Opening ceremony28 July 2012
After Beijing 2008, London was going to have a hard time avoiding a let-down, but on the whole I think it has been managed. Told it cost £27million, which is half what the Chinese spent, and as a project I actually think it was substantially more complex. Most notable part is that Beijing concentrated on individuals and was very regimented, whereas London was to some extent deliberately chaotic. I doubt China would even contemplate an equivalent of Rowan Atkinson's part.
- The Good
- Given the choice of Jerusalem as a song (suspect the Welsh and Scottish will have hated that), this was clearly England's Green Fields, and how it morphs into the Industrial Revolution actually worked quite well. And Brunel even had a cigar. As an attempt at being more epic than Beijing, it clearly worked, and unlike Beijing it was not shy about darker aspects of history.
- The Bad
- On the whole I think the NHS section marked an approximate turning point in the ceremony. Yes the NHS was a world first, and my quip about having real patients as well as real staff was a little cruel, but the section was nakedly political given that the NHS has been sheltered from austerity at the expense of pretty much everything else. How it morphed into a section on Harry Potter and Mary Poppins was well executed, but I found it too cringe-worthy.
- And the Ugly
- The mobile phone section towards the end was a complete mess, and although the way he was revealed was amusing, using Tim Berners-Lee to tie it together as a British contribution was tenuous at best. Twitter & Facebook are American, Tim did the inventing in France, and the UK is actually a pretty awful place for internet start-ups. UK laws on legal liability for user content caused Twitter to relocate offices from London to Ireland.