I hate being told what to do, how to feel, what to like and dislike, so the constant refrain from parts of the media and all parts of the government
exhorting those of us who had yet to declare ourselves infected with Olympic fever to get on with it was, to put it mildly, irritating. I’ve always enjoyed sport so it was never going to be the case that I would not eventually succomb to this extraordinary spectacle but I found my breath taken away by the genius that is Danny Boyle and the most remarkable opening ceremony that I can remember.
The surprise was a well kept secret and all credit to Danny Boyle and his team for ensuring that the bond of trust between those in the know, was achieved not through threats or reams of legaleese requiring signature and counter signature, but by a simple, sincerely stated and heartfelt plea to protect the surprise, keeping it safe for the world to enjoy. And boy didn’t we? The opening ceremony was full of so many highs and wonderful moments that it will have put a smile on the faces of even the most die-hard sceptics, keeping it there for at least the duration of the games. From the rubber-faced, comic genius of Rowan Atkinson’s Mr Bean to the incredible moment when the Queen – yes, our very real Queen – played herself and was escorted to her waiting helicopter by no less that James Bond only to then leap out, parachuting into the Olympic stadium. (Yes, I know it was a stuntman.) The whole thing was a delight; brilliant, irreverent and very clever.
Was the ceremony too left-wing or policitcally-correct? The answer depends on which side of the political spectrum you reside ono or possibly on what is in your nature. If the celebration of the best of what this country has achieved and has yet to offer leads you to react only in terms of its political leanings, then you’ve kind of missed the point. The nods to the National Health Service, our industrial age and all that is good, was being celebrated and cheered on – by us all. It was meant to enthuse and enthrall and to prepare us for 16 days of sporting excellence, allowing us to forget the eye-watering 9 billion pound cost of bringing the extravaganza to our shore and instead to remember the blood and sweat of the athletes who have worked so hard to get here. It’s their day, it’s their time and the rest of us need do nothing but enjoy.