London 2012 Olympic Games Diary: Day 1

So the painful hype and years of expectation are all over now and we’ve finally made it to the big event. But even before the Opening Ceremony we’ve seen several incidents worth noting. There was controversy in the women’s football as the North Korean team photos were shown next to a South Korean flag on the Hampden Park screens. A diplomatic faux pas that delayed the game by an hour as the North Koreans protested.

Today we saw the controversial UK government minister, Jeremy Hunt, nearly braining a spectator after breaking a handbell during what should have been a routine photo opportunity that involved simply joining in with a bell-ringing event that had been dreamt up by an artist. This is a man who clearly doesn’t know how to take a hint when the universe has taken a dislike to him. His latest bumbling effort is captured here:

But the main feature of Day 1 was, of course, the Opening Ceremony, which had been earnestly kept under wraps so as not to spoil the big reveal. Directed by Danny Boyle, he of Trainspotting, 28 Days Later, and Slumdog Millionaire fame, it was tempting to think that it would get quite gritty. Some people might have been expecting Chris Hoy shooting up heroin, the stadium being invaded by zombies, and the entire Indian team being blinded with hot spoons.

Well, if that’s what you were after you will have been seriously disappointed. What we got instead was an hour and a half of batshit crazy but PG entertainment followed by the entrance of the teams into the arena, speeches, and a rather wonderful lighting of the Olympic Flame with young athletes lighting hundreds of individual cauldrons that folded together to make one. But not a single brain eaten during the entire evening and the only hard drugs involved being whatever Boris Johnson was on.

It was brilliant and random though. An industrial takeover of the green and pleasant land led to Olympic rings being forged. Wonderfully there was Tim Berners-Lee, the NHS, and the great music we’ve produced. It even annoyed right-wing critics who saw it as a socialist celebration paid for by a Tory government. Disgraced Nazi-partying Cannock Chase MP, Aidan Burley, seemed particularly irked. Well done, Danny Boyle.


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