It was an historic moment when the eyes of the world were on London, when everyone was questioning if we could outdo Beijing, and when many people asked if we could pull it off.
Last night’s opening ceremony to London 2012 answered all the questions with a gusto that would have Zeus clapping in admiration from the top of Mount Olympus. Danny Boyle pulled off an Olympian feat, orchestrating a show that was epic but at the same time subtle.
London’s West End is famous for its array of theatres, but it was in the East End that arguably the greatest show was performed.
There is no need to recap the timeline of the show that was watched by an estimated one billion people worldwide. It was the ceremony’s Britishness that was particularly striking about it, from the sequence about the NHS to the Queen’s skydiving entrance with Mr Bond, and this is where the genius lies.
The fireworks at the end were short, but they were snappy, to the point, and perhaps understated. Yet this is no way a negative point because this too is perhaps a very British occurrence. The show revolved around Boyle’s vision of the UK’s multifaceted personality, from the Punks to Dizzee Rascal, and even the humour of non other than Rowan Atkinson.
The UK is not about flashy fireworks and showing the world how many lasers we have. It is about exactly what Danny Boyle made, and that is a beautifully constructed, subtle and humorous display of the making of our nation.
Being a film director, perhaps Boyle was not the most obvious choice for this type of event. But he definitely came to the party weaving his film experience into the ceremony. And lets face it, nobody in the world is really an ‘Olympic Ceremony Director’, but we may have just found one in Boyle.
This ceremony was not just for the spectators to drop their jaws at, it certainly has wider political implications. The official Twitter
account for Downing Street, @Number10gov tweeted: ‘The Opening Ceremony has been a great showcase for this country. It’s more proof Britain can deliver.’ The opening ceremony was a slap in the face to critics of the Olympics and Britain. It was a triumph showing that despite the G4S scandal, despite the havoc on the roads, and despite complaints over airport security checks, the UK is ready to hit the ground running.
David Cameron has definitely used the Olympic Games as a chance to try and kick start the economy by gathering delegates from around the world together to announce that Britain is “open for business”.
The ceremony is just the start of what will be a highly political event for the UK government. So far so good though. Boyle’s creation certainly set us in the right direction, but lets just hope it is not merely a false start.