Sadly, we missed Norwich Pride. As novice Norwichians, we hang our heads in shame. The event was held the day after the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games. The greatest show on Earth or the best show in Town? What’s a boy to do? We chose the former. Sorry. Had we not been nursing a hangover of Olympic proportions, we might have made it to march and mince with the rainbow people. Next year we’ll be there. Promise.
I hear the affair was a great success. Here are some pictures (courtesy of Steve Adams and the Norwich Evening News).
We leapt off the train from Norwich at Stratford (the main gateway to the Olympic Games). It was busy but not uncomfortably so. There was no sign of the much anticipated transport gridlock that has dominated the news for months. We jumped on a bus to the penthouse pad overlooking the stadium and took our seats for the biggest show in town. As I had hoped, it was a mesmerising salute to British polish, quirkiness, individuality and diversity – funny, moving, creative, self-deprecating, inclusive, mildly subversive with tongue jammed firmly in cheek. The eccentric cultural cabaret was infused with subtle (and not so subtle) political messages to the great, the good and the incompetent both at home and away. It mattered little to me that much of the humour might have been lost on the globally bemused. It was worth all the money just to get the first lesbian kiss ever broadcast on Saudi TV. After much reticence, all but a few diehard cynics now seem to have risen to the occasion and finally taken the Games to their hearts. There’s a real buzz in the air, a buzz you can feel, taste and see. I think we have Mitt Romney to thank for this. His ungracious remarks about London’s readiness to stage the Games have galvanised opinion. No one likes a bad-mannered, bad-mouthing guest in their house, do they?
I give you one of the many highlights from the show – HM becomes a Bond girl. I hope our German friends weren’t too miffed by the Dambuster’s theme. Naturally, Her Maj was as inscrutable as ever.
It doesn’t usually do to go back, to try and relive a moment. Invariably, it leads to bitter disappointment and anti-depressants. Sometimes though, there’s some old magic left in a tired old formula. Such was the Absolutely Fabulous Olympic Special shown tonight on Auntie Beeb. I loved every witty word, every caustic comment, every grotesque caricature and the sound of every sacred cow being slaughtered. Watching deliciously unreconstructed, post-menopausal Patsy light her fag from the Olympic flame was worthy of a sackful of gold medals. Perhaps I am being carried away by Olympic fever but Ab Fab was absolutely fabulous.
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Let the Games Begin
Roll up, roll up. Love it or loathe it, the Olympic circus has come to town. Uniquely, London is the only city to have hosted the over-bloated jamboree three times – 1908, 1948 and now 2012. Ironically, given the current double dip recession, it was the 1948 beano that was called the ‘Austerity Games’ as it was held barely three years after the end of the Second World War; a grim time when Blighty was bankrupt, on rations and in the red to our generous Yankee cousins. Remarkably, the debt was only finally settled in 2006.
At the 11th hour, it hardly matters whether the 2012 Olympiad will be a monumental waste of taxpayer’s cash that will put London in hock for decades or a monumental celebration of civic renaissance that will leave an enduring legacy. I know the site of the Olympic park well. Before the transformation it was a polluted post-industrial shit hole. I think it was worth winning the Games just to see the smug smile being wiped off former President Chirac’s arrogant face when London pipped Paris into second place. Did you manage to get tickets? Me neither. We have a plan B. We’ll be watching the opening ceremony from a balcony overlooking the stadium. It pays to have a dear old friend with a posh penthouse in the right part of town. Last time, the Middle Kingdom presented an epic spectacle of precision and uniform behaviour from a cast of thousands. This time, I’m hoping for something a little less regimented with a little more panache, diversity and individuality. A few gongs in the bag would be nice too.
To commemorate the start of the Games I give you the British diving team being sexy: