Tuesday, July 31, 2012

London 2012 Olympics

The Olympics is here!  And I am so near this historical event!  Well, Bristol is 2-hours away from London, so... dekatlah tu :P.  Tempted by sporting events on TV, my family and I seriously contemplated joining the spectators at Stratford. Surfing for tickets online, however, we found out that they were either too expensive or "unavailable at the moment".  There was a furore a few days ago on National TV:  the public could not get tickets to some events as they were supposedly sold-out, but there appeared to be many empty seats in venues?  Sapa nak jawab tu... :P.  Well, as I'm writing this post, there have been some positive developments.  We'll see how it goes :)

The London 2012 Olympic opening on Friday was pretty interesting.  It's different from previous Olympics openings which were normally artistic and symbolic.  Yeah, Beijing 2008 was a tough act to follow, so it was clever of the London 2012 organizers to go a different way.

The opening has been described as "very English".  It started with a rural Britain setting, complete with real grass and livestock! :)

Next was the dramatization of the industrial era.  One look at Kenneth Branagh's top hat, my kids and I  instantly knew that he was playing the part of Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the great British engineer/designer.   Brunel is BIG in Bristol, having left his legacies in the form of Clifton Suspension Bridge, SS Great Britain and Temple Meads Railway Station.  "Brunel" then aptly recited a line from Shakespeare's (world renown English playwright) "The Tempest".

Smokestacks that appeared from nowhere :)

Kenneth Branagh as Brunel

By this time, I could already guess what was coming.  J.K. Rowling's appearance was expected, but James Bond and Mr. Bean were pleasant surprises.  Yeah, besides the Queen, they ARE British icons.  Mr. Bean was hilarious as usual, but it was the Queen in her first acting role (as herself, naturally :)), who stole the show.

Mr. Bean making faces :)

A serious-looking Bond accompanying a smiling Queen

As they say, less is more.  When that lengthy technology-themed performance ended and the creator of the WWW was introduced, I was getting a tad bored.  I GET IT.  British (music) ICONS: The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Queen (the group, not the monarch), Sex Pistol, etc..  Who's next? I wondered.  Bad question, as out came Sir Paul McCartney belting out "Hey Jude".  Hey, dude!  Its becoming more like a tribute concert now :P.

It was quite late when the procession of athletes commenced.  I have always liked watching this segment, when athletes from different countries marched in their costumes - some traditional, others, modern.  This year, some of them were in designer togs!  The Americans were in Ralph Lauren and the Italians, Giorgio Armani.  Wow!  Lucky lot!  When the Malaysian team came out, there was a cross-over to team GB.  Apa daa BBC!!  Anyway, I managed to catch the Malaysian team's colourful costume.  Hmm... looks like those tiger stripes have not gone out of fashion all these years :P.  There were lots of negative comments on Yahoo Sports but come to think of it, Malay traditional attire has always been LOUD and the athletes were wearing traditional kebayas and baju Melayu.  Try going to a wedding feast or cultural show in Malaysia and see for yourself...

the culturally-correct costume 

Anyway, my favourite has got to be Czech Republic.  They wore wellies and held umbrellas to humour the English weather?! Wakaka!  Bak kata pepatah Melayu yang telah diubahsuai:  masuk kandang lembu menguak, masuk Britain pakai wellies!!  Sediakan payung sebelum hujan!!  Good one Czechs! :D
It's just not the Czechs humoring the Brits on their English weather.  One segment of the opening ceremony had performers ritualistically carrying 'clouds' around the stadium.  Well, that has somewhat succeeded in warding-off  rain thus far! :).

See that cloud? :)

The lighting of the Olympic cauldron was fine.  Yeah, they still have to tout another British icon - David Beckham - who looked like a posh mannequin in the boat (remember that advertisement?).   And if that's not enough, they had another sports icon, the legendary Mohammed Ali.  Don't see why they had to have that poor fella, though.  That aside, the Olympic cauldron was indeed one of a kind.

Becks on boat :)

Bird's eye-view of the Olympic flame

Side view of the Olympic cauldron

magnificent view of the cauldron

All in all, a memorable Olympics opening.  Kudos to Danny Boyle and his team! :)


fiziskandarz said...

We watched the Olympic opening ceremoney live [ behind screen ] too! We thought Danny Boyle had done a great job :D Isk did mention about the Lion King play, but I'm not sure myself :S

Koonch said...

I wasn't too keen, either, until I saw the video snippets at Bristol Hippodrome. Abg Bad's recommendation selalunya best! :)