Like most Londoners, I hated that the Olympics were being held in London.
Get ahead of the games? Where am I supposed to go?
Avoid central London? But that’s where I live and work.
Avoid using the tube? Cars better be banned otherwise the busses will be facing some serious congestion.
Then a friend gave me a ticket to see him perform at the London 2012 Opening Ceremony tech rehearsal. This show is exactly what every Londoner needs to embrace the Games.
Danny Boyle has created an awe-inspiring, beautiful spectacle that’s absolutely British yet offers something for everyone to enjoy. That said, it really is a show that celebrates England, so if you live in this country you best watch it. I promise there will be something in there for you to enjoy and get excited about!
In the spirit of keeping the surprise, I’ll keep my commentary on specifics and the photos to myself until after the performance tonight.
My favourite part
My friend Dave performed at the ceremony, and when I found him onstage I couldn’t stop squealing. I was just too excited that such a good friend was on stage and that I could see him strut his stuff. (And may I just say that he does an amazing job! Unfortunately you probably won’t be able to spot him on tv.)
Oh, you wanted to know about my favourite part of the show itself? Sorry darling, you’ll just have to wait until the rest of the world has a chance to enjoy the show – I’d hate to think I ruined the surprise for someone!
UPDATE 30 July 2012
My favourite part was the house party sequence. When I was sitting in the audience it was the peak of the excitement, and with music being an international language of sorts I think it’s the part that everyone will enjoy – even if they don’t get the Mary Poppins, Harry Potter, NHS or any other cultural references in the show.
Second to that, I totally loved the Great Ormand Street Hospital sequence. The hospital is funded by the copyright of J.M. Barries’ Peter Pan, so it only made sense that Captain Hook was included. I also loved the references to nightmares and the appearance of all my favourite childhood villains!
Inside the stadium
Getting off the tube at Stratford the whole route is thoroughly signposted, including marshals with large pink foam fingers pointing which direction you should be walking and others on platforms with megaphones. There are also giant pink signs everywhere, but the official staff along the route are very friendly and it was great to know do many people are available to answer any questions visitors may have.
But the friendliness wasn’t restricted to just the marshals. Even the security staff, ticket checkers and food vendors had a smile, knew their stuff and were happy to help if asked.
At first this style of customer service shocked me and made me feel uneasy. (After all, this is England, and you guys aren’t exactly known for being outgoing in this way.) However, once the shock wore off I found their positivity infectious and it was impossible not to be happy and excited about the event.
If they keep this up I’m sure their positivity will balance out any negative feelings tourists may have about the overcrowded tubes, peak hour congestion and extortionate prices. (So basically I’m guessing the staff friendliness will be an integral part to tourists enjoying themselves while they’re here!)
Proud to be in London
After watching the ceremony I’m so proud to be living in London right now and that I get to be a part of this and share this beautiful city with the whole world. I also think this is the positive injection that so many of us in London need after being stuck with the bill for the events and having hundreds of thousands of extra tourists forced on us so we can’t even enjoy our own city during the Games.
And with that I say to our guests: Welcome to London! This is an amazing city, so please enjoy it and treat it well until it’s time for you to leave.