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What Did You Think of the London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony?

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by James Cook (subscribe)
Film and literature graduate living in Birmingham. Twitter: @JamesAntonyCook
Published July 29th 2012
(London 2012 Olympics)

If, like me, you're a person, then chances are you tuned into the Olympics opening ceremony last night. The spectacular showpiece was put together by Mancunian Danny Boyle, who was charged with the daunting task of retelling Britain's heritage and conveying her culture to the rest of the world with just 27 million and 7500 people at his disposal.

The execution of Boyle's vision was flawless; featuring a range of diverse events of Britain's past, from the Industrial Revolution, overseen by engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel (played by Kenneth Brannagh), to a solemn and moving tribute for the casualties of World War I, and culminating in a fantastically choreographed homage to the NHS which Busby Berkeley himself would have been proud of, there was something for everybody during the course of the evening.

A superb performance by Rowan Atkinson as a keyboardist playing his part in a rendition of Chariots of Fire and a marvellous BBC short featuring Daniel Craig's James Bond and the Queen herself, ensured the tone remained light, and that we would all forever remember her majesty for parachuting out of a helicopter. Even Boyle's soundtrack attested to the diversity of Britain, as we were treated to an eclectic mix of music, including Mike Oldfield, The Beatles, The Sex Pistols and Dizzee Rascal, all in the space of an hour.

(Getty Images)

But we wouldn't be British if we didn't complain about one of the most impressive things we have ever done, and Conservative MP Aidan Burley lead the charge, tweeting "The most leftie opening ceremony I have ever seen more than Beijing, the capital of a communist state! Welfare tribute next?" Followed by "Thank God the athletes have arrived! Now we can move on from leftie multi-cultural crap." Sadly, overlooking the patriotic overtones of the ceremony, Burley was firmly put in his place by London Mayor Boris Johnson, who dismissed his criticism as "nonsense," which must hit home as an insult.

Perhaps Boyle was selective in his retelling of the isle's history the suffragette movement and our free healthcare service are wonderful, so why not breeze over our colonising, empire-running? And maybe the ceremony would have benefited from the inclusion of other things we should be proud of William Shakespeare, the Battle of Waterloo and Peep Show, but considering time restrictions, and the fact that the spectacle was devised by a man that once depicted a drug addict hallucinating that a dead baby was crawling across his bedroom ceiling, I think the finished product was something to be proud of.

So what did Danny Boyle teach the world about Britain? It is complex, culturally rich and has a Queen with a sense of humour. Jolly good show, now on with the Olympics.

(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

What did you think of the London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony? Please leave a comment. We look forward to your feedback.
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