An eclectic, wonderful, and bizarre ceremony




The reaction was as eclectic as the extravaganza director Danny Boyle laid on to open the London Olympics.

The event was bizarre.

A Teletubbies-like theme park quickly became a sinister industrial vision that could have been lifted off a Pink Floyd video.

It had the Queen jumping out of a helicopter at the instruction of Daniel Craig in his James Bond garb.

And moment later the real Queen of England (if it was not in fact her leaping with a Union Jack parachute from above the stadium) sauntered out to listen to children sing the national anthem in her honour.

She did not crack as much as a smile, despite getting in on the joke enough to ensure her dress matched that of the actress filmed exiting the helicopter.

There were morris dancers and a celebration of the often maligned National Health Service. The latter came complete with hospital trolleys but without the queues for service.

Video clips paid homage to previous Olympic heroes and the soap opera Eastenders in the space of seconds.

A medley of musical heritage stitched in lines from the chart toppers of the last half century as dancers and laser lights competed for attention.

And by this stage about the only athlete to walk around the stadium was the Tour de France winner and Olympic champion Bradley Wiggins. He rang the opening bell.

Twitter, the most chaotic of conversations, was almost in unison on picking the only topic in town to talk about.

Complaints and compliments bounced around in equal measure. But there appeared little was said of any consequence.

The comments showed an initial reluctance about Boyle choosing to celebrate middle England with a recreation of JR Tolkien’s Middle Earth. But people soon got into the world Boyle was trying to create.

It was unconventional and unpredictable. But there is no script on what an opening ceremony should be.

Actors, artists, and athletes. Children’s stories and industrial strife.

It was Danny Boyle’s glammed up ode to the weirdness of Britain and, for better or worse, it has set the theme for London 2012.

Opticians cash in on gaffe

A British chain of opticians saw publicity gold after Olympic officials blundered by showing the South Korean flag instead of the flag of North Korea at a women’s soccer match.

Opticians Specsavers took out adverts in national newspapers with the North Korean flag above the South Korean one and, written in Korean, a message suggesting that the Olympics officials should have visited them for an eye test.

The company’s regular tagline, used in commercials featuring embarrassing cases of mistaken identity, is: ‘Should have gone to Specsavers’.

The gaffe, in Glasgow on Wednesday, caused a diplomatic incident, with the North Koreans walking off the field and delaying the kick off of the match by more than an hour.

Organisers LOCOG apologised and promised the mistake would not happen again.

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