Sunday, 29 July 2012


I was pretty olymposkeptic (see my mefi comment history) but I was looking forward to the ceremony because I like Danny Boyle and because all the #savethesecret people said it was good.

I really liked the ceremony - presenting the Industrial Revolution as both something epic and something terrible. Having a whole section for the NHS, and the 'Frankie and June Say Thanks Tim' social-media bit devoted to Tim Berners-Lee* was brilliant. I totally lost it when the panning-back camera revealed Rowan Atkinson on keyboards.

The naff bits (reading the oath of 'olympism', speeches etc) were the bits that the IOC mandate as _having_ to be in the ceremony.

The parade of nations was great (imagine how much more amazing those parades would have been 30 years ago when people travelled/internetted less). And the torch was great.

In the end I was left thinking - "That was a beautiful spectacle, ending with a lovely tribute to world togetherness etc. Shame its all about sport rather than something I'm actually interested in" ... as in, to me, it seemed _too_ epic to just be about a running and jumping competition. Why don't we have ceremonies like this to celebrate other things, like science, or literature, or just the fact the we exist at all? (I suppose the millenium celebrations were celebrating that, which is why they were great)

And that line of thinking - 'why such a large tribute to sport instead of something really important?' led me to "get" sport for the first time. I get it now. Humans like to play games. Sport is just play. But play boosted and codified and regulated for the world stage. We, as a species, like to play, and when we play big it ends up looking like the olympics.

So I guess I'm a bit of a convert now. Still dont like all the sponsorship nonsense, but at least they kept that out of the ceremony.

* Tim Berners-Lee appeared with his original NeXTcube and sent this tweet just before he appeared

(originally a comment on this metafilter thread)