This started as a letter to my friend Carlyn Girl and ended up being both a letter and a rather long blog entry so I hope you will all like it and not be bothered too much for the personal moments I share and my commentary during the ceremonies.
I took away many things from the opening ceremony of the Olympics. The opening had an English boy’s choir singing a song, “Jerusalem”, which they said is kind of England’s “unofficial” national anthem. It’s a song I have come to love from the first time I heard it some 17 years or so ago now when I bought a compact disc by the group Emerson, Lake and Palmer (known as ELP). They were/are a band from England that really did a lot with Electronic music and they performed the song Jerusalem and it became a song I love till today. The young boy who sang the solo at the beginning did a wonderful job and it may have been the highlight of the ceremony for me when it was followed by the song Danny Boy. Danny Boy was the song I sang to my father the last time I saw him alive in the hospital, which was about two weeks before he passed away... interestingly enough it’s only about a week from now when that moment will be 7 years past. It’s the first of a few occasions when I was nearly moved to tears as silly as that might sound.
I thought that the entrance they did for the Queen having her flown in from Buckingham Palace by James Bond and jump out of a helicopter was quite funny. I liked that England can laugh at its self a little bit while also taking pride in the symbols and history of their country. I thought the whole industrial revolution thingy was cool, but a little bit boring. With so much stuff going on it wasn’t easy to follow all the time. I do like the idea of celebrating some of the things that made the country great.
Sometimes it is easy for me to forget how inexorably linked my country is to England and there were a few moments that I found very moving as I have already mentioned. One weirdly moving moment for me was when they sung the actual British National Anthem because there is an extremely popular American tune that was set to the same music, called My Country ‘tis of Thee which I learned as child in school. It seems a little bit mean in a way that we would take the tune from their national anthem for such a patriotic American song, and yet it also almost made me tear up when I heard it, as I put the American lyrics to the tune. I’m not an uber-patriot or an, I love America chest thumper and yet the Olympics and events where America is on world display can bring out the sappy American patriot in me.
I loved the celebration of British children’s literature. I thought it had a lot more organization to it then the Industrial Revolution set and there was a lot more I could relate to personally having read or been read all the stories from which the villains and of course Mary Poppins appeared. I thought the dancing was well done and it was cute to see all the little ankle-biters bopping happily up and down on their beds.
I thought that the television and music retrospective was the coolest of all the opening performances. They made a cute little story out of it and they mentioned how the girl they picked for the lead in the story had a ton of charisma and they had trouble finding a boy who could match it. I thought he was good, but she looked like she was having an absolute blast and I think she stole that performance undoubtedly. When they played Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody it reminded me of the time I was driving back from Schenectady with my friend Krystal and the song came on in the car and I sang all the lyrics along with it. She seemed to really like it and it was one of my really fond memories of the times we shared together, so that elicited a fond memory which was cool. I’ve heard that song tons of times since I sang it that night and the memory hadn’t come to me… it was seeing everyone singing along with it and the scene from Wayne’s World where they all sing the song in the car that brought it back to me. It was also just cool to see so many people dancing and having fun. There’s nothing like taking in a site of people having a good time. It was also informative as I never knew the guy who came up with the World Wide Web was from England. I like how they showed Prince Charles as well as the Queen, Harry, William and Kate. Charles and Camilla look like they were/are really enjoying it. The rest of the Royal family seems quite stoic.
I a bit selfishly thought that David Beckham should have had Posh Spice with him while he comes to the stadium with the torch in a boat, on the Themes I’m assuming (insert question mark), because she’s nicer for me to look at. The NBC coverage kind of kicked away after that for a bit to show us an interview with Michael Phelps (who isn’t walking in the opening ceremony for the U.S.A). I was a bit annoyed that they did that. While I like the Olympics to be about America once it comes down to the events. On opening night it should be about A. The World and B. The host country, and in my opinion, nothing else after that. There’s plenty of time for all the U.S.A. hype and excitement once the events begin… it was typical of the U.S. media to pull that interview out at that time, and in my opinion a bit in poor taste.
I like the little facts they give during the procession of Nations here. I feel like it’s a disadvantage to the Muslim nations to be competing during the month of Ramadan when they must fast. I bet they do not use that as an excuse though and I admire the strict adherence they have to their religious beliefs. I never knew that England and Argentina had fought a war over the Falkland Islands. They mentioned there was a controversial pre-Olympics commercial where one of the Argentinean athletes exercises on a British soldier’s monument in the Falkland Islands and a caption says “going to compete in England from Argentinean soil”. I have seen many of the marchers dancing around along with waving which makes me happy. I like when they dance and have a good time with the opening ceremony.
Out of the 205 countries marching in the opening ceremony 81 of them have never won an Olympic medal! :0 Oh my! Go 81 countries without a medal! J Chile and China both had a lot of good looking athletes! Must be a Chi or “life force” thing I suppose. China is going to give us some tough competition on the overall medals I think. I like stories of redemption and there is a Chinese hurdler who missed the Beijing Olympics even though he was a favorite. It would be nice to see him do well. Keep him in mind when we bet on the track and field events Carlyn. ;) Oh and Denmark is the most competitive non Asian nation in badminton ( I don’t think we’re betting on that though) I am a gentleman giving out my inside info, if I do say so myself. =P
France, Germany and Finland were really partying it up when they came out to Stayin’ Alive. The Finnish Women were FINEish looking if I may note that. I liked how a lot of the German athletes were carrying each other on one another’s shoulders. The announcers remarked how fast this procession is moving relative to some past Olympics and I most definitely concur. As they remarked, the upbeat music that has been playing is a big help in generating excitement and speed in the marchers.
Is Hungry a sunny country because all their athletes who were marching seemed quite well tanned? =O It being the fortieth anniversary of the tragedy when 8 Israli athletes were killed during the Munich Olympics it would have been nice to see the IOC agree to hold a moment of silence in their remembrance but they decided against that. L The South Koreans looked really happy which makes me want to cheer for them. Apparently they specialize in Archery? Who knew?
The Maldives has one of the highest literary levels for any country worldwide even though they are the lowest or closest country to sea level in the world. I must give credit to NBC’s Olympics coverage for that tid bit of information. I bet our Maldivian fans here could write this about 100x better than I could. Just goes to show you that those high oxygen levels must be good for the brain. Don’t forget to breathe deeply Carlyn.
The Irish are good in boxing? Shocker! The Philippines are too, but everyone knew that of course, pfft! The announcer just pronounced Qatar as *cutter* is that right? I always kind of rhymed it with Guitar. We have had visitors from Qatar on our site. A little help here please??? WOW! A lot of the fans from the crowd seem to have left looking at a long shot of the stadium. I imagine it must be late and not the MOST exciting thing to be sitting through all these countries marching. If I bought a ticket to that, I’m staying for the whole thing and they may have to drag me from the stadium afterwards. I want my money’s worth. I can always sleep the week after the Olympics are over. Perhaps everyone has just moved down to the front though to view the athletes, plus Great Britain is up last as the host country. I love Senegal’s bright yellow outfits, very becoming. Ironic because yellow is one of my lesser favorite colours and yet the yellow contrasts their dark skin so nicely and really stands out and radiates.
South Africa has an athlete with prosthetic legs. What a story? I hope he does well and it is amazing to show how physically injured or handicapped peoples can compete on equal footing (no pun intended) with fully able-bodied athletes. Was Charlie Brown from Sweden? After looking at their outfits I’m beginning to second guess where he was born. YAY while Tanzania was marching they made a side reference to the New York Mets pitcher R.A. Dickey during the ceremony because he climbed Mount Kilimanjaro this past winter (winter in the Northern hemisphere) for charity (raising money to help prevent young girls from being sold into sex-trafficking). Let’s Go Mets (my favorite baseball team here in the U.S.A.)! The Ukraine has cool hats, I’m jealous. A nice hat like that would be good for a bear on a cold winter’s day. >.< *rubs head*
Go U.A.E. my e-granddaughter BoMa hails from there so I hope they will do well. OH AND YAY the United States are coming next! OH NOES! >.< The U.S. outfits look absolutely horrid! Seeing as the U.S. outfits were made in China this year (not in the U.S.A., noting too that China is one of our fiercest competitors) I ’m claiming sabotage and starting some early Olympic controversy. Explain yourself China, how could you make outfits like that for us? J >.< and we trusted you? (still do <3 love from America). Please don’t call us on our debt or we’ll be sending one athlete to the 2016 Olympics in Brazil and his name will be Bill Gates (the only one who will be able to afford to make it there). Oh YAY Brazil btw and congratulations on the 2016 nomination, the first for a South American nation I hear.
Vanuatu has very colourfull outfits. It’s hard to see the other nations now because they keep focusing back on the U.S. contingent. YAY Great Britain! Jolly good job hosting the opening ceremonies! *tips the cool winter hat I’m hoping to find at Christmas time*. Great Britain’s outfits look very tennis or cricket like, they really like the colour white it seems.
YAY Arctic Monkeys! I bet that you look good on the dance floor Carlyn! ;) (even when you’re doing “the exhausted” wink, wink, nudge, nudge) How old is that song now? Was that the 1990s or early 2000s? Nice cover of the Beatles too. The butterflies are freaking me a bit. They look cool though. Okay… I’m going to give a dollar to Carlyn for every time William or Kate smiles. Sorry Carlyn. >.<
OMG I’m tired. It’s 11:23 pm here in America (because of our tape-delayed start). 11:00 pm is my bed time. Come on… light the torch!!! LIGHT THE TORCH!!! *brings up the chant* I can’t believe how many volunteers took part. I think that is a great tribute to the people of Great Britain. YAY QUEEN!!!! YAY OLYMPICS! GO WORLD!!!! I hope everyone competes with class and dignity, representing their countries well. YAY Muhammad Ali! Ali boombaye!!!! YAY Olympic anthem! Nice little diddy, but it’s starting to make me fall to sleep. You can’t play a lullaby now when it’s past my bed time Olympic organizers! As anyone reading this can probably tell, I’ve grown a bit punchy over the course of the night and my coverage of the events.
YAY TORCH! Be careful going up all those steps sir! >.< I wonder who will light the torch? So much suspense! =O *bites paws/claws* OOOhhhh.. cool flame lighting ring, that must be quite a sight in person ( I like that England chose 7 athletes and not just one person). Cool, I also like how they raised it into the caldron. AS a Harry Potter fan I’d like to be the first to throw my name into the Goblet of Fire now! At 36 I think I’m allowed two entries seeing as I surpass the cut off age 2 times over. Oh, wrong British event. Sorry. >.< Now they are playing the Olympics’ theme song by Muse that I’m not really a big fan of, but the Olympic Cauldron looks beautiful. Nice touch with Paul McCartney singing at the finish. Personally I’d have liked to see XTC my favorite British band, but they never perform live due to their lead singer’s stage fright. I’m sure that’s why they weren’t asked. >.< Well and the fact that they haven’t performed together since the early 2000s. YAY opening ceremony! BRAVO London! I hope all fans enjoy the games as much as I did the opening ceremony.
God Bless all of you who read this as my account may have been as long as the processional itself. >.< Good luck to all our countries as they compete for medals. J