The Opening Ceremony Plans: a True Portrayal of English Reality?
Today the plans for the Opening Ceremony of London 2012 were revealed and the result has been truly shocking. A country lass myself, having lived in Somerset and Devon my entire life, I recognise the ‘meadows’ that are being portrayed. The greenery seems endless when travelling through these counties but should this really be what we are portraying as quintessentially British?
I was among the many who were excited at the thought of Danny Boyle being Artistic Director of the Opening Ceremony; ‘Trainspotting’ and ‘Slumdog Millionnaire’ are among my favourite films and I had visions of truth, reality and something completely unforgettable but this was not what I anticipated.
The Glastonbury Tor and a mosh-pit representing Glastonbury Festival is intriguing, with my College having been a mile down the road I understand the hype that surrounds this event but is this hype reflected nation-wide? I think not. The contrast between the mosh-pits, people having picnics and cattle grazing may at least show variation but who is Danny Boyle trying to fool? I have never known a tourist come to visit the UK to admire our fields, have a picnic or watch cows and sheep lazily enjoy their day.
We must consider what the UK is really known for – cream teas, London, the Queen, fish and chips and our typical English weather. Where are these references in our Opening Ceremony? If anything they are being purposefully ignored with fluffy clouds being shown as our weather and whilst we have some lovely beaches, amazing lakes and buildings such as Buckingham Palace, none of these are being broadcast to the world. The visitors of the Olympics may experience them first-hand but it is my belief that a farming country is not the wisest of portrayals.
Farming is necessary, positive and economically productive but it still holds connotations of a different era with hand tools and horse power rather than mechanised tools that are quick and effective. We are following the Beijing Olympics and this must be taken into consideration; China is a state where technology is manufactured in bulk and dispersed all over the world, do we really want to take a stance so opposite in nature to this? I am not recommending computer generated images and allegations of deceit to take centre-stage but from an Artistic Director who is internationally acclaimed I would expect something more than grass and sheep.