Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Show's Over

On Friday I started watching the late-night repeat of the Opening Ceremony for the 29th Olympiad, turning it off once the inane and snarky commentary just got too much. This afternoon, once the Closing Ceremony spectacular began, the same three commentators of Huw Edwards and the two inconsequential blondes were huddled around their microphones but this time they were obviously passed a note that read: SHUT THE FUCK UP UNTIL AN APPROPRIATE LULL IN THE PROCEEDINGS.

Unfortunately they didn’t get it until toward the end of the opening routing performed by the multitude of drummers, that included two giant drums like rounds of Edam cheese floating about the floor of the Bird’s Nest Stadium, and the marvellous choreographed routine featuring the dancers clothed in bells. But at least they dialled it down for the first explosion of fireworks.

After that, it all seemed to go very well, with them pretty much keeping out of it until there was something useful to add. Yes, it was a feast of colour and a feast of sound, but I could work that out myself without having the Fat Welshman telling me. The hand over took place between the Mayor Beijing and the Mayor of London. Good old Boris enthusiastically waved the Olympic flag to order without bumbling or tumbling. But after that...

I’ve never paid enough attention to previous Closing Ceremonies to know the drill; that the next host had an eight-minute slot to advertise their four-years-away wares. Now, obviously a different culture is going to provide something different but what in all that’s holy was that mish-mashed clusterfuck on offer all about?

The horrible cheap-looking computer graphic sequence, apparently put together by some Soho keyboard drones, looked like it was some piss-poor, misguided attempt to resurrect all that Cool Britannia bullshit. Punks and bloody Abbey Road? Oh, cock off! And then we get a ‘real’ red London bus that pulls up to a zebra crossing and a Lollipop Lady. What fucking madness was this? Is that all that’s truly representative of this country now?

I guess the alternative would have been some Morris Dancers and a bunch of those people who re-enact Civil War battles on their weekend. And if Pearly Kings and Queens turned up, marksmen would have quite probably been instructed to shoot on site, but at least they could have happily danced around Chas ‘n’ Dave belting out a tune on the old Joanna before heading into the Anderson shelter.

At least it wasn’t a bloody bendy-bus, or the fucking TARDIS. But then to add insult to injury the top deck collapsed like a village fete float that was meant to be a Transformer and up pops a winner off The X-Factor and dinosaur rocker Jimmy Page who then proceed to belt out a barely audible version of Whole Lotta Love. To add to the abomination a bunch of dancers with umbrellas cocked about like drunken ramblers trying to shelter from a storm in a telephone box.

We’d been told that the Chinese performers had been rehearsing their performances for both ceremonies for years and it showed. This load of old nonsense looked like it had been cobbled together by people still suffering the effects of a violent hangover.

So is this a taste of things to come? Just as news arrives that four of the top Olympic sponsors have decided to withdraw their financial support is the best we have to offer a kiddie picked by Blue Peter voters to hand Beckham a football? I bet the nincompoops behind the Millennium Eve fiasco in the Dome breathed a sigh of relief after they witness those eight minutes, as long as they weren’t involved again. No wonder Boris made a speedy getaway.

Once the ceremony was over and it cut from Beijing to Claudia Winkleman grinning like an idiot as she presented the party on The Mall I switched off, simply because I was too exhausted to claw my eyes out. Apparently it was just as fucking awful, which isn’t a surprise. Now, I know we should all be very patriotic and back 2012 all the way, but on the evidence presented today the wise thing to do would be to pack up and get the fuck out while we still can.


At 11:43 pm, Blogger qrter said...

"..or the fucking TARDIS"

I actually would've enjoyed that. It certainly would've been appropriately cheesy and populist.

Especially if it would've also involved 32 David Tennant-lookalikes, dancing in unison. Maybe another 32 Billie Piper lookalikes, doing a pre-recorded counter-dance, shoved in as spectral figures through dodgy CGI (which is what these Olympics seem to have been all about).

At 10:58 am, Blogger Good Dog said...

Well... I think I’m about to choke on my own vomit just thinking about it. Just as long as the D word doesnt get mentioned. Actually, we should have had the Wombles. And Katie Melua. Really, anything but the crap that was put on show would have been better. Unless it was supposed to be ironic, which I doubt.

Oh, come on... What they used computer generated fireworks over some of the cityscapes, which in hindsight might have been an error. But the rest of it, especially with the Memory Tower in the closing ceremony and the whole scroll sequence when it kicked off, along with all the spirited drumming, was just exceptional.

At 6:50 pm, Blogger qrter said...

I guess I'm just not a parade kind of guy. ;)

At 7:20 pm, Blogger Good Dog said...

I'm not a parade person either because I've hated being stuck, immobile, in massive crowds after being wedged into the middle of Central Park during the 1990 Earth Day concert, but I think the achievement of all those athletes needs to be celebrated. And if there's fireworks... bonus!

At 8:27 pm, Blogger qrter said...

You see, there's the thing (or things) - I'm not interested in sports or fireworks!

That doesn't leave a lot of room for male bonding, I can tell you!

(Except for a deep love for the zombie film genre, perhaps..)

At 8:56 pm, Blogger Good Dog said...

Is waterskiing considered a sport? Waterskiing and croquet was basically all I was interested in playing until I discovered the joys of sitting down with a cold drink. Normally I’m with Aimee Mann who sang about 4th of July fireworks being “a waste of gunpowder and sky.” But occasionally there is the time and place.

Zombie Olympics! How ace would that be? Of course during the 100 metres Simon Pegg would invade the track shouting, “Zombies don’t run!”

At 11:23 pm, Blogger Ian said...

The only amusement to be derived from the whole thing was Boris. Someone should tell the idiot not to keep putting his hands in his pockets when on show in a formal cermony.

And then when everyone's formally standing to attention he starts waving at people as if he's the queen or something.

The only thing worse than the amateur dramatics closing ceremony for London was the car crash coverage on BBC1 today. It was like the Princess Diana death all over again. Mindless, inane, repetitve crap encouraging drones to wallow in sentiment and keep repeating key phrases they'd been fed by the presenters' autocue.

Ghastly. Just utterly ghastly.


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