As it happened: the 2012 Olympic opening ceremony
|February 8, 2012||Posted by Cameron MacLeod under satire|
The BBC breakfast team have appeared almost animated lately, stirred from their humourless comas in anticipation of one of the last great distractions from the impending yet frustratingly ambiguous apocalypse. The London 2012 Olympics are making an overstated swagger into the headlines. Most recently, Danny Boyle has hinted at how the £81mn ceremonies budget might be spent.
Naturally, Boyle’s involvement in the process loaned it some credibility, and I admit that, for the first time, talk of the Olympics evoked a cautious and somewhat rare optimism within me. Rest assured, this was immediately nullified when the executive director of ceremonies, Stephen Daldry, said that they would be “looking at who we are, who we were and who we would wish to be.” No number of NHS workers or schoolchildren seemed quite sufficient to overcome the urge to fill the air with guttural, exasperated sobs for the ensuing hours. I was finally able to comfort myself upon realising that Steven Daldry had no idea what the hell he was going to do, and therefore might be excluded from the creative process.
With no indication whatsoever as to what might happen from Daldry, I decided that I could predict and perhaps embellish the sequences involved in the opening ceremony to a reasonable degree of accuracy, based on Boyle’s comments. Better still, there would then be no need to watch it. So, you could watch Britain draw out a tedious and haunting self-caricature for one of the longest evenings of your life, along with a billion other despondent onlookers, or you could read this (p)review and pre-emptively repress the memories of shame.
Without further unnecessary preamble, here is my prediction for the multi-million pound introduction to the multi-billion pound series of running, jumping and throwing contests.
20:12 – Pre-show, to take place prior to the opening ceremony. This part seems to serve little purpose, other than to highlight the extravagance and unique organisation of the games this year. It will likely begin with stewards in gilded high-visibility jackets distributing thousands of pounds to each of the 80,000 audience members.
20:22 – Europe’s largest money printer is unveiled in the centre of the stadium, and a digital display on screens around the stadium documents the rapid devaluation of the recently-gifted currency as tormented school pupils begin to operate the machinery, sardonic grins adoring their faces.
20:23 – A technical failure causes the screens to stop working, though the effect of the sequence is much the same.
20:50 – A markedly silent interlude begins, during which time the superfluous cash is placed on the future site of the Olympic flame. A troupe of sharply-dressed amateur dramatists then surround the dish, kneeling before it in mock prayer.
21:00 – Stephen Fry is carried to the fore, once again by schoolchildren, on a litter made of crumpets.
21:05 – Fry raises one eyebrow to the audience, propelling them through the motions of self-doubt and inadequacy.
21:07 – His job done, Stephen retires to his dressing room.
21:09 – David Beckham gives a reading from Shakespeare’s The Tempest.
21:10 – Stephen Fry returns to help David with the words he struggles with most.
21:30 – Beckham ends his reading by kicking a ball into the audience again. For one reason or another, applause breaks out.
21:31 – With the Shakespeare reading having taken up 15 minutes longer than intended, Boyle is hard-pushed to pull off the humour and NHS elements of the display, whilst still showcasing a plethora of dubiously entertaining celebrities.
21:32 – Her aluminium bonds wearing thin, an emaciated Leona Lewis is accelerated from one side of the stadium to the other on the same London bus as was used in 2008, thus ending and explaining her four-year hiatus from being a public figure.
21:33 – Bewildered NHS staff perform what is essentially a scene from a Carry On film.
21:50 – Though the scene is translated into several languages, the audience fail to treat it with the contempt it deserves, and a nervous laughter pervades the infinitely more appropriate deathly silence.
21:51 - Having exhausted most of the budget by this stage in the creative process, the producers decided to stage a re-enactment of the 2011 summer riots. Masked hooligans flood the track area.
22:10 – Said hooligans pause before carefully considering which television to steal. Having paid the highest advertising fee, Panasonic stands out as the looters’ choice.
22:20 – Amidst the chaos, vast sums are raised in advertising revenue. Still kneeling, the suited dramatists begin lurching and swaying in a circular motion, their arms held aloft.
00:00 – A ‘stray missile’ (the Olympic torch, in reality) ignites the Olympic flame. By this stage, the grounds are littered with burnt-out vehicles. The police are scheduled to arrive in the stadium during the closing ceremony, to draw a belated end to the scripted lawlessness.
With several benefactors mistakenly believing that they had attended a charity concert, the performance is bound to generate vast amounts of income, proving that cynics really have no leg to stand on when it comes to the 2012 Olympics.