Part one, here, part 2 here.
This is probably more of the the same, but I have tried to condense and conclude. It's difficult to take everything back to base, one has to remember that everything in the performance was there for a purpose, subliminal or otherwise. My overall impression is of Danny Boyle sitting with four record decks and a mixer. The four records are the monarchy and it's army, revolution, Glastonbury Tor, the old and the new. Like all good disc-jockeys he speeds up and slows down tracks, whilst utilising the crossfader to weave them together for the ultimate groove. It's a tapestry. It appears "we" were participants in a global televisual performance, yet somehow it felt to me like a chimpanzees' tea party - with us as sleep-walking chimps ushering in a new zookeeper - that's "their" comedy gold.
We began with the Green and Pleasant section, although no mention was made by the commentators of Glastonbury Tor, nor indeed the tree which sat upon it. Previous media reports have suggested that Danny Boyle was inspired by William Blake's, And did those feet in ancient time, poem, which was, in itself, the source of the hymn Jerusalem. The background to it all is that Jesus is alleged to have visited Glastonbury and is linked to the idea of a second coming (wiki). Blake's poem includes the line, "Bring me my chariot of fire", the inspiration for the film and a reference to the Biblical 2 Kings 2:11. The tree reminds me of the thorn allegedly planted at Glastonbury by Joseph of Arimathea. The movie image below is of a tartan attired Ben Hur, going to hear Jesus preach.
Suddenly though we submerged, then rose, at a stone marked Isles of Wonder, the source of the river Thames. We flew downstream following a dragonfly. From wiki we note that the insect has "sinister" connotations to some and that it's nicknames include "devil's darning needle". We hear the Sex Pistols, God Save the Queen, as we enter London, but only the first line, Lydon's voice in stark contrast to the previous scenes. Then it's the Clash and their London Calling, the B side of which was Armagideon Time, a song originally written by Willi Williams. London Calling was inspired by the BBC World Service wartime broadcasts. We return to the stadium to see balloons bursting on a countdown (2 sixes fail) and the hymn Jerusalem sung by a young boy.
Isambard Kingdom Brunel appears from a horse drawn coach advertising biscuits, pre-requisite for a tea party. Swing Low Sweet Chariot is sung by the choir, a song accredited to Wallis Willis who was, like William Blake, inspired by 2 Kings 2:11. Brunel recites Caliban from the Tempest, whilst the tree rises and people climb out the hole and down the Tor, surely some sort of reference to our "roots". Drums are omnipresent through the affair, their hypnotic effect is well documented.
Suddenly it's pandemonium, the word itself sourced from Milton's Paradise Lost. Suffragettes appear as do the entrepreneurs of the time - it's the Industrial Revolution, but somehow the immigrant carrying Windrush ship of Midsummer 1948 has transpired. Individuals in brightly coloured Beatle-like outfits arrive at this time too. Giant chimneys have popped up and molten metal flows down a tadpole shape to be hammered into rings, which float into the sky. Pearly Kings and Queens appear - "the other Royal Family". The vote-desiring ladies, and money-mad men, join the Tor.
Suddenly we are in a seamstress or tailors room. Remember the dragonfly. A Happy and Glorious patch is being embroidered, then sewn, onto a red military uniform. We are at Buckingham Palace. A taxi bearing a subliminal double 11 badge arrives with 007 inside. He meets the Queen at precisely 8.30pm. Twin corgis perform, Bond and HM leave in a helicopter - a flying chariot which flies over iconic London landmarks including the twin-towered bridge. Suddenly it's trickery, the Queen appearing to parachute into the stadium, her stunt double a Gary Connery, reinforcing the Bond aspect.
The Queen is in her seat, just in front of Rowan Williams, archbishop and druid. Members of the military carry in the Union flag (Jack) and take it to the Tor. A sign-language choir, Kaos, sing God Save the Queen in their pyjamas as the banner is tediously hoisted. It's time for the children's literature and National Health Service section - and grizzly it is, I can hardly bear it. JK Rowling appears, as do hairy monkeys and a giant puppet Potter's Voldermort. It's all very dark. Nannies, not goats but Mary Poppins, save the day, the children end up happy in their beds which resemble prison bars, or even cattle pens. It's a nanny state.
Mr Bean next, along with a red and white rucksack and pentagram embossed drink container and a straw at a thirty three degree angle. Allegedly it's "evil" because two points of the star are uppermost, rather than one (wiki - European Occultism). Bean, after looking at his 'phone, retrieves a tissue from the backpack whilst the London Philharmonic Orchestra play Chariots of Fire. Bean dreams that he is involved in the movie.
A new act has opened, the house, which has also inflated from below, like the towers and puppets. Michael Fish, the weatherman, warns of a hurricane. It's a false alarm but there is definitely a change of tempo. It's now like Boyle is hitting the crossfader on a the mixer, the old being blended with the new. Old skool favourites are mashing into new ones. Anyone got any ecstacy. The dancers go wild, the majority colourful, although they are infused with black and white clad performers. A lost-phone love story is acted out; overall the generations are coming together as one. The Sex Pistols', Pretty Vacant, inclusion speaks for itself, as does the inclusion of New Order's Blue Monday. Frankie goes to Hollywood tell us to relax as the house resembles a giant, perhaps all-seeing, eye whilst Annie Lennox wishes us sweet dreams. Trainspotting and Edinburgh's Princes Street follow with the Prodigy's Firestarter, we conclude with a lot of kissing, since perhaps we are loved up. Kate 'n Wills and Planet of the Apes are imaged.
Dizzee Rascal and grime music follow, Dizzee in red and white, notes he's bonkers believing he's free whilst dancers ascend the Tor. The double edged sword, Muse, play, they are telling us of the "conspiracy" whilst apparently embracing it as they urge revolution. Yeah, but revolution into what, a repackaged version of the same? Suddenly the music stops and the house rises to reveal the inventor of the world wide web. The stadium lights up - "This is for everyone". We are visually reminded of the 1948 Olympics, army and monarchy are de rigueur. Nothing changes.
Another montage, this time the Olympic Torch Relay. Beckham, Edinburgh, red, white and blue, more monarchy, more army, more police, more London iconic landmarks. Then we are up to date again, with David Beckham in the manner of James Bond. Time to slow down, an unusual sun-drenched, yet dark, 7/7 tribute, and Scottish girl, Emile Sande, sings Abide with Me. The commentator, Trevor Nelson, ties this up with football. It's a funny old game and it's time for the athletes parade.
Last out are team GB, in quasi Druidic sports apparel, all white and gold, with hoods. Chris Hoy - The Flying Scotsman - leads the charge, he shares the same nickname as Eric Liddell, the main man from Chariots of Fire. Bowie's "Heroes" (see the Berlin Wall) plays as the ticker-paper falls - resonating a "vote" for every human being in the one-world democracy. More monarchy again from the Royal Box, and the Tor, covered in all the nation's flags. We are one, the walls are tumbling down.
The Artic monkeys remind us of 1984 and robots, their drummer's surname, Helders, jumps out from the back of his Orange Order like sash-top. A firework crown and then a cover of Come Together by the Beatles. Curious winged cyclists appear from under the Monkey's, they are allegedly doves.
Another focus on the Tor, Coe and Rogge wax lyrical. Then back to the Royal Box for the Queen to officially open the games. Then back to the Tor for some-more military flag raising. Then, yet again, to Beckham and eventually seven young athletes, led by a Scottish boy. Eventually we are at the cauldron, it ignites and Pink Floyd's, Eclipse, plays.
We close with scarlet-stripe adorned Paul McCartney and Hey Jude. Jude the short form of Judas and the German for Jew; the B side of the single release - Revolution.
The magic is over, but not for long.
wiki - Joseph of Arimathea
wiki - Glastonbury Tor
Tsarion - The Scarlet Thread
wiki - Glastonbury Thorn
wiki - Chimpanzees' Tea Party