The Opening Ceremony of the Winter Olympics was performed last night. I have to say, I'm not sure what all that sort of thing is for. What purpose does it serve? I can appreciate the need for a parade of the athletes (is any event where there is a subjective scoring of Artistic Content a sport, however athletic the participant?), but the rest of it? Ballet dancers with masks? What is that all about? It looked like a particularly expensive and incoherent edition of It's A Knockout. And, those of you, like me, rash enough to have the telly on with all this, will have enjoyed the lounge bar ramblings of Barry Davies and enthusiastic chirrupings of Hazel Irving as 'commentary' on all this. Now, whilst I must confess a certain warmth towards Ms. Irving, although nothing more than being well-disposed towards her, it was like a headgirl ingratiating herself with a deputy headmaster, who's in his position on the grounds that he's been kicking around longer than anyone else in the common room. Davies got more and more banal as the evening went on. I was watching on the off-chance that something exciting might happen, and was gone within half an hour. The clincher was when, as the Italians used a quote from Dante to set the tone for the event, Davies started gurgling on about London's staging of the Olympics in 2012, and, with Daily Mail-like indignation, suggesting that to quote 'Henry V' would probably be considered politically incorrect. No, Baz, just inappropriate - the aim is to extol the virtues of the Olympic ideals, and, however beautifully written, a partisan view of history is not really the way to do that, not to the athletes of over 150 countries whom we hope will visit and compete. I'm sure Shakespeare has more to offer.
I say 'we hope' will visit. I don't really want the Olympics to come here, and the reasons are many. Firstly, I don't like not being asked. Those unlikely bedfellows Lord Coe (former Chief Of Staff to the Leader of HM Opposition), Tony Blair and Ken Livingston, pursuing an ego trip which will be paid for by a surcharge on the council taxes of Londoners who are already paying a surcharge for Ken and his GLA, the value of which is debatable (grrrrr ggnnnnn foam foam foam at the mouth with seething uncontrollable rage at the...)