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Everything posted by dancingbrogues

  1. I'm no great fan of Meryl and Charlie, they're a bit too plastic fantastic for my tastes, but had it by a country mile in my (inexpert) opinion.
  2. I liked the use of the visual space, where vast 'floats' were drawn across the air, reminding me of the May Day Parades in the Soviet era. Wonderful to showcase the depth of the repertoire in Russian classical music - particularly good in the 'elegant' sections - like the voyna-i-mir Ballroom and the constellations. Less sure about the kitsch elements. I didn't mind the simplicity of the lighting of the flame, but yep, surrounded by a sea of people would have made a more lasting impression than 2 Olympian Putinistas navigating an empty plaza. . My favourite bit was the oath - we had the athlete who sped through the thing, then the official who ponderously incanted his memorisation, and then the coach who managed to croak it out through the botox - most human thing of the night.
  3. A dream is all it is going to be unless Blanco starts getting his act together. Expecting the Olympics to help with youth unemployment or the economy shouldn't be part of the narrative. Isn't it only relatively later in the cycle that the kind of service/hospitality jobs that young people often fill become available anyway?
  4. I'm not at all sure a meteoric rise should be championed either. Coe's quite hard to like - just ask the voters of Falmouth and Cambourne who voted him out as an MP after one term. He hasn't suggested anything about the IOC in public - it's all typical British press fizz, although I wouldn't be surprised if his pr people are whispering to journos whilst they ply them with free booze and pies. There's obviously enough eurochatter to wind up Rogge though. And it seems he's sold his private consultancy business to a key olympic advertising contractor for 12 million pounds right after the games - raising eyebrows as it would contravene public sector guidelines. But hey ho, it's alright, because LOCOG was a private enterprise, just kept afloat with taxpayers' sweaty cash. At least Gianna and Mitt Romney were already billionaires before they took the gig ... sigh
  5. I've just got back from Japan. I'm afraid I'm less excited by this bid than I was, although I'm sure it's robust enough. Every single one of my friends and colleagues do not want it. There is a strong feeling in the regions that Tokyo gets enough government subsidy and corporate dosh at a time when the Northeast is still sifting through the ruins and a third of a prefecture really rather close to Tokyo is still in nuclear lockdown. They are trying hard to shift public perceptions in Tokyo itself, and maybe that will work. One problem is that the bid team is stacked full of failed, troubled or extremist politicians, not least the chairman himself, who is more Lyndon Larouche/Jean Marie Le Pen than Boris Johnson. Tokyo really could do with a Seb as its CEO, Mizuno is no doubt a very good operator, and his company makes sports equipment, but it's hardly an inspirational choice, and that's what Japan needs. The Turks and the Spaniards have got bids that seem to be going tits up for various reasons, but they've certainly got quite a lot of never-give-up support amongst the locals, sometimes to the point of absurdity.
  6. I got back today after 5 days at the paras - one of the best times of my life. To be honest I was a little underwhelmed by the venues (mostly because tarp and sticky tape can only partially camouflage temporary structures) , but such a wonderful mix of people, both able and disabled. Lovely weather in the last few days, strangers on trains having impassioned conversations about running blades with other strangers, so many in my train carriage tonight hurrying home to watch the closing ceremony. I managed to meet a few of the Austrian team. Rio people were everywhere, taking pictures, learning from everything, wanting to make things even better in 4 years' time, I hope they do!
  7. Oh fiddlesticks, the 24 hour relay has become a 23 hour one - they've put the flame on a bus, saving themselves a good 45 minutes. Whilst I quite agree that walking from Poplar to Hackney isn't like strolling through Chelsea or even Greenwich, I hope this means they haven't robbed anyone of the chance to carry the flame.
  8. I have a friend who works with adults with learning disabilities and they were busing them down to the route in the middle of the night, and a local church opened for soup, bread and cups of tea. At first I thought why are they doing this in the dead of night, but it has allowed people to carefully plan where they will be. I realise that many people with disabilities despise sentimentality hence 'piss on pity' activism, but there was something very moving at seeing vast crowds (a lot of them seemed to have stepped drunk out of pubs) roaring on people who face very steep challenges in life.
  9. Torchcam is back, just for the 24 hours until the paralympic flame reaches the stadium, no breaks, no speedboats with celebrities thank you very much Mr Boyle. http://www.london2012.com/paralympics/torch-relay/video/ The torch at night looks brill, I wish they had chosen to do this with the olympic relay.
  10. A flickr set from the paralympic village: http://www.flickr.com/photos/paralympic/sets/72157631285216764/ Lord Coe drives like my old PE teacher, he just needs a whistle for his neck.
  11. Paralympic Team GB are officially welcomed to the Athletes Village in Stratford.
  12. As well the agitos being lowered under Tower Bridge, a cauldron has been lit in Trafalgar Square to mark the Paralympics Torch Relay. http://http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-19359123 It's surprising and disappointing to me that the paralympics will receive such little coverage in the US, especially because in so many other ways, disability activism and awareness probably see their greatest achievements there. http://www.benningtonbanner.com/sports/ci_21387949/paralympics-get-london-boost-but-not-u-s I have tickets for the Aquatics Centre and athletics too. Also Wheelchair Basketball and Rugby. I'm actually getting really excited! I couldn't get near the Velodrome, I think they were the first tickets to sell out. The Brits feel they 'own' track cycling!
  13. The BBC are rebroadcasting the Opening Ceremony right now on BBC1, I think they've cleaned up the audio. I'm sure they've fiddled with the balance for annoying female announcer - she sounds almost bearable. I'm Tivo'ing this one as well, so I shall compare.
  14. I don't usually believe the Daily Mail, but I can certainly see that the BBC will be regretting not caring enough about paralympic sport to put in a serious bid for the games. Ch4 must be laughing. There is so much interest. They've nabbed Clare Balding and they've promised 160 hours of coverage. I'm hoping we'll still be able to access the IPC webstreaming in the UK because I dislike commercial interruptions. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2189570/Clare-Baldings-got-Channel-4-jumping-joy-gets-marks-Paralympic-broadcast.html
  15. Considering the months of begging Dublin had to do with the IOC to get a couple of hours with the flame in ROI Ireland, I think the best the Rio relay can hope for internationally is some border ceremonies - Brazil has enough of them after all. Perhaps a visit to the Chile and Ecuador embassies as well, so symbolically the flame acknowledges South America. The success of the 2010 and 2012 relays have only persuaded the IOC that their decision to ban international legs was the right one.
  16. It had gravitas, but I had a moment of 'but that's American'. I suppose a good score is a good score - Wimbledon sometimes uses the 'Gattaca' soundtrack from Michael Nyman in waiting periods, but I suppose that's much more of an obscure film to begin with, even if, it too is American with a British composer. Interesting that Gavin has had much less acclaim than Boyle in the British press, lots of sniping on twitter that he favoured people he works with in a non-olympics capacity etc, feathering his own nest etc.
  17. For both athletes and tourists the dry, proud heat of Madrid will be more bearable than the 'mushiatsui' humidity of the Tokyo summer, and Istanbul can almost be as bad, although the breeze can help. I've visited all three a few times and all have great things about them. Tokyo thrills me the most, for many reasons, but I hate the Japanese summer, at least anywhere south of Iwate Prefecture.
  18. Coe's eccentric father Percy would tell anyone who would listen (and even those who were trying not to) that his son was the greatest middle distance runner the world had ever seen. I think Coe still believe believes it... He's always been hard to like, a tactician, who often sounds arrogant about his days as a competitor. Many people preferred the battler, Steve Ovett, who learnt to love running speeding his way to the corner shop to get cigarettes and booze for his dad. I've only seen recordings and docudramas, but I can how the streak of narcissism served him well for being LOCOG chair. You need to be something of an egomaniac to butt heads with government departments. Kudos to the often maligned Barbara Cassani, who persuaded the then Labour government to take on a Tory as her replacement. I think he approached Singapore like one of his races, and the calculation worked.
  19. Two things: It depends whether the disc manufacturer decides to encode for regions or not. A lot don't, I have quite a lot of Japanese and US stuff that I can play on my British player but the occasional one that I can't, so have to use the lappie for those. A lot of BBC stuff is region free if you want to take the risk, but even then your system might not be able to cope with the difference in frames per second (50hz is European standard) (60hz is US). Sorry can't be of more help.
  20. I shall be in Tokyo and then Sendai for a few days in September. I know Miyagi Stadium wasn't damaged, although nearby Port Sendai and Tagajo were inundated. I've read the rumours about the possible move north of the sailing. If Tokyo were to win the bid, having the sailing regatta in Sendai Bay/Shiogama/Matsushima would be a very potent marker of hope for Tohoku's pacific coastline, and a more stunning backdrop than Tokyo Bay in my opinion. I shall investigate.
  21. Coe is going to be the 'legacy ambassador' which should keep him busy with sport in schools and arguing with Football Clubs and Boris Johnson for a couple of years, but as the Conservative-Libdem Coalition seems to be going to hell in a handcart, the government might fall before that, and what comes after may not want to keep him on. I'd love to know what happened to Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki, my favourite organising committee honcho. With that ego, that big hair and those big feet it was like Heraklion meets Fort Worth.
  22. I think the Eric Idle segment should have been at the end or just before the protocol driven elements as it seemed to bring the house down, and was very clever, sending up the mainstays of british ceremonial - pipe bands and multiculti dross - whilst never quite dismissing them, or morris dancers for that matter. There were some nice touches - letting the athletes stream through the crowds, the 'rio' handover ceremony dancers moshing with their 'london' counterparts to The Who, quite different from the London handover, which, confined to a small part of the Bird's Nest, seemed to show Beijing saying take your 8 minutes, take your scruffy mayor and p off thank you very much, The cauldron looked better going out than it did being ignited. Not sure that's praise for its primary function, but it did look a little funky floating like an inverted bowl on the track. The rest was the kind of middle of the road rock marathon that has endured since the charity concerts of the 80s, multi generational safe choices, nothing that would upset your grandmother.
  23. My favourite London olympic moment will forever be the tremendous booing of that old crook Sepp Blatter, who has hung onto FIFA like a bloated corpse, propped up by banana republics and ex-soviet ogliarchs. Switzerland is a lovely country in so many ways, but the Swiss set-up has always put money over morals.
  24. In my dreams I would love NZ to host a summer Olympics, but can't see it happening. There are few places in the world where the prime minister is guarded by a low fence and a lone policeman. I love this clip. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GsuU_fLoFA4
  25. Yep, after the embarrassment of 1 gold medal in Atlanta the UK didn't just copy you, it nicked coaching staff where it could from the two countries it was most envious of - Germany and Australia. The system of talent spotting in schools and moving children rapidly into elite programmes, rather than relying on the old county sports systems, was completely lifted from Australian methods. The UK abandoned the old 'sport for all' mantra that I grew up with. My 6 year old nephew has just been put on a gifted and talented register for sport, and that's through a sports science team coming and doing tests at his village primary school in the middle of nowhere. It's odd from what I've read that Australia is pushing the money into mass participation rather than elite performance just as Britain moves in the opposite direction.
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