Monday, 30 July 2012
Monkey Business - 2
We begin with Dizzee , he's dressed in red and white, reminiscent of Mr Bean's abandoned rucksack. There's a house party going on, a rave, Dizzee is singing that "some people think I'm bonkers, but I just think I'm free". The dancers surrounding the house move up to the Tor, ascending it's spiral, Tower of Babylon resonating, path. We cut to Amy Whitehouse, then to the lost-phone lovers dancing in a triangular roofspace. "They will not control us" from Muse's Uprising blasts (see images above and below), whilst chequerboard attired chicks groove on down. The Tor is jumping now, it's like 1988 until we flash back to Dizzee. Trevor notes that "grime music was born in East London"; but that was after acid house.
The music stops, the house rises to reveal Sir Tim Bernard-Lee, inventor of the world wide web. The stadium lights up with the hand-held gizmos, "This is for everyone". It all goes dark and Tim is left, centre stage, illuminated. We cut to a black and white 1948, with black and white televisual recordings of the previous London Olympics, the then monarchy including young Queen-to-be, Elizabeth. Suddenly we are in Greece watching this year's Olympic flame beginning it's journey.
Section 10 begins - The Olympic Torch tour. It's a montage of clips beginning with David Beckham then quickly on to Edinburgh Castle, home of the Stone of Destiny. We see London, Princess Anne, Stonehenge, the Chariots of Fire beach scene from St. Andrews, a mountain top in Wales, police officers high fiving, (Royal) lifeboats, a princess on a horse, the Royal Marine abseiler - Williams, The Queen and Philip, an ex forces cripple on prosthetic legs, a golden pyramid torch kiss, a zoom in on police officer SC 73335, a marriage proposal (the "bride" dressed in red, white and blue), the abseiler again, this time passing the torch to Kelly Holmes at the Tower, 10 Downing Street with Dave Cameron, Kate, Wills and Harry, the London Eye and Big Ben. Curiously, when we first see Big Ben, it's 10 to 7, yet a couple of micro-seconds later as we zoom in, it reads 8 to 7. Everything is speeding up, it appears.
Then it's night time, current time, there's a speedboat on the Thames with David Beckham piloting, the torch held out front by a young lady foootballer. Huw and Hazel gush over Becks, I think he looks possessed, maybe delusions of grandeur. He is dressed in shirt and tie, it reminds me of Bond. Huw remarks that (there are) "very few people as qualified", Hazel reminds us of Beijing and the "big red bus". It's time for a pause to remember the "people who couldn't be here" as a variety of photographs appear on screen.
It transpires that it's time to commemorate the 7/7 bombing victims, the incident occurring the day after London "won" the bid to host the games. Maybe the Big Ben clock time was a hint, indeed perhaps too was Mr Bean's rucksack. A giant sun appears as dancers cavort manically beneath. The commentators note the "great sorrow of 7/7", Hazel has obviously forgotten the previous commemorative "pause" earlier in the show as she advises of a "calming and reflective pause after the exuberance of the last hour". The dancers form a triangular mass and it's section 11, Abide with Me.
Fittingly, for a song written by a Scotsman, it is sung by a Scottish girl, Emeli Sande. As she progresses so do the dancers, their frenetic jiving a stark contrast to the lyrics and the voice. The troupe move out and form a circle, one man is left, he walks to a small boy on the sidelines and proceeds to indulge in more frenetic showmanship. The dance pack reforms, crouching, and the man leads the boy into the throng. The boy holds a hand up into the air, I am bemused as to what this all represents, or maybe just don't want to know. Trevor notes that Abide With Me has been played at "every Football Association cup final since 1927". I am now bewildered, luckily it stops - "Please welcome the athletes"
Its section 12, Parade of the Athletes. Greece are first, then Afghanistan. I am really pleased too because the whole peformance lasts four hours and I simply skip to section 13, and miss a good deal of nothing out.
Section 13 - Team GB. Dressed in white and gold,led out by Scottish cyclist Chris Hoy "The Flying Scotsman" to the chords of Bowie's Heroes whilst white confetti falls from the sky. Referencing this, Huw advises that there is "one bit paper for every human being in the world", though he doesn't mention a New World Order's utopian "democracy". The stadium lights up, there are Union flags galore, we cut to the Royal Box, the Prime Minister, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh. We cut to the Tor, it is now covered in all the other countries flags. Drummers follow the UK team round.
Section 14 follows, the BBC advise that it is tiled "The lighting of the Torch by Seven Young Athletes" but actually it's not time for that. Instead we move to section 15, The Artic Monkeys : Live. It's quite interesting. Their first song is, I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor, a track which includes a chorus line of "dancing to electro-pop like a robot from 1984, from 1984". Unfortunately, the drummer doesn't look too good, attired in what looks like a ceremonial sash, typical of the Orange Order. We get a short camera back view of him, the reverse emblazoned HELDERS, his surname. None of the other band members have their name on their clothes. Fireworks explode from the stadium, and form a crown like shape in the sky. From underneath the stage winged cyclists appear, apparently representing doves of peace. They don't look too peaceful to me, in fact, the contrary. The Monkeys cover the Beatles', Come Together, it's all quite ominous. One of the doves cycle-flies into the sky, it reminds me of E.T.
Things calm down though as we focus onto the Tor, pinpricked with national flags. Seb Coe and Jacques Rogge are there, it must be section 16. Speeches are given, the Queen being addressed first, Seb talks of "loving sport", "working harder" and "living for the moment". Jacques talks of "gender equality" and of how "the Olympic Games are coming home tonight". Furthermore, he suggests that the UK is the "birthplace of modern sport". It's section 17 - Let the Games begin - so we cut to HM the Queen in the Royal Box,"I declare open the games of London celebrating the 30th Olympiad of the modern era". More fireworks then the Olympic flag is carried in by indivduals who represent "justice", "courage" and "integrity". Playing games seems apt.
We proceed to the Tor where boxer Muhammad Ali is waiting. He doesn't seem to know what's happening, maybe he met Coe a very long time ago for motivational advice. The military take possession of the flag and carry it over. It's hoisted higher than the other countries flags, alongside the imposing union flag raised by the same personnel earlier, which also stands taller. The camera focuses on Coe, Ali etc. It's time for section 18, titled The Olympic Flame enters Stadium.
Beckham is still on the speedboat. Huw asks "who will take possession" and talks of "mysteries". It rings bells with me. Athlete, Steve Redgrave, collects the torch whilst Becks helps with the torch-kiss. Huw advises us of another mystery, "the location of the cauldron". The stadium is dark, then lights up brightly. Sarah Stevenson reads the athletes oath, Mik Basi the judges oath, and Eric Farrell MBE, yet another. I'm beginning to utter oaths myself, it's taking so long. It all goes dark and the torch is ushered in by 500 workman in hard hats. It's section 19 (see 14), Huw talks of a "joyful moment" and we see the seven lucky young athletes who will light the cauldron, immaculate in black and gold. Scottish youngster, Cameron McRitchie, is first with the torch. Underworld's Caliban plays*. The choir from the stands have moved to the Tor, the mad drummer lady returns and the lucky 7 cuddle their nominators. Huw talks of a "symbolic act" and we see more triangle forming torch kissing.
We get the "first glimpse of the cauldron" designed by a Thomas Heatherwick and it does indeed set the heather on fire, certainly as far as the commentators are concerned. There is a bell chime as it is ignited, the stems rise and converge, "one great flame of unity" and a "symbol of peaceful coming together". The commentators have surely forgotten the 18,000 military deployment. More fireworks then Pink Floyd's, Eclipse, plays, "and everything under the sun is in tune but the sun is eclipsed by the moon", which speaks volumes.
It's section 20, Paul McCartney, begins with a snippet of a song I don't recognise. He then sings, Hey Jude, and the crowd all join in; it appears. I am more intrigued with his jacket and the red strips down the sleeves, I wonder if it has something to do with the scarlet thread and Biblical stories.
And that's it, will sum up tomorrow, maybe day after.
* As far as I am aware.