On the tube ride over, there was a burly construction worker with a paint-splattered rubber arm and oversized duffel. Switching stations he hoisted the bag onto his shoulder with his artificial limb and shoved off. That alone defines Brit grit as much as any sporting competition. The hospitality structure was as disappointingly bland as the food. Of the more than a hodgepodge of nationalities represented, there seemed to be primarily Chinese (more on that later); fascinating, and partly due to a major congregation of businesspeople in London for a summit. Conversing with a female property developer about a high-powered, strong-willed designer joining us, she replied: “ah, New York Jew.” Another man was wearing a head-to-toe chiffon ruffled suit but still managed to look cool, we are behind in fashion too I guess. A British friend met the singer Cliff Richard, and couldn’t wait to tell his mother; in America, I didn’t know who the odd looking national treasure was.
The backdrop was filmic, and the show altogether epic, with some painstaking yet unavoidable interludes, and a real sense of wow, surprise and wonderment—something rare (for me) in theater or live events, or film or TV. Like a cartoon, you never knew what was going to burst out from where, like the Queen, for instance. Even Rowan Atkinson, who normally grates, was hilarious and entertaining. What mattered more is that we all wanted it to be funny and enthralling, and I say we because there was a corny and palpable sense of community, all for one (cliché quota), and borderless camaraderie, which was delicious. I felt like speaking to people I didn’t know, which for me is unusual. Rest assured, the inclination faded fast.
I won’t get into the show I’m sure enough saw it except for those that dosed during the roll call of countries and their athletes and lackeys. One small rich unnamed country had 15 such hangers-on and one plump athlete who must have cried to daddy, “I want to go to the Olympics and I want to go now.” To reiterate, I am not political but its strange how some countries that are not on my map were represented while other places I can identify on a globe (and I’m American with our inbuilt lack of a sense of geography) were noticeably absent? And the countries they called, more than a few I legitimately could not be reasonably charged with knowing, never ceased, like they enlarged the alphabet for the night. Ugh. Partly responsible for the school lesson tedium of the endless ejaculation of teams was the fact China had three and America had more players than the 1 billion watching the event. Isn’t that cheating sideways? One team was called Independent Olympic Athletes, I never heard of that country, maybe they were from Long Island or Sheffield. I won’t get into the quality of the UK healthcare system either or the routine extolling it, all that was missing was some dancing MRSA superbug bacteria cells.
I am not usually one for pomp and circumstance, but the hair rose on my arms on many occasions and is doing so now, pardon the sappiness. The two and a half hour ride home, which normally should have been 30 minutes, didn’t even register. I had a full on Olympic buzz and as the night before, after returning at 3:30am, again lost sleep. God Save the Queen—was cheeky of Danny Boyle to stick one by the Pistols in front of the Royal Box, and he did it with aplomb. A long video projection onto the prop of a building lifted to reveal Sir Tim Berners-Lee, said to be the inventor of the web typing away. Strange and stranger still, I thought it was Al Gore? The ingenuity and industriousness of the team that orchestrated such a monstrous undertaking I still can’t comprehend. And, as far as I can remember, the Illuminati failed to execute their plot or were thwarted.
Image: An Illuminati Christmas