and the choice is unparalleled and does make you wonder, wherever the next Olympics is will the BBC be able to offer the same level of coverage then?