The London 2012 Olympics may have got off on the wrong foot the other night (I’m no diplomat, but displaying the wrong Korean flag at the footy is probably a no-no, right?!); nevertheless I reckon Mr Boyle more than made up for that rather embarrassing cock-up with a genuinely great opening ceremony. Nice one, Danny!
Some favourite moments…
1. All four GB nations represented in song at the very beginning, curiously every one supported exclusively by clips of rugby footage. (As a dyed-in-the-wool egg-chaser, naturally, I whole-heartedly approve – even if one of them was a clip of Tony Stanger’s try to win the Grand Slam against England at Murrayfield in 1990. Grrrrr!)
2. That fabled British sense of humour. Her Maj may have appeared a bit bored at times, but she proved herself a game old bird with that James Bond jumping out of a helicopter spoof. And the camera panning up to reveal Rowan Atkinson playing Chariots of Fire genuinely made me laugh out loud.
3. Killer tunes. A soundtrack that features Mike Oldfield, The Jam, Clapton, The Who, The Kinks, The Stones, Led Zep, Queen, The Sex Pistols, Soul II Soul, The Specials, Blur – and even Pink Floyd to accompany the final firework display – is pretty damn good by anyone’s standards!
But most of all…
4. The lighting of the Olympic cauldron. Not only was the cauldron itself a stunning piece of architecture, but the manner in which it was lit was a masterstroke.
Much as I admire his achievements, when I saw Sir Steve Redgrave accepting the torch and heading for the stadium, I felt disappointed by such a safe and obvious choice. And then…
As soon as he enters the stadium he, quite literally, passes on the torch to the next generation – to seven young athletes hand-chosen by past British Olympic gold medallists in their respective sports, including Redgrave himself, Dame Kelly Holmes and one of my all-time heroes as a kid, Daley Thompson.
Much has been made of the word “legacy” in the run-up to these Olympics, and nothing could have been a better embodiment of it. Hackneyed phrase though it may be, I’d regard it as a rather brilliant example of “living the brand”.