August 24th, 2008


Olympics handover to London

The eight-minute show moved me more than I expected. I was delighted to see our iconic charcteristics on display. A lollipop lady? Well, so it is! And a zebra crossing. The bus of course! My beloved Canduko and other dance groups having fun. Jimmy Page enjoying Whole Lotta Love. The lovely David Beckham proudly kicking the ball to a thrilled Chinese woman. We are going to deliver something witty and assured in 2012 if this taster is any guide.

And the moving farewell of the departure from the boarding ladder into the sky as the memorable images of the past fortnight slowly progress around the stadium rim. It has been the most enjoyable Games of my life; surpassing even the marvels and great good humour of Sydney. I still have my doubts about the sociopolitical structure of China but it has staged the most remarkable global festival.

The valedictory memory tower is evocative, stylish, industrious, and populous; a distillation of the qualities that the Chinese have shown throughout. Finally, absurdly, we segue to cantopop. Really, you have to love it! Then seven female folk singers singers deliver The Moon is Bright Tonight followed by "Two Chinese and foreign singers on the mobile singing performance car go from Gate 1 to the front of the VIP corridor, and sing The Flame of Love emotionally" according to the official commentary. Placido Domingo and Song Zuying must be so good as to be worth double. Joking aside: their performance was lovely. While it was fun to see Jackie Chan singing amidst the world's largest conga, I felt that the show rather lost its way until the glory of the final fireworks.

Sitting in overcast wet Suffolk, I regret that my entry into the Mall party ballot was unsuccessful. The weather in London this afternoon seems fine.