Seventeen days (or nineteen, if you count the beginning of the football tournaments) have passed by in a flash and little narratives have been started and completed. Some ended sadly while others finished with a sense of triumph. It’s too soon to say that these Olympics will be a Games to remember (we’re far too close to it for that kind of sensationalist talk). However, we have been treated to the kind of sporting excellence by our own athletes that will live long in the memory.

And what surely will live in the memory as well are the opening and closing ceremonies for fairly differing reasons.

…too many cinema references…

Opting not to go for the confused, rambling but idiosyncratically brilliant type of show that Danny Boyle put on; the Closing Ceremony had more of a determined focus, foregoing too many cinema references (save for Monty Python which felt more like a re-release of an old song) and concentrating on celebrating Britain’s history of pop. I will type those words again and italicise one word in particular; a history of pop.

It’s perhaps this one word that was most disappointing about the ceremony as whole. Britain’s contribution to music is much more than just another re-run of Queen’s greatest hits. Where was Motorhead? What about Black Sabbath? Anyone else?

…neatly summed up…

Despite the straightforward thinking behind the ceremony, there were times when a little elucidation on a few points would have been necessary. Britain’s contribution to fashion was neatly summed up in what felt like a few seconds. Russell Brand entered the stadium and it felt weird. One Direction appeared and you probably changed the channel until they left the screen. TV, film and literature felt slightly neglected.

But enough about the more disappointing aspects of the Closing Ceremony. The Spice Girls are back! Riding atop cars. Jessie J seemed to be having a seizure at the feet of Brian May who, as someone I know commented as we were watching, looked like a wizard. While handing over the flag to Rio’s mayor you may have imagined Boris Johnson turning, flag in hand, running into the warm summer’s night.

…celebration of two weeks…

In the end, it didn’t matter about which performers attended the ceremony or how good it was. It was a celebration of two weeks that had seen Britain at its best and that’s enough to put a smile on anyone’s face.


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