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Opening Ceremony


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I love the shots looking down from the Tor amongst the drummers, the brassband and the paperboys in the directors cut. Its definately superior to the shown version. Makes you appreciate the BBC even more knowing we could watch the full show rather than it peppered with ad breaks.

If anyone in the UK isnt aware you can vote for the ceremony to win a BAFTA, its in the Radio Times viewers award.

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There are an awful lot of so-called 'observations' regarding the London 2012 opening that I disagree with but I would like to put one to bed immediately: the notion that the audience in the Stadium would not have felt 'involved' in the performance such was it's 'passive' nature.

I was at the Opening Ceremony of London 2012 and I could not have felt more involved!

A few examples spring to mind immediately and more would if I had the time to think about it:

Firstly, the 'pixel devices.' Members of the audience were encouraged at various points in the Ceremony to remove them from their stands and effectively 'play' with them! That might be move them back and fore in time to some of the music or simply give them a hearty wave and form part of the patterns which were made - not shown prominently in the TV coverage, I hasten to add.

Secondly, at various points in the Ceremony, the audience were encouraged to sing along with various songs and also play with 'zorb' balls which descended upon us (as illustrated by the video extract shown.)

Thirdly, and by far the most poignantly, a couple of days before the Ceremony, we all received an email inviting us to send in a photograph of a close friend or relative who had passed away for display in a 'memorial wall.' My mother passed away back in 2005 and I sent in a photo of her as she would have loved to have attended the Ceremony. This photo was displayed as part of the 'memorial wall' and the fact that it had been chosen had a real impact on me for the rest of the evening and, to be honest, has had since.

I would challenge those who have criticised the Ceremony to look at the clip below (and it is my own, so no copyright issues) and tell me which bit of 'passivity' they'd like to take a swipe at now.



My apologies, for some reason, that link is to the wrong clip, although people are quite welcome to watch it anyway!

This is the correct clip...

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@illustrado: "rugby and cricket was shown at the OC to show you the culture of Britain. i will agree that the cutways were bizarre and did not fit right" ...

That, I think gets part way to an interesting truth. If I see something in an artistic presentation that is obviously planned but still "does not fit right" then my instinct is to try and work out what the heck it could be doing there. Hence, in this case, I have now learned that Baron de Coubertin read "Tom Brown's Schooldays" as a child, and based his life's work on that fictional Rugby School.

@mjb22: "My apologies, for some reason, that link is to the wrong clip, although people are quite welcome to watch it anyway!"

The first clip does show the Pixel waving (though obviously they just look like black squares from the back)- and both clips are splendid illustrations of just how many odd things were happening in that stadium! Thank-you.

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The flying dove bike was accompanied on NBC by a feeble E.T. quip.

As for "Green and Pleasant"- NBC viewers really did see a different show, but not hugely different: <SNIP>

(the kids do shut up quite quickly)

@JMarkSnow2012

Thanks for that clip - interesting to see that NBC had a slightly different cut/edit going on. I'm sure the likes of DurbanSandshark knows much more about this than I do.

But even so, the rugby clips in the NBC broadcast are exactly the same as the BBC & IOC broadcast.

I respectfully disagree with your theory re: the de Coubertin references for rugby's inclusion.

In my opinion, it was simply a flag-waving chest-beating moment for those naysayers living in Scotland, Wales & NI.

A way to include everyone.

I thought the stadium reaction said it all.

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There are an awful lot of so-called 'observations' regarding the London 2012 opening that I disagree with but I would like to put one to bed immediately: the notion that the audience in the Stadium would not have felt 'involved' in the performance such was it's 'passive' nature.

I was at the Opening Ceremony of London 2012 and I could not have felt more involved!

SNIPPITY SNIP

Mark, thanks for posting these. Great clips and the crowd atmosphere really shines through.

FWIW, what was your interpretation of the rugby clips during the Four Nations Choirs?

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There are an awful lot of so-called 'observations' regarding the London 2012 opening that I disagree with but I would like to put one to bed immediately: the notion that the audience in the Stadium would not have felt 'involved' in the performance such was it's 'passive' nature.

I was at the Opening Ceremony of London 2012 and I could not have felt more involved!

A few examples spring to mind immediately and more would if I had the time to think about it:

Firstly, the 'pixel devices.' Members of the audience were encouraged at various points in the Ceremony to remove them from their stands and effectively 'play' with them! That might be move them back and fore in time to some of the music or simply give them a hearty wave and form part of the patterns which were made - not shown prominently in the TV coverage, I hasten to add.

Secondly, at various points in the Ceremony, the audience were encouraged to sing along with various songs and also play with 'zorb' balls which descended upon us (as illustrated by the video extract shown.)

Thirdly, and by far the most poignantly, a couple of days before the Ceremony, we all received an email inviting us to send in a photograph of a close friend or relative who had passed away for display in a 'memorial wall.' My mother passed away back in 2005 and I sent in a photo of her as she would have loved to have attended the Ceremony. This photo was displayed as part of the 'memorial wall' and the fact that it had been chosen had a real impact on me for the rest of the evening and, to be honest, has had since.

I would challenge those who have criticised the Ceremony to look at the clip below (and it is my own, so no copyright issues) and tell me which bit of 'passivity' they'd like to take a swipe at now.

My apologies, for some reason, that link is to the wrong clip, although people are quite welcome to watch it anyway!

This is the correct clip...

you forgot to add that during the remembrance portion of 'pandemonium', the audience were signaled to stand in respect.

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For me, I thought it was to show a sport that links all 4 nations but also divides us as we all support our national team. Rugby is a far more friendly rivalry than football could ever be, that was how I saw it.

I have to admit I didnt find it nescassary, the choirs were doing a grand job of linking all the nations with their own song but I suppose adding the sporting aspect put a different spin on it.

I think when people are confused by the inclusion suddenly it becomes a bigger deal. The clips were a matter of seconds but for the guys that didn't get it it seems they lasted an eternity.

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But come on, guys. As the opening of the Games? Seriously? A moment would've been fine, but we got more rugby than anything else in Green and Pleasant (which was supposed to be about the UK's pre-industrial agrarian society). I loved the hymns. Truly. I loved the Green and Pleasant set. Why cover up all of that with contemporary rugby footage? A real waste, in my opinion.

Yea...but so what? RUGBY was not a sport played at the 2012 Olympic Games. Again, another instance where Danny Boyle pushed his weird views on the IOC. That and cricket have NO place in the OC because they are not on the 2012 summer slate. This is perhaps the only Opening Ceremony which made explicit references to sports NOT on the official summer menu. Bizarre.

I want to try and clear this up.

(1) Rugby has as much to do with the Olympics as James Bond does. [Acutally even more now given its inclusion in Rio 2016].

.... the rugby clips were a message to the 4 nations of the UK - a chest-beating flag-waving moment if you like..

.... while James Bond "spoke" to the international audience.

[and thankyou to OlympicFan2004 for highlighting the inclusion of host-nation/region-specific non-Olympic sports in previous Olympic Ceremonies.

Incidently, I'd be quite happy to see a 20 second clip of memorable SuperBowl moments in a future US Games OC]

(2) THIS IS IMPORTANT.... the Four Nations Choirs sang the following beautiful RUGBY-RELATED hymns.

Jerusalem,

Oh Danny Boy,

Guide Me Oh Thou Great Redeemer (Bread of Heaven)

Flower of Scotland.

Now (bear with me)....

Despite being English, I only know "Jerusalem" from a rugby context (shame on me!). It has become the unofficial England anthem amongst its rugby union supporters and is clearly heard on the TV broadcasts when England play.

Ditto "Guide Me Oh Thou Great Redeemer (Bread of Heaven)" - one of my favourites. I only know it from watching rugby union on the TV starting in the 1970s. It is sung with huge gusto by the Welsh rugby fans.

Again, "Flower of Scotland"... exactly the same in that I only became aware of it in a rugby context. And now both the Scotland Rugby Union and Football (Soccer) teams sing it as their official anthem.

"Danny Boy" - not sung in a rugby context by the Irish but a well-known Irish song anyway.

---------------------

So to understand that segment (the Four Nations Choirs) is to understand the UK and it's sporting heritage and culture.

Rugby has produced great moments to Northern Ireland (who play with the Republic of Ireland as one nation: "Ireland), Wales and Scotland and England (and France!).

If YOU were trying to find a sporting reference that could play alongside the 4 hymns, making strong, uplifting references to our 4 nations, ... which SPORT would you chose?

Football/soccer? Nope. Doesnt work anywhere near as well as rugby.

Cricket? Nope.

Athletics?

Hockey?

Boxing?

Nothing works as well in this context as RUGBY.

The crucial point here is that our 4 home nations compete as 1 nation at the Olympics: UK ("TeamGB").

So an Olympic sport wouldn't work AT ALL.

The whole idea of the segment is to say: Northern Ireland, Wales, Scotland! THIS IS FOR YOU AS WELL.

------------------

Asking both

"why rugby?" and

"what the hell does rugby have to do with the Olympics?"

are both legitimate questions in my opinion.

I hope I've answered both.

For me, I thought it was to show a sport that links all 4 nations but also divides us as we all support our national team. Rugby is a far more friendly rivalry than football could ever be, that was how I saw it.

I have to admit I didnt find it nescassary, the choirs were doing a grand job of linking all the nations with their own song but I suppose adding the sporting aspect put a different spin on it.

I think when people are confused by the inclusion suddenly it becomes a bigger deal. The clips were a matter of seconds but for the guys that didn't get it it seems they lasted an eternity.

Spot on Davey.

I say again, that the clips lasted a total of 17 seconds.

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volshy, I DON'T follow rugby...never have, never will...so that portion still makes no sense for me being in the OC. But I appreciate your trying to explain it -- altho it's too long-winded and AFTER the fact. I mean everything can be explained away AFTER the fact. It has to make sense at the moment it happens. NOT after. Most people move on with life after one viewing.

Re DANNY BOY, I know u qualify it; but please...pinning it as a 'rugby song' is a stretch...unless it's sung by Irish teams. We all know it to be a grand/ or father's farewell paean to his young son going off to battle.

The thing with PANDEMONIUM is that Boyle tried to throw everything in...including the kitchen sink. It strikes people 2 ways: acceptable to those who can appreciate it as disorder, as intended; or a thumbs-down for people who would rather see more orderly and carefully choreographed routines...a la Beijing. Perhaps Boyle could have struck a balance. I didn't like the dismantling of the set in full view. In previous Ceremonies and, normally in stage productions, you hide the assembly and disassembly of the sets. It's all part of the magic of putting on a show. But he went full blown in this. It was almost like a bad Hieronymous Bosch painting sprung to life. Just IMHO.

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volshy, I DON'T follow rugby...never have, never will...so that portion still makes no sense for me being in the OC. But I appreciate your trying to explain it -- altho it's too long-winded and AFTER the fact. I mean everything can be explained away AFTER the fact. It has to make sense at the moment it happens. NOT after. Most people move on with life after one viewing.

Re DANNY BOY, I know u qualify it; but please...pinning it as a 'rugby song' is a stretch...unless it's sung by Irish teams. We all know it to be a grand/ or father's farewell paean to his young son going off to battle.

<SNIP>

Note I did say: ""Danny Boy" - not sung in a rugby context by the Irish but a well-known Irish song anyway."

I don't know any other well-known Irish song that would have worked so well. Do you?

Again, the whole point of the clip was

(1) "Welcome to the United Kingdom and our isles of wonder... In case you need reminding we are 4 nations: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland & Wales"

(2) "to the people of our 4 nations - this is for all of you!"

Nothing more, nothing less.

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volshy, I DON'T follow rugby...never have, never will...so that portion still makes no sense for me being in the OC. But I appreciate your trying to explain it -- altho it's too long-winded and AFTER the fact. I mean everything can be explained away AFTER the fact. It has to make sense at the moment it happens. NOT after. Most people move on with life after one viewing.

Re DANNY BOY, I know u qualify it; but please...pinning it as a 'rugby song' is a stretch...unless it's sung by Irish teams. We all know it to be a grand/ or father's farewell paean to his young son going off to battle.

The thing with PANDEMONIUM is that Boyle tried to throw everything in...including the kitchen sink. It strikes people 2 ways: acceptable to those who can appreciate it as disorder, as intended; or a thumbs-down for people who would rather see more orderly and carefully choreographed routines...a la Beijing. Perhaps Boyle could have struck a balance. I didn't like the dismantling of the set in full view. In previous Ceremonies and, normally in stage productions, you hide the assembly and disassembly of the sets. It's all part of the magic of putting on a show. But he went full blown in this. It was almost like a bad Hieronymous Bosch painting sprung to life. Just IMHO.

well the way i see. the assembly and disassembly work for me. the allegory of the ripping away of the green and pleasant land .piece by piece, to create this 'factory' that represents the industrial revolution will not work if hid the things that happened during the pandemonium. even if you show cracks you can still make magic.

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Exactly. The Tai Chi sequence was molded into entertainment. In Green & Pleasant, it was played as it was...a sport per se. :wacko:

That was not how you phrased it originally. You spoke about London as probably the first Olympic opening ceremony making explicit references to a non-Olympic sport. And as I showed, this is wrong. Also I don't know what the big difference between performing the respective sport live or on tape is then. All in all, this is a completely overblown debate for me. We're discussing about a few seconds of video, for heaven's sake!

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That was not how you phrased it originally. You spoke about London as probably the first Olympic opening ceremony making explicit references to a non-Olympic sport. And as I showed, this is wrong. Also I don't know what the big difference between performing the respective sport live or on tape is then. All in all, this is a completely overblown debate for me. We're discussing about a few seconds of video, for heaven's sake!

Well, why doesn't it become 'over-blown' when you keep jumping all over me because something I said initially doesn't jibe in your understanding the 2nd time around? With a discourse following that trend, how can IT NOT become overblown? :blink:

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It has sentimental value for me because it was the first Olympic i watched, and my country's flabearer was one of my favourite athletes :D

Well, that DOESN'T make it the best ceremony for those trivial reasons. You have to watch MORE than a few and in the proper context of how Ceremonies developed, in order to make such a judgment. Start with LA 1984...include the Winter ones as well, then come back and say that Athens 2004 was the "best." ;)

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Well, that DOESN'T make it the best ceremony for those trivial reasons. You have to watch MORE than a few and in the proper context of how Ceremonies developed, in order to make such a judgment. Start with LA 1984...include the Winter ones as well, then come back and say that Athens 2004 was the "best." ;)

of 4 i watched, that's the best for me......when i find time, i will watch past for sure....but i think 1st games nothing can replace

London wasn't bad, but lighting the Olympic flame was disasterous :D

Beijing was great, but a bit leave impression of ''too much''.

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pcelica: "London wasn't bad, but lighting the Olympic flame was disasterous."

:D I'll treat that as a flimsy excuse to introduce another thing which intrigued me when rummaging through the life of Baron de Coubertin: religio athletae

http://www.la84foundation.org/SportsLibrary/Olympika/Olympika_1993/olympika0201g.pdf

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