Saturday, August 09, 2008


I flicked on the television this morning and caught some earnest looking men swimming laps and really putting their backs into it. So, no Hairy Bikers on Saturday Kitchen then. Of course it was the Olympics. I should have realised because I’d been watching the stunning opening ceremony yesterday afternoon.

Now, I know China should be frowned upon for the human rights abuses and whatever – although I don’t think the American and the lapdog British governments should really do any finger pointing – but that was a fucking brilliant show they put on. I didn’t catch all of it (which meant I luckily missed Sarah Brightman caterwauling away) but from the Fou drumming that opened the ceremony and the 3,000 students of Confucius, through to the remarkable giant scroll that rolled across the stadium floor to illustrate the discovery of paper, later moveable type, and then Chinese trade through the Silk Road.

I thought Western leaders were supposed to be boycotting the ceremony because the Chinese have stepped on the odd Tibetan, but there was Dubya up in the stands. Where was Gordon Brown? If Blair was still PM obviously he’d be in line for the concession stands, getting hotdogs and soda for George and his pal Vladimir. Blair may be a grinning war criminal but at least he’s not a dour, doughy Scotsman who couldn’t run a fucking bath let alone a country, so he’s still got that going for him. Maybe the Beijing Olympic Committee was akin to the China White people, telling Brown that useless tits simply weren’t welcome.

Of course the problem with watching the fantastical opening ceremony make us think that in four years time it’s going to be happening in London. Oh, deary, deary me. Beijing had previously invited Steven Spielberg to be involved in the ceremony, but he bailed because China wasn’t doing enough to resolve the crisis in Darfur, or some other backtracking twaddle, and went on to shit a rubbish Indiana Jones film all over us. Instead it was left to Zhang Yimou, director of Raise the Red Lantern and House of Flying Daggers to provide the spectacle. Does that mean we’ll get Guy Ritchie?

Yes, we can big up our history and traditions, bigging up all the things that have made this country great like Shakespeare and Wordsworth, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Chaucer, caning the Spanish Armada, the Industrial Revolution, The Battle of Britain, tea drinking and The Beatles, Sherlock Holmes and Bulldog Drummond. Except in the last few decades all the industries have been sold off so we don’t really produce anything anymore leaving football hooligans, hoodies and skank celebrities and shit public transport. Is that what we’re going to promote?

Although, expecting to have a wow-wee opening ceremony in four years means expecting the Olympic Park to actually be finished in time. I don’t imagine anyone is seriously putting money on that. So we’ll probably end up with an artistic interpretation of hoodies stabbing each other’s heads off, in amongst a pile of graffiti-covered rubble. I think the best bet would be to have the allegedly corrupt and money-grabbing 2012 Olympic Committee and their associated flunkies strung up on the approaches where they could be freely beaten and blowtorched by the mob. Now, that would be great entertainment.


At 10:24 pm, Blogger Ian said...

London's going to be embarrassing isn't it?!

I have zero interest in the olympics but found myself watching a large chunk of it over the weekend on BBC HD TV, being stuck at my mother's over the weekend with nothing else to do.

Must say the BBC coverage is impressive in hi-def, although it shows how awfully old Sue Barker looks, and it doesn't help when she keeps talking to completely the wrong camera.

What's depressing is how quickly we've followed the American "dumb it all down, repeat everyting every half hour on the half hour, and over-hype the hell out of everything" model. While I found myself gawping at the beautiful hi-def imagery I eventually had to turn the sound off it was so annoying.

At 10:35 pm, Blogger qrter said...

You really thought that opening ceremony was impressive?

Seemed awfully gaudy to me, as if they were overcompensating for all the human rights violations.

At 12:04 am, Blogger Good Dog said...


I don’t really give a shit about it either. Apart from the women’s volleyball. This morning I caught a couple minutes of the women swimming sessions before it was time for Desert Island Discs.

Actually, there was one thing that marred what I saw of the opening ceremony and that was the commentary by Huw Edwards, Hazel Irvine and some other woman that wasn’t Sue Barker. They actually started making some snarky comments about the Chinese culture and their cultural legends. I really wished someone cut their microphones and told them to fuck right off.

What they do for England will be a right fucking embarrassment. Yes, we have a great history but it’ll no doubt be badly done. I mean, after the monumental cock up that was the Dome... you know, they’ll probably hire those same people.


No, I thought what I saw was just magnificent. I can’t think right now, but what, it all went a bit wobbly after the Cultural Revolution? But what China contributed to the world is astonishing.

Years back, when I was spending Christmas in LA, there were all these banners attached to the street lamps on the road that ran beside the 101 as it curved up from Hollywood and swept down into the Valley by Universal. And the freaking banners were about celebrating some damn anniversary of California (or some other damn thing), and they would say stuff like, chicken was first put on pizza in the state. Bloody marvellous! Oh, well done you! So here’s America, the land of the free and the not so often brave, and what they’ve given the world is the atom bomb, popcorn movies and fucking McDonalds. Okay, they put a man on the moon, but... the pros possibly outweigh the cons.

China on the other hand has a history that they really should celebrate. Though I wasn’t too keen on the part of the ceremony where the soldiers snapped the flag taut and goose-stepped a way across the stadium.

And far better than The Dark Knight which violated my patience.

At 8:13 pm, Blogger qrter said...

China has an enormous history, that's certainly true, but that doesn't make spangly openings of Olympic happenings any less shit, as far as I'm concerned.

Those things always look like what Eurovision would do if they had a bit more money.

On a sidenote - I've finally caved and am halfway through season 1 of The Sopranos and yes, it's fantastic. The Wire'll have to wait a bit, I'm afraid.

At 10:29 pm, Blogger Good Dog said...

Eurovision being given billions to do their.... oh, it's just too horrifying to consider.

Enjoy the rest of The Sopranos. (And then move on to The Wire).

At 9:32 am, Blogger Riddley Walker said...

Give the money to Eurovision...

Go on, you know it'd be at least entertaining if Wogan was in charge...


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