Let the Games Begin, and other cliched headlines

My Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony started at a prominant Chapel Street tavern.

Ari on the Web: So will you be showing the opening ceremony?
Chapel Street Tavern Bartender: The what?
AOTW: The opening ceremony, you know, for the Games?
CSTB: The Games?
AOTW: The Commonwealth Games... you know, big event... happening tonight... up the road... at the MCG.
CSTB: Oh, yeah, um, maybe, hang on, I think so.

As 8:30 came around, the Opening Ceremony was underway, but the only sound to be heard above the din at the aforementioned Tavern was the dulcet tones of Jamiroquai. With a crowd of just four of us gathered for the Games, and considerably more singing along to Cosmic Girl, it was clear that the Opening Ceremony was better off enjoyed at home.

Given the build up before the event - and the $50 million dedicated to it (along with the Closing Ceremony) - the event felt surprisingly flat.

A few observations:

- I'm no fan of Leunig, and certainly no bigger fan having seen his self-indulgent duck-related nonsense.

- There seemed to be the lack of a clear narrative to give the story meaning and substance. A few generic scenes with little to unite them demonstrates an overcommitment to whiz-bangery and an undercommitment to crisp and concise writing.

- The parade of nations was surpisingly pacey, although the bloated size of the teams was hard to miss. Dot-on-a-map countries seemed to contribute remarkably large support staff given the tiny number of athletes who compete. At a glance, a ratio of three to one seemed common.

- The mawkish Happy Birthday tribute to Her Maj, leading into a few bars of God Save the Queen, was cringeworthy and pathetic and surely pleased no one. Poor old Dame Kiri had to keep a straight face throughout.

- Michael Fennel, Jamaica's representative on the Commonwealth gravy train seemed like he was appearing in a Monty Python Sketch. A twee turn of phrase, a voice pitch likely to endanger nearby tall buildings and an unseemly devotion to Her Maj was hard to take seriously.

- Where the fuck is Turks and Caicos?

- Or Niue?

It's Karak!
Anyone excited by this guy?


Anonymous said…
I agree with you 100% What is the story about the duck? How do you think Liz felt about described as "glue"?
Big waste of taxpayer money.
Anonymous said…
Didn't see much of it myself. although I thought John Landy's role was a nice touch. Perhaps a little obvious, seeing as even I was able to accurately tip he would get the gig, but appropriate all the same, given his dual atheltics and vice-regal connections and also a fitting swan song, since he'll be retiring.

It would not behove us to get in to a debate on the merits of Leunig here. Let's just agree to disagree. Suffice to say he uses the duck as a personification of innocence throughout much of his work.

And whether or not you felt it fitted the theme of the night, I don't think it was him indulging himself. I'm pretty sure others were responsible for the inclusion of his work.

And yes, there are a shitload of bloody small countries out there, aren't there!

Finally, from what little I saw and reflections of just about everyone I spoke to or heard on talk-back today, the biggest comment seems to be "nice enough, but what the fuck was it all about?"

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