London welcomed the world to the Olympics last night with an opening ceremony that was, well.... interesting. A veritable crazy-quit of all things Britannic, the ceremony began with a pale, pastoral scene that was neither attention-getting or exciting. Miss Ginger is pretty sure it was supposed to represent the beginnings of the British Isles, but it seems to her there were some really important parts we skipped- Shakespeare and Stonehenge, come to mind.
After the little maypole dancers literally rolled up the grass and hauled it off-stage, we obsessed for what seemed like hours over the dark, dingy, grey depiction of the industrial revolution. Miss Ginger gets that Great Britain led the world in the industrial revolution, and that the east end of the city, where the stadium sits, was the center of it all, but the building of those grey smokestacks by the people in black and brown outfits was just dreary! The only redeeming part was the pyrotechnics at the end, when the rings rose from the forge in a shower of flames.
The pace and color did pick up a bit with the entrance of the Queen. Here's the part where one would expect a certain amount of droll pageantry; instead, we celebrated British slapstick by parachuting Her Majesty into the cheering stadium along with Bond- James Bond! That was an Olympic moment that won't soon be forgotten, and made the whole thing worth watching in Miss Ginger's opinion!
After that, it just got kind of goofy. While she admires the Brits' pride in their National Health System, and wonders aloud if America could ever take national pride in any government program, she thought the whole sequence of kids in pale pajamas dancing on beds, with nannies dressed in black parabrelling down from the rafters kind of boring and, again, colorless. Then something about scary dreams- the scariest of which was the enormous inflatable child that was just plain creepy! Bi-racial kids dancing with iPhones- jet packs- British music tribute- it all became a boring blur around this part.
The parade of athletes reeled it back in, and Miss G couldn't help but notice the number of handsome tennis players that seemed to be selected to carry the flags of so many countries! She's going to have to add tennis to her list of sports to watch! With each country's arrival came another petal for the Olympic cauldron, and once they were all in place, the arrival of the Olympic flame by speedboat on the Thames was unique and clever.
The wrap up performance by Sir Paul McCartney was special for Miss G in a tug-at-your-heart kind of personal way that could only be appreciated by GingerNation. "Hey, Jude" has one of those weird, warm childhood memories for her. As a tiny boy, probably around 3 or 4, Baby Boy G would go up to Bubba Arthur's room and beg him: "Artie, sing our song" to which Artie (who was NOT a musician) would say "Why do you want me to sing it? It always makes you cry!" I would, of course, tell him, "No! I'm not gonna cry this time- I promise!" and after much pleading, could get him to sing the song. And, of course, I would cry. I'm still not sure why... I guess because he was singing about a "sad song", and making things better. Anyway, by the time we would get to the na na na na's, I would join in singing, and he would tickle me, and we would end up laughing, and singing, and tickling and giggling 'til Daddy yelled for us to be quiet! So now, any time she hears "Hey, Jude" Miss G gets misty eyed.
So, we didn't get the colorful, precise spectacle we saw in Beijing- in fact, we got very little color at all. Or precision, for that matter. But what we did get was an interesting, loud, uniquely British start to the games.
Did you watch, GingerSnaps? What did you think of the games?