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Everything posted by dancingbrogues

  1. 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.
  2. 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?
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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
  13. 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.
  14. Heatherwick is a genius, but so much of his work rests on representations of almost aching fragility - he wanted the torch to be scorched, for the metal to represent what athletes go through. He wanted the copper to be hand-beaten, again to represent human endeavour. The trouble is neither this board or indeed the general public are especially representative of the type of person who gets enthused by contemporary art. It would have been cheaper to go for something like Atlanta, but they wanted to send a message, but I don't think it really has worked, not least because our appetite for the grand gesture has increased, not diminished. A bit like going to the Louvre, seeing the (tiny) Mona Lisa, and saying 'I stood in line for this'?
  15. Ouch, Austria has no medals, we haven't done this badly since no medals in Tokyo, and realistically there aren't many more chances, perhaps in shooting. Although winter sports get most of the funding it is a disappointment, not least because the Swiss and the old Donaumonarchie countries are all on the table.
  16. I'm usually with Noam Chomsky when it comes to the USA, but I'm crossing my fingers they beat China in the medal table!
  17. The crowd were fantastic, although the disco was like some awful school dance where the Geography teacher fancies himself as a 'deejay'.
  18. Auntie Beeb has had Huw Edwards and the Horsey woman walking over a lot of the set at ground level and I'm still none the wiser about the torch. Hats off to the designers on this one. Moshpit crowd seem a bit rough!
  19. http://www.elcorreo.com/agencias/20120602/deportes/mas-deportes/alejandro-blanco-supedita-exito-madrid_201206021537.html Hmm. Alejandro Blanco is beginning to change the narrative from the economy won't affect Madrid 2020 to saying that it will make things very complicated if the economic problems persist. Whilst I still think there is a great deal of misunderstanding about Spain's economic woes (like muddling up liquidity with national debt), there is certainly a change from the tone in May, which ridiculed any suggestion that there would be economic issues around the bid. I can't decide whether he is preparing the ground for an early exit, or whether he is trying to demonstrate that he doesn't have his head in the sand.
  20. Your point about perception rather than reality is never more true. Spain has a lower national debt than the UK, the US, Germany and Japan (which has the world's largest). No-one is talking about Tokyo not having the money. Economics is tricky and subtle, rather like an IOC vote.
  21. Indeed, but the size of Spain's problems eclipse those of Ireland, Iceland and Greece. The government is struggling to borrow money at prices it can afford, has shockingly low foreign exchange reserves for the size of its banking sector and the Deputy Prime Minister has to go begging to the IMF because Merkel isn't listening. But, if we look at Iceland and Ireland, we see that bail-outs can work, and runs on banks do eventually end. The markets hate indecision, and unfortunately the Spanish are locked into the eurozone where no one has really made any decisions for months. If we can still hope, rather than despair for Spain, Madrid could be an 'austerity' games and do things well with the bid you have (which is strong). It will all be in the timing - if Spain's liquidity problems rumble on, or worsen, then I'm not sure the IOC will want to take the risk of a national government unable to cope with cost over-runs. If things become stable then Madrid could become a model for a lean but effective games.
  22. I'm sure no matter what is planned there will be a vociferous chorus of disagreement about what the show represents/represented. Often it will come down to personal taste. I would for instance be appalled if there was anything smacking of west end musical theatre, as it's not something I like, but many people would no doubt be delighted. All I can hope is that they give a key person some kind of artistic control, rather than construct a ceremony by committee, which would probably try so hard to be inclusive the disparate elements would end up making no sense.
  23. I think this is a problem; Bisley, being a historic olympic venue and with beautiful grounds and facilities was a perfectly sensible option, and the IOC nixed it. LOCOG, or I suspect, one or two key individuals climbing the greasy pole, then decided they would have an iconic backdrop, forgetting the amount of space needed for safety concerns. The barracks are stunning it is true, but impractical. The Dartford shooting club has raised a petition to move the shooting venue there, and they can prove it will provide 'legacy' and they have the space needed for an 'exclusion' zone. It has been discussed in Parliament and Tessa Jowell still hasn't provided an answer on the safety concerns. It's a bit like the beach volleyball in Horseguards - it'll look great on TV but neither great for the athletes or for the taxpayer.
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