I am writing this from a medium sized cowshed inside a pretend prison cell (for work this week I am raising awareness about prisoners of conscience at a Christian festival called New Wine). On Friday night I was in an even larger cowshed watching the Olympics opening ceremony with 4500 other people!
Hurrah I loved it! Living in London I had heard various insubstantial rumours about real clouds and the queen possibly sky diving etc. but in actuality the madness was far more outlandish!
We all screamed and guffawed as Mr Bean, JK Rowling and James Bond made their appearances, but I think what impressed me the most was the inclusivity of the whole thing. In contrast to the Chinese ceremony where a young girl was replaced on stage by a mimer because her face didn’t match her beautiful voice, Friday’s ceremony was not only impressive but it also celebrated ordinary people (you can read a review by artist and dissident Ai Weiwei, who designed China’s Bird’s Nest stadium here). Young people, nurses and people with disabilities featured strongly and a message of “you are all an important part of this too” rang out loud and clear.
I also loved how racial diversity was portrayed in a really positive light. West Indian migrants appeared along side courageous suffragettes and several Sergeant Peppers, contributing to the melting pot/ salad bowl that is British culture (whichever analogy you prefer).
There are some great pictures here of the ceremony if you’d like to see, better than the ones I posted on twitter a while ago.
Well there’s lots more I could say about it I suppose -but I want to get some fresh air…