Saturday, 28 July 2012
Kiss Me Kate!
I mean, David Cameron might have lit the Olympic flame; or Sir Paul Mccartney might sing "Hey Jude". Oh he did, did he?
I don't know who I felt more sorry for. Mohamed Ali or Sir Paul - I think Macca won by a short, if heavily dyed, head of hair.
But wasn't it all so lovely. Didn't it make you proud to be part of this fractious, complaining and until recently very wet nation. Full of self loathing, riven by class, yet at a time of much uncertainty and difficulties one idiosyncratic display of fractured creativity has for a precious while healed and soothed.
Danny Boyle's riposte to Cameron's smug "selling Britain to the World" was a triumph. Here we saw a nation that had invented everything - from the dark satanic mills, a language of surpassing beauty and descriptive power, to Mr Bean, the Beatles and the worldwideweb. If you didn't get that world; well that's your bad luck.
What Mitt Romney made of it all I dread to think. No doubt last night's jigsaw of creative energy would have confirmed him in his belief that Coke and MacDonald's would have at least done a better job of selling the UK.
The evening was full of surprises and delights. The red hot forged Olympic ring rising up to join the other four suspended in the sky. The phalanx of Mary Poppins descending to drive away the nightmares and fears. The Bond and Bean touches; wonderfully undercutting any sense of overweening grandiose feelings of importance.
Many have commented that only a nation confident in its own nature can poke fun at itself so successfully.
It was not Cameron's or Coke's or Barclay's image of corporate Britain up for sale to the highest bidder. It was ourselves, reflected back on us.
And, do you know, I was proud of who I am.
Thank you Danny and this glorious, quirky island. And thank you Ma'am.