"Great" Opening Ceremony (01.08.12)
I don't know about you, but there was something altogether
uplifting about Danny Boyle's eye-opening, off-the-wall Olympics
opening ceremony. It was often confused, confusing and
confounding in the way it jumped in and around our pop
and social history. But the first half hour was particularly
spectacular, and the whole thing - warts and all - somehow
managed to present the world with a quintessential snapshot
of modern Britain and just what it is to be "British".
Alas, from a toon perspective, at first glance, we appeared
gotten short thrift. There were no obvious cartoon creations
No Bagpuss or Bob the Builder, or Mr Men or Wombles, or Rupert,
or Dennis the Menace. But if you were watching closely, there
at least two toon cameos worth noting here for posterity.
The first was the appearance of a Yellow
Submarine, towards the
start of the performance, as the Sgt Pepper era Beatles took
stadium. The second was slightly more surprisingly, coming in the
form of Raymond Briggs'
Snowman. It's a cameo that slipped my
attention until animator/director Roger Mainwood dropped us
Roger's been hard at work
on "The Snowman II", of course. That's
the film sequel that's launching towards the end of this year,
Mr Briggs' blessing. Anywho, Roger steered me towards the
and TV montage, playing on the exterior of that suburban house
halfway in to the ceremony. And sure enough, there was our
flying friend, flashing up as Annie Lennox sang "Sweet
Cheers for that, Roger!
So we at least got two toons. But you know, The Hound reckons
there was a third, only, this one came in the form of an idea.
that pervaded the whole ceremony. You see, as he was watching
night's procession this dawg was reminded very much of that
brilliant, award-winning Bob Godfrey film Great.
Like that film,
we had the central conceit of Brunel, presenting himself to
world, and just like that film, his appearance was accompanied
by a riotous Rolodex of images and footage and sights, sounds
and songs. That bizarre juxtapositioning and satirical tone
the opening ceremony forward to its climax, and the lighting
of its unique flame - one that will burn throughout the
of the Games. As for the Ceremony itself, well, that will surely
burn bright in the memory for much, much longer. And,
it was most certainly "great"...