Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Closing vs Opening

So I put a number of rather snarky comments about the closing ceremony, and some rather postive ones about the opening ceremony. What was the difference? Superficially, they involved dancing, spectacle, celebrating aspects of British culture and music.

Well the opening ceremony had a fairly clear theme and story to it. At each point in the show you could see what it was getting at, and what it was getting at was a message that doesn't get told much: Britain is pretty great actually. It told, through short and long vigenettes several great chapters of our history, and managed to celebrate literature, the NHS, in a clear, well told manner. It had a pretty great selection of musical choices, and was, rather importantly, about everyone. Yes there were some big names (and Paul bloody McCartney at the end), but they were actually part of the crowd of people.

The closing ceremony? Well it was chaotic. Deliberately so, but it made it messy. Batman and robin as an only fools and horses reference. A giant octopus surrounding fat boy slim. Russell Brand singing the song from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? A bloke on a tightrope walk shook the hand of a puppet that caught on fire. Wha? It was baffling, and messy, and at some points poorly organised. The musical choices were odd, and the repeat of 5 songs while the athletes came out was just inexcusable really: it felt cheap.

And of course it was a celebration of celebrity culture. Each act took their turn to come on, do their thing (two songs), and then the show would sloppily transition to the next act. Who follows always look on the bright side of life with Muse? A musical montage of David Bowie to celebrate British fashion? It felt like someone had a dartboard covered in ideas about Britain and determined the line up that way.

oh well. The opening ceremony surprised me by being brilliant, and the olympics, despite the many problems in their organisation and culture, turned out to be pretty good fun. A shame the closing ceremony ended everything with a whimper.

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