Jez's Blog

The Strange Story of How I Found a New Band

A Salute to My Influences

Celebrating Our Differences

Daring to Use the Four-Letter Word

What Is The Real Olympian Spirit?

Watching The Olympics Opening Ceremony

How Good Service Turned into a Speed Trip

Blurring the Line Between Fact and Fiction

How Creativity Keeps Moving On

How an Artist in the Kitchen Revealed my Inner 'Foody'

Synchronicity - an Everyday Sort of Magic

Does This Make You Laugh?

The Magic of Storytelling

How Good Design Serves the User

Learning to Love Creative Blocks

Creating The CLUB

How a Kiss Missed Its Target at a Posh Do

How Bob Dylan refused the Box labelled ‘Protest Singer’

The ‘Get Back in Your Box’ Syndrome

What’s all the fuss about?

The Third in my Triptych of Entries about Thought

Reflections on Learning and Teaching

Happily disconnected in Cornwall

The Best Way to Sell is to Do Something Well

Life is Good

Zen & the Art of Birdwatching

Watching The Olympics Opening Ceremony


This is one of those rare TV events like royal weddings where so many people are watching it seems churlish not to take part. As a pastoral tableau unfolded around a Tellytubby hill my jaw dropped to my chest. What was this I was watching? By the time a mutton-chopped and grinning Kenneth Brannagh started strolling around making Shakespearian speeches I was dumbfounded. But that is a good thing; to know what is coming next is surely the sign of lazy artistry - how many boring films have you seen when you can work out what the ending will be! But not knowing what is coming next does not necessarily indicate quality art. Perhaps we have to apply the measuring stick of the question: “Does the work achieve what it sets out to achieve?” Which begs the question: “What is this show trying to achieve?” The brief was so broad that only someone with the artistic vision of Danny Boyle would dare approach it: to tell the story, not of a person but of a whole country. To then showcase the result in front of the world surely takes balls of steel and you’ve got to hand it to him for even trying.


When the towers of the industrial revolution rose up through the fake grass I was gobsmacked at the staging; this was then topped by the smelting of the huge Olympic ring, which was in turn trumped by its raising up to join the other rings to form the Olympic symbol. This is the kind of show that can only be financed and put on because it is attached to a global event like the Olympics. The word that comes to mind is ‘spectacle.’ When did you last see one of those?


When James Bond picked up the Queen from Buckingham Palace the meeting of two such iconic English brands was bizarre to behold. The fact that a fictional character was treated like a real person by none other than the Queen, who never does anything frivolous, was so unsettling that some part of my brain couldn’t help asking: “Is James Bond real?” I felt an uncharacteristic surge of affection to the Queen for showing a sense of humour and agreeing to enter into the spirit of the event. (Admittedly this soon waned by the sight of her grumpy expression during the rest of the ceremony).


By now I was very much warming to the entertainment - in all its grandness and over the top silliness, it succeeded in showing a portrait of Great Britain as much by acting out its history as by demonstrating how we have a sense of humour and don’t take ourselves too seriously. It could have been so bad, but it ended up being so good. Top marks to Mr Boyle and the writer Frank Cottrell Boyce.


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