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London Olympics opening ceremony was bonkers - and stunning

Bonkers. No two ways about it. The Olympics opening ceremony spun so far off the wall, it broke the sound barrier.

And if we never win another medal; if during this London sports-fest, we show not a single additional shred of athletic prowess or supremacy, we can puff with boastful pride at our unbeatable gold podium position for creativity.

Showcasing to the world an unbeatable British talent for imagination, innovation, vision and artistic panache, the Olympics opener was a stunner that will have done more to confirm this country’s towering stature than any race across a finishing line.

And funny. My word, ain’t it just grand to show off, for global witness, that even in the hardest of times, ours is a nation still able to laugh at itself, enjoy a poke of silly – sometimes surreal – fun. Confident of always finding a brighter side of life.

Even the Queen joined in by becoming a Bond Girl for the occasion. What a lot of bottle that monarch of ours has. Her movie performance was an endorsing royal stamp on the very best of enduring British character. We might be down – for now – but we’re a long way from out. Our sovereign’s sense of fun says so.

Some of us fail to find that swell of national pride in an individual’s ability to run faster, jump higher, ride longer distances than others from neighbouring nations. But good grief, when a collective of superb artistic talents collaborate to celebrate Britishness with a tongue-in-cheek spectacular of dancing nurses, farmhands, doves on bikes, mill chimneys and Mr Bean, choreographed to perfection to music from Elgar, The Beatles, Bowie and Blake, who would dare to argue the inarguable – that here is a country capable of achieving anything and everything... with a secret smile of irony on its face.

Art in all its many and various forms can and does shine a light on the untapped potential of a people.

The arts stir possibility, aspiration, hope and faith with unmistakable clarity.

What a great pity then that when times are hard – and other than in an Olympic year – the arts are the first to have the financial rug pulled from under, when investment and exploitation could do so much to boost our sluggish fortunes.

First port of call when we need to impress. Last to receive investment and celebration at any other time.

The influence of The 2012 Olympics on Britain’s foreign business prospects is known as “soft power”.

It’s a less than subtle schmoozing process, persuading the world we’re worth knowing... because we’re simply the best. Except that we are not, are we?

Not so long as we maintain – locally, regionally, nationally – that when prioritising budgets, the arts should take last slot in any pecking order.

As a hard-headed overseas businessman, what would coax you to dig deep into your company coffers to invest in GB – a handful of medals, awarded to highly trained athletes or unashamed commitment to sky’s-the-limit imagination and drive, rolled out on a global stage?


Have your say

Danny Boyle should be congratulated for portraying Britain's history without going down the road of empire & jingoism.

Posted by Mosstrooper on 8 August 2012 at 17:23

London's AWESOME and MAGNIFICENT Opening Cermony made the ones in Sydney, Athens & Beijing look like a vicar's tea party on a wet Sunday afternoon. I did not see anything in the ceremony that was "leftie"; therefore that twit of a "politician" doesn't know what he's tweeting about. Not only did the ceremony make me proud to be Great British, but also proves that this wonderful country of ours can truly put on a QUALITY show for the world & his wife. But, above all,if the Games can inspire one Cumbrian to become a future Olympian, then that - to me - is job done, and then some.

Posted by JOHN HASTINGS on 2 August 2012 at 16:01

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