London 2012

Well, that was nice, wasn’t it?

Now that the closing ceremony is out of the way and it’s safe to come out (bit of an anti-climax, perhaps?), the thirtieth Olympiad is officially over.

I’m a bit sad about that, actually. I can’t pretend that I’d been looking forward to the London Olympics particularly. I tired of the build-up before it really got going, dreading the fickle patriotism and smugness of it all; I braced myself for the know-it-all bores who live vicariously through the endeavours of those who can actually be bothered to get up off their backsides and push themselves to be the best they can be, with their unfair criticism and general delusions of wisdom; I sneered at those athletes who whored themselves during each and every single commercial break for evil corporations I choose to boycott. I admit, I’m a cynical grump at times (not nearly as grumpy as Morrisey though, I hasten to add, although I do share certain sentiments about royalty and celebrity hijackings) and, like many, I’m not ashamed to admit, I thought London hosting the Olympics could quite possibly turn out to be something of an embarrassment, an awful lot of money down the drain trying to equal, perhaps even better (as if, good luck) the awesome spectacle of Beijing, when that money would obviously have been better spent on hospitals and schools.

It’s not that I don’t like sport; I do and very much. Sports that I’ve at one time played I can appreciate and enjoy most of all. Those that even ridiculously large sums of money could not tempt me to try (diving, anyone?) I can watch out of curiosity and genuine admiration and some disbelief – for a little while, anyway. Pretty much all the other events fall somewhere in between; I made the effort to watch as many as I could and found each of them entertaining in their own little way.

I didn’t approve of live animals being used in the opening ceremony; didn’t care about (or watch) the events Britain tends to fare best at (involving boats and horses usually) because, whether those who enjoy them most care to admit or not, participation in them is almost exclusively reserved for the wealthy, and that sticks in the craw. I knew that ‘England’ would keep slipping out of the mouths of commentators, pundits and even athletes instead of ‘Great Britain’, which is already controversial enough (in that it ignores Northern Ireland – it should, of course, be ‘Team GBNI’). I had no doubt that I would be embarrassed for the duration of the games to see the evening news lead every night with what should be an irrelevance when hundreds had died that day, the result of wars and famine and natural disaster. And perhaps worst of all, even worse than Wenlock and Mandeville, I’d keep seeing that horrible jagged logo everywhere I looked.

At the start, even a few days in, I’d have nodded like a Tory backbench buffoon at comments such as this one, from the Independent‘s Simon Kelner: ‘I find the fever pitch of jingoism, reflected in the breathless BBC coverage, a complete turn-off. In fact, it makes me the opposite of proud.’ I thought I’d be satisfied with amusing Lego recreations of the main talking points and would be able to politely follow conversations at post office queues should I ever need to pretend that I didn’t find it all so terribly dull, not wishing to be mistaken for a complete miserabilist.

You get the idea. Give me a nice World Cup any day, preferably one England didn’t qualify for, no offence intended, because then, and you have to admit, the ‘British’ media doesn’t go crazy with unrealistic expectation and the focus is squarely on the competition and one’s enjoyment of it rather than daily metatarsal updates and feigned surprise at the drunken antics of loutish fans coupled with the underachievement of over-paid stars who promise so much. Again.

Oh alright, yes; I even thought Mitt Romney might just have had a point. Happy now?

Now that it’s over, of course, we’ll have a good week or two of endless introspection (here’s Jon Snow), squeeze every remaining drop out of what has been, I think, a resounding success, and we’ll mourn its passing as we are forced to focus once more on all the depressing things it papered over. Ignorance truly is bliss.

We’ll eventually be (well, I am already) repulsed by rosy-cheeked politicians clinging on to the Olympic bandwagon for dear life, milking it as they did the Jubilee, not wanting to let go of the good publicity that hid all the other stuff they’re making a right pig’s ear of. There will come the predictable round of talk shows and newspaper exclusives, offering a dozen variations on ‘It was amazing!’ leading to yet more lucrative advertising opportunities for products that make many of us uncomfortable. We can expect wild overuse of the word ‘legacy’ and fresh calls for Sebastian Coe to be given some grand title (like ‘Lord’ isn’t already grand enough). We’ll soon be sick of the sight of our new heroes, you’ll see, and we’ll curse them when they are still claiming inches on the front pages where gloom and horror should rightfully be.

But it was damn good while it lasted, wasn’t it?

There were so many inspirational competitors, from the female athletes representing Islamic Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Brunei for the first time, to amputee sprinter and ‘Blade Runner’ Oscar Pistorius, whose tweets have oozed positive energy. As well as London being the first Olympics in which every national team included at least one female athlete, we had women’s boxing for the very first time, and the broad smile of gold medallist Nicola Adams compels even the most po-faced to smile back, I should think. There were almost as many females participating than males; the USA actually sent more women than men to London (269 compared with 261).

You can make much out of the contrasting emotions of Chinese world champion diver Qiu Bo (silver, devastated) and Britain’s Tom Daley (bronze, ecstatic) following the 10m platform diving final, where the courage of German Martin Wolfram, diving with a shoulder injury and still finishing eighth out of 12, also sticks in the mind. How I applauded Canadian footballer Desiree Scott, who withstood a bone-crunching tackle in what I thought was by far the best football match of the tournament – the women’s football semi-final against the USA. (Didier Drogba or Christiano Ronaldo would still be rolling around on the floor, clutching numerous body parts in turn, trying not to cry, you know it.) No stretcher for her and, to everybody’s amazement, she was back on the pitch for penalties that, sadly, never came. I thought she’d broken her leg. The BMX and hockey provided wonderful carnage. Talk about thrills, spills, highs, lows and all that stuff. It had something for everyone.

Such unrestrained emotion. There was South Korean fencer Shin A-lam, who wept for an hour after losing her semi-final and was offered a special award in consolation by fencing’s world governing body, probably just to shut her up, I should think. The best tears, though, were those of Felix Sanchez of the Dominican Republic, competing in his fourth Olympics. He broke down spectacularly during his gold medal ceremony after winning the men’s 400m hurdles final.

It all made for fascinating viewing.

Viewers’ attitudes really did change. A week ago, if offered a magic button that could switch off the Olympics – something I had prayed for more than once – an amazing 87 per cent of those polled would not have pressed it. Wow. They only needed one finger to make it all go away and they chose not to exert themselves.

The commercial sponsorship and free-loading celebrities did infuriate, it has to be said, but they always do. The over-paid and pampered stars of football and basketball muscling in and taking some of the shine away from those who don’t enjoy such adoration caused some resentment, for great is the contrast between the wealthy footballer and the athlete who generally is not in receipt of a bumper contract supplemented by sweet sponsorship deals (certain high profiles excepted) and is therefore, we all reasonably assume, driven by something far more respectable than financial reward and is thus a more worthy role model for an obese and lazy generation or two for whom competitive sport exists only through the dancing thumbs on a Playstation or Xbox controller. (Many have had their school playing fields sold off, to be fair, and local parks claimed by junkies and drunks if not property developers. Let’s see the schmoozing politicians do something about that.)

It’s been quite amusing to observe the way it’s suddenly dawned on the public that well-paid sportsmen are often rotten wasters who don’t appreciate how lucky they are. Unlike the modern footballer, these Olympians run around your park. You can see them training on the beach or on the river when you walk your dog or take your children to school. Not for them a world of high cast iron gates and intercoms. Not yet, anyway.

So allow me, if you will, to ignore the obvious characters that have demanded the boldest headlines for more than two weeks (Michael Phelps, Chris Hoy, Ben Ainslie, Usain Bolt), because there have been some heart-warming stories concerning less celebrated individuals if you’ve cared to sentimentalise. These are the ones you will to succeed most of all. Take judo bronze medallist Karina Bryant, who had long struggled to make her training sessions in a battered old car. Consider the family sacrifice of Jade Jones, who won a gold in Taekwondo. What reward for her grandfather who regularly accompanied her on sixty-mile round trips.

That close-knit communities which rallied together to raise money so that one person, rich in talent but not necessarily with access to the kind of bank balance that make dream-chasing easier, might achieve his or her ambition of competing in the Olympics, can now see post boxes in their towns and villages painted gold and take pride from one of their own triumphing in the face of adversity, not just by beating the world’s finest in their respective fields but by first overcoming social inequality, warms my cold heart. They were the real stars in Team GB for me.

See? I’m even using the hideous ‘Team GB’ when I vowed just weeks earlier never to resort to such lazy over familiarity.

I’ll disagree with Simon Kelner on one thing: I thought the BBC coverage was pretty good in all, save for the grotesque cartoon characters in the opening credits. It’s a sad sign of the times that we all now expect every tear of joy and agony to be captured in high definition and replayed in slow motion, shown from several angles with a rabble of people who have rented their mouths to the highest bidder and offer their tedious theorising in exchange. I’m always going to wince at the sight of a microphone being thrust with impatience into someone’s face and accompanied by a blunt question prompting pointless stating of the obvious. It’s not unique to the Beeb. We have also come to expect those involved to tweet with regularity and sometimes get carried away.

Yes, the ticketing ballot left many disappointed, with the army drafted in to fill empty seats at times when ungrateful corporate sponsors and VIPs couldn’t be arsed to attend (even though they had dedicated traffic lanes so they could zip through London with minimal inconvenience, for goodness sake). Celebrities, so incredibly fortunate in the ticket lottery, hogged them at other times, not least the Royals still riding the wave of goodwill as they have done since the Royal wedding, in fact. It is true that the medals seemed bigger than they needed to be, I also thought the petite posies so ridiculous at first glance. What’s so ethical about giving somebody cut flowers? I love the wild flowers planted around the Olympic Stadium for the bees and the butterflies, but nearly 5,000 ‘victory bouquets’ were handed out. That’s a lot of flowers chopped down for often burly men to clutch awkwardly.

I’m just being finicky, I know.

The security looked to be a shambles, but I didn’t notice any terrorist atrocity, did you? To stage the event cost a pretty penny, yet how could it not? About six billion pounds of it (£6.2bn) came from government i.e. taxes and two billion (£2.1bn) from Lottery funding i.e. people buying lottery tickets (do please take my earlier point about playing fields). But that was still a quarter of what China spent on Beijing (even though they got an underground and airport out of that, too). See what I’m trying to do here?

Here’s the biggie: It’s always pleasing when the Union Jack is reclaimed from fascists and the gormless, chinless Last Night of the Proms crowd, even if many Britons, and I count myself as one of them, see nothing of relevance in a flag that fails to represent my country (Wales) and associate it, in truth, with imperialism and oppression. I wouldn’t shroud myself in its colours any more than I would sing a dull monotone ode about a God or a Queen, thank you very much, as I have reservations about the existence of one and the validity of the other, even if she now has street cred for appearing alongside James Bond, and I don’t care who that offends. But, do you know, suddenly I don’t resent the Union flag so much. I wonder how Scottish nationalists are feeling about it.

Here’s a poem.

Perhaps the best thing of all was that Mo Farah’s double gold was a wonderful, joyous, well-aimed slap across the flustered cheeks of every bigot in the land who had neighed and stomped about the opening ceremony’s multicultural imbalance. The Somalian refugee’s enthusiasm has been contagious and the Sports Personality of the Year award is going to be very hard to call. My money’s on Mo.

Another thing, it’s been so refreshing to see young sportswomen on both front and back pages instead of plastic ‘celebrities’ (quite literally plastic, many of them); all fake tan and hair extensions, vacuous, rather pointless, famous only for sharing every moment of their empty lives on reality TV and admired by the hopeless for being able to walk in a reasonably straight line after a night on the lash in ridiculously high heels without vomiting over their inflated breasts. I haven’t missed them. Do we have to have them back? Our dedicated Olympians are much more healthy role models in every sense of the word. (Not sick of them yet.)

We can be proud, too, of the volunteers (7,500 people spent three months rehearsing for Danny Boyle’s opening ceremony) and proud that we’ve shown yet again our capacity to laugh at ourselves. There were many moments during both ceremonies that showed how utterly barmy Britons are, and normally I tire of that tired cliché. But I laughed where I was supposed to.

Were we swept along on a wave of surprise at how well we did, as hosts as well as in competition, relieved that it didn’t all go horribly wrong? Fickle as it may be, we indulged in a little escapism, we gave our attention to sports we wouldn’t usually stay up to watch in the early hours of the morning because, without the promise of an over-sized medal at the end of it, most of us just don’t care all that much. I wonder if that will change now.

All I know is that no World Cup has been as satisfying as these Summer Games, so up yours, Mitt Romney.

To my fellow miserabilists, fear not; things will feel more depressingly normal when the front pages scream of gloom and scandal as they did before all this. Hang in there.

Until then, I’d love to know what you liked, what you didn’t, what you’ll remember most and how you thought Britain did. (This is how some Americans rated London. Note the amusing final section on the Royal family, which is so very, very true.) And, if we’re still riding on the success by Thursday, as I suspect we will be, the chatroom will be open from 3pm (UK) should you wish to storm in with your flags a-waving. Just please don’t mix up those of North and South Korea.

Author: FEd

Features Editor of David Gilmour’s official blog, The Blog (‘Features’ previously being its rather naff title), affectionately – or lazily – shortened to ‘FEd’.

92 thoughts on “London 2012”

  1. Well…I thought the games as a whole were pretty entertaining…great to see the Floyd getting a very well deserved nod and the Bay City Rollers bass player with Liam Gallagher’s band, Guy Pratt tweeted his observation at the same time I said to my Wife…priceless.

    Jess Ennis and Mo Farah stole it for me!…well done!

  2. THANK YOU OLYMPIANS, you were all earthly gods and goddesses!!! And THANK YOU NICK MASON for playing “Wish You Were Here” on your kit at the closing ceremony yesterday! I could kiss you for being there!!! I watched “Live at Pompeii” on Saturday with the greatest of hopes. If ever there was a drum god, it’s you!

    Nick Mason was fabulous at the closing ceremony of the Olympics!!! I just wanted to write and say, THANK YOU NICK!!!!

    Fed, I sincerely hope you went, the closing ceremony lineup of British musical talent looked and sounded incredible! Brian May, Annie Lennox, George Michael, The Who, and of course Nick Mason were in tiptop form! And I loved the Brazilian Carnival and samba? players- As they say during Mardi Gras in New Orleans, “Lassez les bon temp roulez encoure!” Rio is going to be a real treat!

    In fact, I’m curious: where were Blur, Kate Bush, David Bowie, Paul McCartney, Elton John, and for that matter, David Gilmour? Or the British-American athletic Wall climber who should now be all too comfortable with projections and stadiums, Roger Waters? All had rumors afloat, and now that the ceremony is done and the 2012 Olympics have passed into history, I feel that they all missed a great opportunity!

    All were sorely missed!

    I’ve not seen the opening ceremony, but I did see the Pink Floyd tributes, it was magnificent that this happened. It’s slightly sad that the old questions of absence are still there.

    The less said about Ed Sheeran the better, but I did in a campy performance art sort of way love the flaming handshake tribute by the tightrope walker! Does anyone know who he was?

    1. I wasn’t there, Sharon, but I think sometimes these things are better on TV anyway.

      The opening ceremony was better than the closing one, I felt. I do think they missed a golden (if you’ll pardon the pun) opportunity with the closing ceremony; they should have finished with the Austin Powers theme, ‘Soul Bossa Nova’, for the London-Rio handover. Just imagine it: Boris Johnson could have been Austin (he’s got the floppy hair); all the models from the Bowie/Fashion bit could have come back out in mini skirts and pixie cuts looking sullen; there’d be policemen doing backflips; cameos for whoever needed more exposure (I’m thinking George Michael); the Queen could have had a part; Beefeaters, bankers, tourists, all could have chased Boris through the streets, passing post boxes and mopeds and the trendy boutiques of Carnaby Street; Nick Mason could have driven by in an E-Type Jaguar – ‘Shaguar’ – convertible that had been painted red, white and blue, for Boris to escape the frenzied mob, and they could have ended up dancing on a beach that’s supposed to represent Rio in the middle of a volleyball match surrounded by sun-kissed beauties in tight-fitting yellow football jerseys. They wouldn’t have needed anywhere near 7,500 volunteers, and not a single farmyard animal would have been caused unnecessary stress.

      Crying shame. It would have been groovy.

  3. Feeling that I should not support an commercial event with athletes and committees that I do not trust at all, I did not watch the Olympic Games. I’d rather watch paint drying.

    But then that’s only me and I realise that others had a helluva fun. So let me keep my mouth shut after saying that the only interesting fact I fetched from the news was, that the gold medals aren’t golden enough. 😉

    Best regards from South Pilion


    1. Thanks for that, Taki. Please don’t keep your mouth shut; I need to hear this and so do a lot of other people who are being far too complimentary. :))

  4. Well, knowing how the Brits always put themselves down at being shit all the time, I expected it to be a bit that way. But no, it was good, entertaining and educational. And it was nice to see everyone so cheerful.

    Highlight for me was to see Ricky Wilson (Kaiser Chiefs) come in on the scooter and sing before jumping onto the stage with the rest of the band. I had hoped the would have done another number of their own. Lest we forget George Michael did two songs.

    I am glad Macca didn’t put in another stint but almost burst into tears when John Lennon’s image came on. Very moving.

    Even though I am not into sports whatsoever apart from cricket and BCFC, I thought the whole thing was good and it lifted my spirits no end when I heard the Brits cheering for themselves.

    It made me feel proud.

    1. Lest we forget George Michael did two songs.

      And what was the second one? Funny time to perform your new single.

      Totally agree about the Lennon tribute and it was nice that they featured Freddie Mercury as well, but did you not think, as I did, that Lennon himself might have hated it? Were they both alive, something tells me that Freddie Mercury would have been there, and loving it, but not John Lennon. I like to imagine (imagine, sorry) that he wouldn’t be quite as gloomy as Morrissey, though. But then, is anyone?

  5. I love the idea of more kids getting involved in sports because of the Olympics, but I doubt they will unless serious money is invested at the grass roots level.

  6. I understand the feeling you mentioned about the Olympics, can’t say I’m too much for it either! Besides that I would like to post you a thought.


    I have hoped for several years now that you might do a show in Stockholm, Sweden but nothing as yet. 🙂 I really do hope that you will come over here soon and that I am able to get a ticket in that case. I’ve followed you for music now for many, many years and as yet find you to be an unbeatable writer, performer and player.

    Best regards
    from Kevin

  7. And the relevance of this (admittedly well-written) rant to David Gilmour is…? Where can I find

    1. The main part of my job, silly as it may seem, is to keep this blog going, even when I have nothing of obvious relevance to write about and often wonder, in all honesty, whether I should bother. So, when I force myself to write something, I write about whatever randomly-snatched topic I think this little community might care to read about and pass comment on, should the good people that have made it a community have nothing better to do some time. That’s because I care for your views, as I did when they concerned songs and concerts, and have always enjoyed communicating with you down the years. Also, even though there is no news to report right now, that might not always be the case. So, in the meantime, you could just humour me or even completely ignore me, I don’t mind, and maybe come back when I’m saying something of more interest to you and pretty much everyone else who has an interest in this tiny, insignificant part of the internet.

      Cheers, though, for speaking your mind (even though it’s ruined my day). I do understand your point, of course, but please understand mine; I’m just doing my job so that I can pay the bills and eat three times a day. Nothing more, nothing less.

    2. The main part of my job, silly as it may seem, is to keep this blog going, even when I have nothing of obvious relevance to write about and often wonder, in all honesty, whether I should bother.

      Please bother. We love your musings, FEd.

    3. Am sending a virtual pint, or three 😉 of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream to hopefully reverse some of the ill effects of a potentially ruined day – I leave the choice of flavours to you FEd. ♥

      Coming from a relative ‘new-comer’ to The Blog, this ‘tiny, insignificant part of the internet.’ has coloured my world with shades I didn’t even imagine existed and I am the better for it. Stick around if you’re so inclined, snoop a little (I was a ‘voyeur’ for the longest time before I plucked up enough courage to participate), read past posts and the contributors comments, there’s a little something for everyone.

      And the relevance to David Gilmour? Why, I might just wager a guess that it has every relevance which is why we come to this wonderful place to begin with!

      1. 🙂 Thanks, Julie and Pavlov. It could take at least an hour to choose, Pavlov, but I can think of worse ways to spend the time.

    4. And I, I am feeling so proud to be part of this “little community” that YOU built – with so much talent and enthusiasm, FEd. 🙂

      (Sorry if I sound pompous or pretentious, not my intention.)

  8. Well here’s my little rant. Hate Boris Johnson, should have thrown him on the flames to extinguish it at the close, pompous Tory twat.

    As for feeling British, no I don’t, I’m English for my sins, but have two Scottish grandads and with a bit of Irish thrown in. I don’t think it should be Team GBNI as Northern Ireland belongs to the Irish. The Welsh moan about the English, the Scots hate the English, and the English moan about everything.

    It should have been named the Coca Cola McShit Games as they made sure all other business in and around London never got a look in. All in all it was hijacked by the Tories and big business. Opening ceremony was stupid, what happened to the history of these isles? And the close was pants apart from Nick up there on his own.

    All in all waste of 10 billion quid.

    1. This was one of my favourite tweets during the Closing Ceremony.

      Northern Irish athletes actually had a choice between competing for Ireland or Great Britain – thirteen chose the former, seven chose the latter.

      As I can’t speak for Northern Ireland, here’s a letter that was printed in the Belfast Telegraph.

      And going off topic, I just noticed this at the Belfast Telegraph site: He’s only 17 months dead but already rock guitar hero Gary Moore’s grave is in sorry state. How very sad.

      Going back to the Olympics… Of course, when it came to the football, the football associations of Scotland and Northern Ireland would not allow their players to represent a British team. The Welsh equivalent did, as Wales always comes when called by England, but my view on this has always been that it would be nice for players such as Ryan Giggs to experience playing on a world stage, as he never has and never will in the red of Wales. I don’t think he should have been criticised for not singing what is still England’s national anthem, though.

    2. Awful to read about Gary’s Moore’s grave site. Granted, it’s just material, but surely a proper gravestone doesn’t take this long to put up – a token of respect!

    3. I’m Scottish, not British. ‘British’ is just like ‘Scandinavian’, it’s just a region and collection of old kingdoms. Norway, Finland and Sweden don’t have to compete as Team Scandinavia. Sweden won eight medals, Norway four and Finland three. Would they be prouder if they’d won 15 for Team Scandinavia? No way.

      I’d have gotten behind the Olympics if Scotland had competed independently. Scotland contributed 13 medals to Team GB so there was plenty to shout about.

      I think ‘Team UK’ would have been less offensive than ‘Team GB’.

      1. I completely agree, Stevo. But just think how long it would take to introduce the teams during the Opening Ceremony. I’d be sound asleep long before the Welsh came out waving (and it would be a case of ‘blink and you’ll miss them’).

        Joking aside, would the BBC even bother covering the non-English competitors? I don’t think they’d get as much attention as the English athletes, that’s for sure.

    4. I have Scottish and Irish ancestry too Damien !

      Good question Fed, I loved the reclamation of the Union Flag, I’m proud to be British, I’ve always thought of myself as being British. When it comes to international competitions or politics for that matter, I think we, Scots, Irish, English and Welsh, should all be united against the world. I would like the world to perceive us as so. I’d like us to be loyal to each other like siblings and protect the other/s. Of course, once the world has recognised they will never divide us, just like siblings, we can hate each other and squabble again. :))


  9. I was one of those who wasn’t particularly looking forward to the Olympics, but when it started, I actually quite enjoyed it. It’s good to see a load of sports that would not normally be shown on TV. I enjoyed the beach volleyball (female only – the men’s beach volleyball was somehow less appealing…), handball, hockey, etc… We don’t often see swimming or diving on TV either. And my favourite events were in the track cycling. Some fantastic stuff in there – and would have been even if Team GBNI weren’t so awesome at it! I wasn’t keen on the Taekwondo, but I tuned in to watch fellow Gog, Jade Jones, and was delighted when she won the gold.

    I fully agree on the Team GBNI thing, BTW. Seems a bit of a kick in the teeth for the competitors from NI!

    The opening ceremony was entertaining, if a bit pretentious. It set the tone for what turned out to be a really good Olympic Games. It’s just a shame that the closing ceremony was so utterly awful! It brought us back down to earth with a bang. Parts of it were like a really bad LSD trip.

    And after 16 days of providing the girls of the UK with role models such as Jessica Ennis, Laura Trott, Jade Jones, Katherine Grainger, etc… what do they do in the closing ceremony? They undo all that by having bleedin’ supermodels and the Spice Girls take centre stage! You couldn’t make it up…

    1. And after 16 days of providing the girls of the UK with role models such as Jessica Ennis, Laura Trott, Jade Jones, Katherine Grainger, etc… what do they do in the closing ceremony? They undo all that by having bleedin’ supermodels and the Spice Girls take centre stage! You couldn’t make it up…

      :)) That’s a good point, Gareth. I wonder if the intention was to bring us all crashing down by reminding us, first, that certain annoying people are still around and will soon be back to torment us, and second, that it’s not very British to be so enthusiastic and emotional. Do you know, I heard that Team GB topped the tears table…

    2. ‘Lo all. FEd. Again a great read.

      Didn’t get to see much of the opening ceremony or indeed the sporting events, other than on the “well covered BBCi…thing”. On the whole I did think it was well presented and managed, in most quarters… FEd I ask, did I see “Tony Benn” in the mix somewhere or did I dream it?

      Thought Mr M was looking pretty chilled on Ed Sheeran’s WYWH. Thats a big song for a young guy in front of a few millio, eh! Think I was more touched by the breeze than blown away though.

      There is a thing about watching sporting events live. If you know the result of a event before the first opportunity to see it, it takes the edge off it a bit.

      In response to Pavlov’s offer of pints of B&J. I offer you Fed… Four pints of ale. Your choice. For doing a great job.

      P.S. Gareth, I sympathise with you, didn’t see any footage of “Posh Spice’s technician” nailing her feet down on the top o’ of that taxi so she wouldn’t get blown off. Or was she wearing Velcro footwear? …John Oreovics, welcome to the community, it’s a bit random.

      Loving Bruce Springsteen’s latest offerings. Have a fab week all. x

  10. Just wanted too add:

    I did enjoy the fireworks, Ray Davies, and the Yanks spitting their dummy out when the Chinese swimmer left them in her wake, LOL. And I do appreciate living in a land where I can come home after earning a decent wage, to electricity at the flick of a switch, running water, and Coronation Street.

    Kind regards Damian.

  11. I thought it was brilliant. I wasn’t looking forward to the Olympics but I’ve been thoroughly entertained and I’m actually sad it’s over.

    Highlights for me (from a British point of view) were Mo Farah and Chris Hoy. Both genuinely nice people who got the rewards their hard work and dedication deserved. I’m also in love with Jessica Ennis so I enjoyed seeing her win and win in style. Usain Bolt was fantastic too of course, not only is it a privilege to see him perform to the unmatched standards he does, but he’s an all round entertainer.

    In terms of the opening and closing of the games.

    Opening Ceremony = Fantastic

    Closing Ceremony = Bad

    Only a few good things about the closing ceremony, obviously Nick Mason was the highlight for me, but I didn’t care for Sheeran’s cover. One Direction and Jessie J were horrendous, Jessie J really wound me up, strolled around like musical royalty but she’s a no mark outside of the UK. One direction are just embarrassing, showing up to lip synch a truly woeful pop song.

    For me the two dead guys (Freddie Mercury and John Lennon) stole the show, I did think The Who were fantastic though and really saved the show from being a big let down.

    The opening ceremony was glorious from start to finish, Eclipse being used as the finale made my night, I had goosebumps.

    Does anyone know if Gilmour was asked to perform at the closing ceremony? His presence alone could have changed it from ‘bad’ to ‘good’ for me.

    P.S. I wanted to shoot myself after seeing Sheeran’s daft fans talking about his ‘new song’ on twitter, cringeworthy!

    1. For ‘doing a John Terry’, I’d have put Jessie J in the Wicker Man as well, to be fair.

      I believe David was invited but keeping in mind his comments about a reunion and considering how many of those who did perform have something to promote, I take my hat off to him for not being involved. Don’t forget it was he who shamed a lot of other artists into donating to charity profits from increased sales off the back of Live 8, and a record worldwide television audience is responsible for Elbow’s sales, for example, increasing by more than 1,000 per cent.

      This piece, on those who turned down the chance to perform at the ceremonies, is quite interesting.

  12. Congratulations to all of UK for fabulous games and a wonderful spirit. THANK YOU.

    So brilliant, brilliant, brilliant to see NICK MASON standing up (or sitting down drumming, if you will) for Pink Floyd. Nick deserves all the god-like accolades we can muster for simply being there. The tight-rope tableau-vivant was beautiful, emotional.

    I watched the Closing Ceremony in a bar and had a ‘moment’ when a woman asked who David Bowie is. “I was born in the ’60s,” she offered by way of explanation, “so I’m not down on who were the big fellas then.” Fellow bar flies rushed to fill in the 40 intervening years. The Beatles, though, seemed to ring a bell. Still big fellas, all.

    But really, the ATHLETES stole the show. All those beautiful, glowing, happy faces. Who cares how much we spend on them. They deserve every penny and in my books it’s that much not going towards bombs.

    May we all continue to bask in this wonderful Olympian spirit as long as possible.

    Bella xxxx

  13. hi fed, you will not remember me but i used to be around a bit. anyway how are you? and hope all is well with you and all the irregulars out there. it’s nice to be back with like minded people.

    olympics, well to be honest, i never really wanted it before we won the bid. always thought money could have been spent elsewhere but that’s a political view of mine so i will not go there. i enjoyed parts of it and as a country we did a good job but all i hear now is legacy, legacy, legacy… legacy would be great but i have my doubts. i mean, the main stadium may become a soccer ground, people who are supposed experts already say it will not work as a soccer stadium so what will happen to that? another dome maybe? it took them years to get the dome to be useful.

    anyway i will watch and wait for the legacy…???

    again, good to be back with you all. xx

  14. Am unable to make a meaningful contribution since I didn’t watch any of it (with one small exception after the fact). The last Olympic activity I watched was Nadia Comăneci’s ‘perfect 10’ in 1976 and only because it was the first year we had television in South Africa so it was quite a novelty. I’ve always known the Olympics to be filled with controversy – there are always one-hundred-and-one ‘opinions’ along the way and for me that would detract from the pure pleasure of the sportsmanship and competition.

    A friend sent me a link with photographs of the closing ceremony which looked absolutely spectacular. My curiosity got the better of me and I ended up watching a YouTube clip of Ed Sheeran’s cover of Wish You Were Here – I have strong personal views about Pink Floyd covers and I will not criticize as I imagine the intentions were noble and honorable.

    By all accounts (neighbors eager to see the ‘Flying Squirrel’ in action, friends, family rooting for the ‘Blade Runner’, and ‘water cooler’ chatter of smitten lasses pondering the virtues of Lochte vs. Phelps in the abdominals department), the ‘London 2012’ games were a success and Britons should all be proud!

  15. That article about Gary Moore’s headstone is really sad. Can’t believe he’s gone, unbelievable guitarist.

    I doubt Lennon would have enjoyed ‘Imagine’ much. Mercury bit was brilliant though, even a playback from 26 years ago still got the crowd going.

    I’m curious to know whether the supergroups were invited to the closing ceremony? Looking at the performers there, Jessie J, One fooking Direction and so on, I’d say they did their best to appeal to 12-18 year old girls.

    1. Have a look at this, Kris. It seems there were a lot of invitations sent.

      I can’t suppress my cynicism for much longer: I think it’s fair to say that the majority of performers were, as Polly tweeted so beautifully on Sunday, ‘slags’.

    2. Polly’s tweet makes me curious … I assume there’s a view in the Gilmour household that WYWH shouldn’t have been played … so is it in the gift of EMI (or whoever) to grant permission rather than the band itself? Or maybe Rog and Nick outvoted David?

      I’m always a bit nervous at the idea of Nick picking up the sticks as I imagine he spends relatively little time on the stool these days, but to be fair he seemed to my clothy old ears to do a good job … admittedly on a not so difficult drumming track …. Generally I’m always happy to see a cover version of any Floyd song … good music deserves to be played by everyone and heard as often as possible, IMHO.

      Any light you can cast on these machinations of the business Fed?

  16. Don’t get me wrong FEd, I hold nothing against David for not doing it. He’s my music hero so any complaint I have is purely from a selfish point of view in that I didn’t get the excitement of seeing him perform. He really doesn’t belong on a stage with Russell brand and Jessie J that’s for sure, I can’t believe how much that one performance made me dislike Jessie J.

    Interesting that Bowie was invited too! Thanks for that. I’d have loved to have seen him perform too but he really doesn’t do anything anymore so I’m not at all surprised he said no. Feel privileged to have seen Bowie perform with David at the RAH though! Haha.

    George Michael had a brass neck using the event to plug his crap new single, and I must say I find Elbow incredibly boring too, though I note Kate Bush disagrees. Incidentally I loved that they used ‘Running Up That Hill’ during the closing ceremony.

    1. Oh, I know what you mean. In an ideal and innocent world where no artist would have cause for reservations about how their attendance might be questioned and criticised, it would have been one hell of a show. I did wonder, if any other country had attempted to focus so much on their musical exports, how it could have compared to London’s offering. I think even the USA would have struggled, perhaps, now that so many greats have passed. That said, they too could have used video of Elvis, Sinatra, Jackson…

  17. Yorkshire alone won seven gold medals, two silver medals, and three bronze medals. That’s enough to place Yorkshire 12th in the medal table if it had been competing as a country!

  18. I can’t suppress my cynicism for much longer: I think it’s fair to say that the majority of performers were, as Polly tweeted so beautifully on Sunday, ‘slags’.

    I saw that Tweet, and thought she was devilishly talking about the Spice Girls. LOL. I meant this in a kind jovial way.

  19. Cheers for that article about Bowie and co, BTW!

    Question about Polly’s tweet, what did you take that to mean? I’m not quite sure about it, she did tweet it during Ed Sheeran’s performance of ‘Wish You Were Here’. Hopefully it wasn’t a snide remark about Nick? Ahh I have no clue, it could be interpreted many ways.

    Have a look at this, a little taste of what it was like to be in the Olympic stadium during ‘Eclipse’!

  20. My god, Jessie sounds like a cat being strangled. What were Roger and Bryan thinking of? As for NBC, yeah they were shite. Jane Fonda was having a right moan about them and I suppose someone’s always gonna have a pop at David, but hey ho, he’s a rock legend. People love the man’s music and want to see him even though he will think differently about his status being such a down to earth chap, bless him.

  21. RE Northern Ireland. Says on my passport United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.


  22. Fed, you are a cynical “old fart” and I love the way you express what’s going on in the old country (four years away now). I didn’t see that much of the Olympics but NBC’s coverage of the closing ceremony did leave out a lot.

    Keep up the ranting, we need to keep kicking against the institution. Anyway have a good day and don’t let the b******ds grind you down.

  23. Here’s a little “foreign” perspective on the games, although given how much of British culture permeates ours here in Canada, I suppose it’s really not so foreign, but I digress.

    I am no fan of the corporatism that permeates the games, but since I do massively enjoy sport, I am able to look past all of that and focus on the performances. For that reason, I think that Great Britain can be very proud of the way they pulled the whole thing off. Having spent a fair amount of time there in the past 10 or so years, and having seen all the negativity the Olympics received after they were awarded, I was skeptical that it would be done well. I was proven wrong. I have friends and family who were in attendance and their overall impression was very good. Yes, they spoke of some annoyances such as security and long trips to some venues, but the smiles on the faces of the volunteers and staffers more than made up for most of it (so I’m told).

    From a distance on TV, the games looked great! I watched much of the coverage on our Canadian TV networks, and the only negative I saw was the number of empty seats at some venues. I was in Vancouver for the winter games in 2010 and there was nary an empty chair during the entire event. It is such a shame that corporate interests were allowed to monopolize these summer games as they apparently did.

    I love the personal stories of the amateur athletes who subsist on very little funding just for that chance at a moment of glory. As a Canadian, I am very proud of our women’s football team for stretching far above expectation and coming home with a medal. FEd, I have to ask since you watched the semi-final against the USA, did you think the hand ball called late in the game against Canada was legitimate? It was viewed very negatively over here but that was with much bias and I’d be curious how it was viewed by a nation of real football fans (we’re pretenders on this side of the Atlantic).

    As a final thought, there were some negative comments from the British contingent during the Vancouver games. They were not supported by athletes and officials from other countries and so, they were viewed quite negatively here in Canada (mostly out of disappointment that our friends would speak that way). It seemed as if the people who made them were in some strange way trying to prop up their own efforts for the summer of 2012, but it just came off as petty and small. I am happy to say that we heard of no such criticisms made “the other way”, save for complaints about the Norwegian football referee, but that was hardly Britain’s fault. Our athletes and officials were very complimentary of the reception they received and the venues they visited.

    So, I am sad they are over, save for the closing ceremony, which for me was mostly boring. I love British music and culture, but not all of that which was celebrated is much worthy of celebration, IMHO. The sullen skinny folk (models) and “artists like Jessie J, I can do without. Bring on more Monty Python, John Lennon, Sir Paul and The Who. Oh, and I think the Austin Powers bit (as proposed by you FEd) would have been hilarious.

    Cheers from Toronto!


    1. Many thanks for that, Jeff. I didn’t think a penalty should have been awarded; I thought the ball struck her (was it Nault’s?) elbow and it didn’t looks as though she was trying to gain an advantage by controlling the ball. It must have been heartbreaking for Canadians. I got the feeling that the BBC commentary team was rooting for Canada after that (I was, anyway).

      It was such an exciting match played by two fearless sides. I can’t believe how tough some of the tackles were. If anyone ever mocks women’s football again, they should be made to watch a recording of that game and eat their words. In fact, it should be compulsory viewing ready for the new English Premiership season in every club. Those girls put many of the game’s biggest stars to shame with their hunger and desire to win.

  24. I got fed up of the run up to the opening, it seemed to be all over the news and I thought I wouldn’t enjoy the Olympics as much as I usually do. I loved it all from start to finish 😀 . . . Correction, there were bits of the closing ceremony I just didn’t get the relevance of.

    The supermodels? I didn’t know who they were or what that was all about and I wasn’t a long way away in the crowd, I was watching close up TV.

    A lot of the music was very disappointing. Annie Lennox was stunning though. Stomp were terrific!

    I burst out laughing at a good few parts of the show but Eric Idle was the best :)), his entire “thing” was very surreal, and the tiller girl Romans were outrageous!

    The newspaper “coverage” of the stages and props and cast reminded me of, ‘A Great Day For Freedom’.

    On the theme of freedom, George Michael????? Seriously????? Maybe he paid them to let him perform.

    I confess, I actually liked Ed Sheeran’s voice. When I heard the drums I would have sworn Stomp had just come back on! (Here’s hoping everyone’s forgiven me for liking it.) Anyway, it was supposed to be about sports so, some of the stand outs no one else has mentioned yet. . . .

    The two British rowers that won our first gold, their look of disbelief, surprise, delight and hugs for each other. . . wonderful.

    It seemed to me that so many of our medallists said when interviewed at track/pool/other venue side, “I can’t believe it!” 😀

    Believe it! You did it! Congratulations to our athletes, also all athletes who qualified for the games, you are the world’s best, in all seven billion of us.

    Can you believe the American 4X400m relay runner Manteo Mitchell‘s courage and determination? He carried on even after he heard his leg break!

    Gary Lineker, I love him, he was always a gentleman footballer and has remained a thoroughly nice guy. Apart from the crisps fetish.

    Have written more than enough for now, have to let someone else get a word in. :))


  25. Considering how critical Lennon’s feelings usually were about his own work he’d probably have disowned everything he did in the 70s by now. 😛 Just teasing, but I wouldn’t be surprised.

    I could only watch the Olympics in short bursts. On NBC here in the U.S. they showed the big sports (swimming, gymnastics, track & field, etc.) from 8PM to 12AM and I could only maintain my interest if I skipped the first two hours, that way the finals became more potent and exciting.

    Before certain matches there were usually short segments about athletes who had either been injured or were trying to make up for past Olympic failures and I have to admit I was quite the sucker for them. I held my breath and felt the blood rush to the head during those performances and for me that’s the sort of intensity and drama that makes the games more interesting.

    If this trend of bringing legless/half-legless people into the Olympics continues I wonder how far it will be allowed to go? If it keeps going on like this maybe everyone will be missing something next time around. My favorite legless Olympic-related story is that of Jen Bricker, a legless gymnast (not in the Olympics) who idolized the American Olympic gymnast Dominique Moceanu when she was a child. Years later she found out that Dominique was her sister! I’m usually a leg man myself but she’s quite pretty.

    1. I would be surprised if the opportunity to have your message of peace and goodwill performed to an audience of a billion would have been turned down by anyone … after all John did put up with several nights in the Amsterdam Hilton to get his message across.

  26. I was yawining, getting ready to turn off the TV and go to bed. I had to be at work early the next morning for a special assignment and I wanted to get a good night of sleep. Had the remote in my hand to turn it off when I heard “…And Nick Mason of Pink Floyd…” Put the remote down and watched the rest of the closing ceremonies, a bead of sweat on my brow. Did not know he would be there. I had wondered if David would be there. But it was good to see Nick playing again, and he sounded great.

    1. The rumors about Nick Mason began with an announcement by Ed Sheeran on the 31 July, and they were so preposterous sounding (I looked up his work and frankly thought he was telling Bieberisms); that I discounted them immediately until that Olympic closing day! So I also suffered the same symptoms as you, Dan!

      In addition I got a case of major rugburn in a carpet dive to show for Brian May! 🙂

      Rugburn aside, it was just fantastic to see Nick play. And to find out that this rumor was at least partly true.

      It’s just a shame that David and Roger couldn’t settle their differences for this one historic moment.

      What an end to the Olympics!

  27. we love our sport, both taking part (running) and have really enjoyed watching events like Tour de France cycling, athletics meetings, good football matches etc. Like you we were very sceptical as to how the Olympics would pan out especially having travelled on the Central Line 2 weeks beforehand and the long drawn out build up of the Torch relay…which was first used by Adolf Hitler at the 1936 Olympics for a more political gain! Like you we were pleasantly surprised as to how well everything went and really enjoyed watching whatever we could, seeing the cycle road race live, and despite having the utmost faith in him having a cushion handy to peep from behind during Mo’s last laps.

    It was a great 16 days and withdrawal symptoms have already set in, I think though it is fairly safe to say we will never see the likes of all that again, pity the clubs and organisations at grass roots level that will be overwhelmed initially by loads of kids wanting to take up one sport or other and like the tennis courts a few weeks after Wimbledon the novelty soon wears off.

    Still a role for Nick Mason…perhaps he could advise our relay teams how to keep hold of a baton or carry plenty of spares when they drop it or don’t get it in time!!

    Best wishes to all

  28. Just wanted to mention the loss of Jon Lord, Deep Purple and Whitesnake.

    I had the privilege of seeing him with Whitesnake (Guildhall, Preston). Another keyboard legend.

    I also saw Gary Moore at Preston. Shame about his grave. If there is somewhere I would send a bit of money if it helped to tidy up his grave.


  29. As a Brit (and an Englishman with a Scottish name) who watched the Olympics from my latest country of residence, Canada, I really enjoyed the games from London. In addition to some of the sporting triumphs, as a long-term Floyd fan, I loved the nods to Pink Floyd in the opening ceremony. The closing ceremony was pretty good too, and I have nothing but total respect for Nick Mason for playing drums on Wish You Were Here. It was a shame Messrs Gilmour and/or Waters weren’t performing the song too, but that’s their prerogative.

    The highlight of the games for me was seeing an opening ceremony that was mainly based on the social aspects of the UK from the past few hundred years, instead of all of the usual pageantry, ancient battles and made up crap about King Arthur…though a Monty Python spoof of this would have made a welcome addition!

  30. My mind has been (a million) light-years away from the whole Olympics thing as we spent the last two weeks on the wonderful Greek islands Castellorizon and Symi. Yes, Castellorizon (called Kastelorizo or Megisti there), that inspired David to write his beautiful album ‘On An Island’. (Didn’t the song ‘Castellorizon’ receive a Grammy Award nomination for best rock instrumental a few years ago?). It’s no wonder that David and Polly fell in love with this tiny island, it’s such an exquisite jewel, and so quiet and peaceful… No cars there, you know…

    Being unable to comment on the London Olympics, please do you allow me instead to post some pics of Kastelorizo?

    I know, this has nothing to do with the current post (that I enjoyed reading very much, believe me), but – as some grumpy one pointed out recently here 😉 – it’s David’s blog, after all, so, you will forgive me for going off topic, won’t you?

    Oh et puis la Grèce est le berceau des Jeux Olympiques, right?

    Merci de votre compréhension et bon weekend. Hope you enjoy that first season Liverpool game. Go Reds! 🙂

    1. Lovely photographs Michèle! A nod to the kitty on the bench – you couldn’t resist, could you? 🙂

    2. Happy Birthday Michèle.

      It looks like you had a wonderful holiday. Thanks for sharing your images.

  31. I enjoyed both the opening and the closing ceremony. I think it would lift the spirits of the British people from the otherwise gloomy times these days. To me James Bond and the Queen was the highlight of the show. And great to see Rowan Atkinson reprised his role as Mr Bean. Just wish they had Susan Boyle to sing “I Dreamed a Dream” at the open ceremony.

    As for England, Scotland, Wales, etc. should be one team of separate teams, I would just say that united and you will conquer. Divided and you will be conquered. Speaking as an outsider.

  32. Great games, I loved it.

    Team GB, UK or whoever, you did a great job.

    Best Olympics for me since Sydney (OK. I might be a bit biased). Athens & Beijing just didn’t do it for me. These games had me spell bound.

    I loved the opening and closing ceremonies. (Was there some new technology with the lighting?)

    When the opening was taking place, I was taking bets with my Family which Pink Floyd song would be featured in the tribute to British music and was dismayed that they didn’t feature at all after seeing a flying pig and hearing a touch of time in the intro. All was forgiven at the raising of the flame.

    I kept my Daughter home from school on the morning of the closing ceremony so we could watch it in full.

    Great to hear WYWH, great job, but really that song shouldn’t be covered. Great to see Nick, albeit a bit serious. (Now was the burning man leaning in or out?).

    Many great moments, and great to see the host nation doing well. I hope the hangover isn’t too bad.

    Congratulation to all involved the, especially the athletes.

    Bring on Rio.

  33. Off topic – chuffed to see Polly’s tweet with a pic of The Maestro playing his ‘Township guitar’. Good things do come from South Africa!! 🙂

    1. I’d love to hear what David is playing on that Castrol can, wouldn’t you? 🙂 Great photo by Polly, as always.

  34. Hey FEd,

    A quick ‘hello’ to you and everyone in the ol’ chat room today. I’m always in a hurry-up-and-go mode these days so I don’t want to disrupt the flow by quickly spinning in/out through the revolving door. 😉

    I greatly appreciate your inspiring topics here on the Blog and always make a point of keeping abreast of all the comments that follow, as well. The criticism of your continued thought-provoking topics is unfortunate, but I hope you know that the Irregulars that have found a real community here greatly appreciate your in-depth, informative, and occasionally hilariously-silly topics. Keep up the great work!

    Peace ‘n’ love always 🙂

  35. Speaking as a Beaver Scout Leader I am soooooo pleased that so many role models for the good emerged from the Games. We have been reliving the performances at Scout meetings and it’s so refreshing to see motivation not based on fame and outrageous behaviour.

    Hope all are well.


  36. Bad planning on my part. I specifically booked vacation for these two weeks months ago to get caught up on household/yard chores such as weeding the garden and exterior painting etc. Guess what? Garden’s still a mess and clearly visible bare wood spots all over. Glued to the set. Couldn’t get enough of it.

    Being Canadian, my favourite event moments were our lonely, solitary single gold medal won, being in women’s trampoline won by Rosannagh MacLennan. Good job Rosannagh. Sure enough, in my couch potato state, I was there to see you win it live! And of course our women’s football (soccer over here) achievements.

    As far as British music heritage during both opening and closing ceremonies, I was sure that I would see some representation of Led Zeppelin. As, if I remember correctly, we got treated to Jimmy Page standing on the top of a bus belting out Whole Lotta Love during the closing ceremonies of the Bejing games. Or did I miss it? Can’t imagine.

    And speaking of Imagine, I found it odd that organizers decided on this Lennon song to play at such an event as it touts the concept of countries (and other things) as bad things…’Nothing to kill or die for…” Olympics is kind of all about countries isn’t it?

    Also was gutted that Queen did not tack on We Are The Champions at the end of We Will Rock You. It is pretty much essential that these two songs be played back to back. Would have especially been ever so appropriate for this event. I heard that it was because of time constraints. Oh really..did we really need two songs by George Michael? One was too many but surely the second should have been cut out to make room for something truly special. Oh well. C’est la vie!

    Two years to go for the winter games. That’s more our thing. Can’t wait!

    1. Also was gutted that Queen did not tack on We Are The Champions at the end of We Will Rock You. It is pretty much essential that these two songs be played back to back. Would have especially been ever so appropriate for this event.

      I’ll second that.

    2. For sure. I’d bet that it would have been so in-the-moment crowd pleasing, that it would have The Who, waiting backstage, to ponder, “Oh dear… we have to follow that?”

  37. I thought I would hate the ‘limpics’, as it’s called round here, but thought it was brilliant. All in all, if you want to get a show going, just invite Mr. Bean!!!

    Happy Days,
    Simon J

  38. The one thing good about the Olympics it is a way that humans come together to compete but not kill each other. Hopefully they come away realizing that we are all one race, the human race, and we all need the same things to live: clean air, water, and soil so we can keep on keeping on.

    It is sad to see how commercialized everything is but that reality has been reached a long time ago.

  39. I do think that team GB helped to overshadow the farcical ticketing and security issues. But overall I really enjoyed the whole thing.

    I was extremely lucky to get to two football events at the City of Coventry stadium. Each event had two games and it was great to see some decent footy at the Ricoh.

  40. I am sorry to say this but the Olympics is like listening to Radiohead. It’s very boring…


  41. It would be great to think that David might perform (with or without Messrs Waters and Mason) at the closing ceremony of the Paralympics on 9th Sept, but I very much doubt that’s going to happen.

    I notice that Stephen Hawking took part in the Paralympics opening ceremony. I saw him at a Pink Floyd concert at Earls Court in 1994. Unfortunately, he was leaving the concert very early, with the rest of us, after a section of the seating collapsed resulting in the concert being cancelled. I went to the re-scheduled concert several days later, but didn’t see him on that occasion.

  42. I’m watching the Paralympics now, and loving every minute of that too. There’s a programme on after the evening’s coverage on C4, called, The Last Leg. :)) It is very funny in places and I was surprised at first at some of the disability related jokes. However, there were disabled athletes, coaches presenters all talking, joking giving their views and by the middle of the second show, I was laughing too. (I’ve always been very protective of my son, he has cerebral palsy and learning difficulties. He’s very handicapped, not at all like the athletes we’re seeing. I suppose I’ve been quite a campaigner and traumatised!)

    Anyway, we’ve never seen much about the Paralymics on TV until these games. What has amazed me is how openly people talk about their disability and in the TV studio they’ve even had people demonstrating how they get into their racing chair, or how their prosthetic leg fits or that sort of thing.

    I’ve always been conscious of (some) people staring, but you get used to it, although I do it myself for completely different reasons sometimes, I want to know where they got that wheelchair or that bag or cape and how come their chassis is blue or purple or green. 🙂 I’d like one for my son. That kind of thing. Now I’m absolutely gobsmacked at the manoeuvrability of the wheelchair basketball chairs. Never seen it before.

    Anyway, I was apprehensive about talking about this sort of stuff because generally people don’t outside of disability circles. I really feel though that these games have pulled down some barriers and people won’t talk in hushed whispers about disability anymore. The crowds at the venues have been amazing eh?

    I’ve never really minded about people asking about my boy but I think most have been a bit afraid to, I guess it might be the same for other disabled people too but I don’t really know. People are always kind to us, I hasten to add. 🙂

    I thought I knew quite a bit about disability, you learn something every day though, I was really curious, how could anyone who was blind play football? I had to know so watched, there’s a bell in the ball! The players follow the sounds. Amazing. Apparently there is blind cricket too, haven’t seen any coverage of that yet.

    I’ve been loving the swimming, basketball and track events so far. Hannah Cockroft (wheelchair racer) was amazing. Oh, and the cyclist who wasn’t allowed to restart, I felt so sorry for him. (He doesn’t half know some colourful language though, you wouldn’t think disabled people could swear like that! I’m saying that very tongue in cheek. :)) )

    I missed most of the opening ceremony 🙁 so can’t comment about the music or Stephen Hawking pinching Keep Talking’s electronic voice. 😉

    Be Curious, now that could be a song title!

    Best wishes,

  43. I think they are Superhumans too. Life is a constant steeplechase for disabled people, to have achieved so much is amazing.

    Ha ha. 😀 All the talk of who’s got the better equipment is interesting, and funny from my point of view. I’d be happy with bright colours for wheelchairs. As a car driver, I want a purple one that goes. Many people, probably mostly men, want a Ferrari in any colour (I suppose :)) ).

    Best wishes,

  44. Ah, it seems like its been 4 years since I posted last. Regarding this quote above:

    Sports that I’ve at one time played I can appreciate and enjoy most of all.

    Would synchronized swimming be one of the sports you used to partake in?

    Seriously, the Olympics were fabulous but there was one major issue with the closing ceremonies here in the states. It seems that the brilliant network marketing department decided it was best that in prime time viewing to cut away from the end of the closing ceremony to promote a commercial free showing of an upcoming fall television show. So around 10PM they went from the closing ceremony to this awful TV show. Then at 11PM they showed the news. Then after all that they went back to show the rest of the closing ceremony.

    So I, like many others here, did not get to see the Who performance or many others. So to answer the question posed by The Spice Girls to “Tell You Want I Want,” I want people to have some sense as oppose to always chasing after that almighty dollar.

    The absurdity of course is that there was also a time difference and they could have broadcast the closing ceremonies live during the afternoon, then show it again in prime time. But that just makes too much sense and we can’t replace the extremely interesting golf broadcast to show something like the only once in four years broadcast of the Olympic closing ceremonies.

    On a final note here, it seems I missed wishing a Happy Birthday to the ever wonderful Michèle. And so, Michèle, here is a belated but sincere wish that your birthday was fabulous. XOXO.



  45. Off topic but on a sporting theme …

    I was pleased to see that Sunday’s events at Anfield were carried off in a dignified and respectful way by all concerned. What looked like a potential problem fixture turned out to be the ideal one as both clubs have got a proper sense of perspective when it comes to honouring off-field tragedies.

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