Oh Danny Boy!

July 30, 2012 8:00 pm

Despite the pessimistic guesses and raised eyebrows at the information that had been leaked for London’s plans to welcome in the 30th Olympic Games, the opening ceremony designed by Danny Boyle was a breathtakingly brilliant vibrant spectacle that encompassed a vast display of everything that is British. While no single event took priority, each scene unfolded from the last with an ease, style and imagination that kept the audience and millions of viewers in awe at the scale and precision of the event and on the edge of their seats in eager anticipation of what could possibly follow on from the last incredible scene.

Beginning with an idyllic country landscape, the ceremony took us through a history of our nation in which we saw the dramatic changes that have shaped us to who we are as a country. As the rolling green meadows were peeled away, the mood darkened as looming factory towers rose from the ground to the resounding beats of the 965 drummers in a dystopic abstract memory of the glorious industrial revolution. As the focus shifted from the tree on the hill, sweating workers were seen to be welding along a line of molten to create a glowing golden ring that was raised from the centre of the stadium. As four more rings floated in above the awestruck crowd the five interconnecting rings formed the iconic Olympic symbol that burnt with passion against the dark sky in a spectacular raw vision that celebrated all the hard work and effort that has been displayed by so many people both past and present to not only create this years Olympics but to create the country that we know and live in today.

As Danny Boyle knocked us down with such a remarkable display, it was all the crowd could do to pick their jaws up again off the ground and watch as the show went on.Woven between the folds of economic and social change was a plethora of cultural references that were accessible and enjoyable to every age, race and gender mixing the best of Britain’s comedy and class. Boyle’s motto: ‘this is for everyone,’ never rang so clear than during the NHS and the Great Ormond Street Hospital sequence in which political reality and child fiction was seamlessly blended together as well known literary characters were vividly brought to life. The idea to use literacy villains was, in my opinion, an amazing idea that showcased the richness of British literacy talent and doubled as metaphors for the hardships, difficulties and evils faced by the NHS, which is such a unique and important service, in a time where their position of being able to cater for all, regardless of wealth, is in grave danger of being lost and destroyed. Despair did not dampen the atmosphere however; as the notion of hope and security was quickly injected into this dark interlude as 32 Mary Poppin’s drifted down from the heavens to chase away the monsters of the children’s nightmares.

Humour also played a huge part in the idea of ‘being British’ and it did not let us down. From Rowan Atkinson’s lovable Mr Bean and his lonely piano note to the Queen’s first acting debut alongside Daniel Craig’s 007, the sketches were pure comedy Gold and had us in stitches. The genius of Danny Boyle’s vision was that it turned out to be a reality that could be shared by everyone. There was not one person in Britain who could not identify with at least something, if not everything in the cultural collaboration of Great Britain.

While the creation and imagination of such a performance is incredible and Danny Boyle must be praised for his efforts in directing it, the whole event could not have been possible without the dedication and enthusiasm displayed by the volunteers who took part. This again added to the core fact that at the end of the day it was a real show of the people, for the people, by the people with a genuine humanistic aspect. The Olympics at London 2012 certainly seemed to be at home, and what’s more, a home that the inhabitants were proud of.

However, the opening ceremony is just the beginning, and the next two weeks will be dedicated to supporting our athletes to perform to the best of their ability and make us as a nation even prouder. The volunteers have taken care of ‘the taking part’ aspect, and now all that’s left, is for the athletes to do ‘the winning.’

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