Sunday, 19 August 2012

Olympics Closing Ceremony – London 2012

Amazingly it is 16 days to the minute since the Games of the XXX Olympiad surprised an expectant world. We started slowly, both in the Opening Ceremony and medal acquisition, but since then everything has whizzed by like Wiggo on a bike.

It has been a much better couple of weeks than everyone expected and most do not want the games to end, not least because no one wants to risk more Paul McCartney at the Closing Ceremony.

The Olympics has certainly inspired the youth of this country, although ironically it has turned many into couch potatoes, glued to the TV.

Without any trace of sarcasm, Sue Barker says, “If you would like to watch the ceremony without commentary, press the red button. Here's Trevor Nelson...”

Somehow Trev has qualified for the final. The mute button is gonna be working overtime tonight with him, Jessie J, Emeli Sandé etc.

The Hirst thing we see is an abstract Union Jack sprawled out across the stadium like a patriotic paintball pummelling. London's skyline is dotted around the park, including Saint Paul's, Gherkin, Battersea Power Station, and Big Ben, which accompanies the disjointed countdown to the beginning of the end.

Emeli Sandé starts the section entitled Rush Hour, but I can't see a black or Chinese detective anywhere. I am in no rush to listen to her again as she still sounds amateurish. It's not great, it's just karaokey.

Stomp clatter the London Eye and their staple bins, miming their way through their slot. It would have been an ideal moment for the grouch to pop their head out of a bin but alas the Queen is not providing another hilarious spectacular. Bin there, done that.

Lapping the track are vehicles from skateboards to wedding cars. Timothy Spall pops up as Churchill with some more Tempest and tells everyone to shut it. He hasn't quite got the authority of Ray Winstone, and is more Churchill the dog than prime minister.

Prince Harry has been sent along to represent the royal family. What were they thinking? The joke buzzing around is they are keeping the Queen away from Harry Styles. No doubt she was at home thinking “I did my stint at the Opening Ceremony.”

More iconic imagery for the Street Party with Michael Caine counting us down to an exploding Robin Reliant (“You're only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!”). Del and Rodders get out in their Batman and Robin costume. We initially think they have pulled off a triffic coup and reunited David Jason and Nicholas Lyndhurst, but only fools rush in - they are just impersonators.

Many of the foreigners who don't understand English culture are saying “This is madness”, and lo and behold Camden's sons appear like genies from a lamp with 'Our House'.

Blur aren't here so 'Parklife' is performed by the Queen's Guard Band. Blur are playing the closing concert at Hyde Park and aren't quite rock star enough to commandeer a helicopter over. All we need now is for Phil Daniels to appear to convince the world that we really do talk like that.

Here come the Pet Shop Boys with 'West End Girls', although their preference is surely East End Boys. They are being cycled in on rickety chariots by drivers wearing orange, anti-aerodynamic helmets. I think they're mad and the keyboard's unstable.

One Direction come along early in the proceedings and stimulate the teen girls with their fresh, youthful tones. It saves the kids sitting through subsequent ageing rockers and means they can get off to bed to do what follows naturally after watching their teen idols.

Stomp march us from Street Party to Waterloo Sunset - the hustle and bustle of the working day that we have forgotten about due to slacking off work the last fortnight.

Spelbound provide an underwhelming acrobatic display. Perhaps their pedestrian performance is an antithesis to Rush Hour?

Ray Davies of The Kinks exits a cab without even paying the driver. He probably wouldn't mind the scenic route as he has a well-known affinity to London, hence his love-letter 'Waterloo Sunset'.

The tease is on. A camera creeps up on a mysterious individual from behind. Has the reclusive David Bowie been persuaded out? It's been a while since we have seen him. Not so with imposter Emeli Sandé of whom we have seen far too much. She reprises her way through 'Read All About It'. Unfortunately we have to listen all about it too. I want to strangle her slowly although I imagine she would still sound the same.

Elbow give Emeli the elbow. The athletes are welcomed with 'Open Arms' and led into their mosh-pit surrounding the stage.

There is a reprise of all of the songs already played as the athletes are slowly kettled. Surely we have a few more songs on our nation's jukebox? I could easily have done them a mixtape had they asked. Instead we have to suffer 'Now That's What I Call Repetitive 12'.

The athletes are having a rare old time of it. Their dedication in not letting themselves go for the last couple of years is being rapidly bypassed tonight, like a crap runner in the 10000m. There are some tipsy athletes already and it will be interesting to see how many future Olympic superheroes are conceived tonight.

303 blocks, representing the Olympic events are piled up on the stage, but I urge you to avoid them as it appears to be some sort of pyramid scheme. There were rumours Kate Bush was going to appear, but they always faced an uphill battle getting her and we have to settle for a recording of 'Running Up That Hill' while Tetris is completed.

The next segment, Here Comes The Sun, includes the Marathon medal ceremony so the runners get the perfect stage to lap up the glory (or 105 laps to put it into perspective). In fact they could run a marathon and a half in the time this ceremony takes. It is somewhat surprising that Emeli Sandé doesn’t turn up to sing Uganda's national anthem.

There is a huge cheer as 'Bohemian Rhapsody' starts to play. Might just be coincidence that Emeli Sandé is led out of the Olympic Stadium in shackles at the same time.

A deaf scouse kiddie choir sing and sign 'Imagine' by John Lennon. It is heartwarming to see them using their hands for signing rather than stealing. They turn Lennon into a crackhead by forming an image of his face from 101 fragments (presumably just after his head was shot into smithereens).

George Michael, looking less chubby than Merv Hughes, but similarly hairy, returns to plays his ode to acne 'Freederm', which is spot on, then a new song about his survival, 'White Light', which is quite shite. He gets caught lip-synching but at least it wasn't in the bogs again.

Ricky Wilson of Kaiser Chiefs appears on a scooter with a load of other mods and goes at it full tilt, plunging straight into 'Pinball Wizard'. Ching ching ching!

Russell Brand becomes Willy Wanka and “sings” his way through 'Pure Imagination' on top of a psychedelic bus. He virtually gives up on the miming through a second song, 'I Am The Walrus'. Tusk tusk.

Fatboy Slim mixes up his mischief from inside a zorby octopus. He usually needs lots of arms to work his magic but miming along to mixing is considerably easier.

The lively atmosphere continues with Jessie J in Madonna hand-me-downs belting out 'Price Tag', Tinie Tempah singing about God knows what, and Taio Cruz serving a party platter tune in 'Dynamite'. They all combine for an abysmal version of the Bee Gees 'You Should Be Dancing'.

Uh-oh a mass of taxi drivers are gathering - bad time for a blockade. The highway code goes right out the window with their manoeuvres. First they slam it to the left, then they shake it to the right. Taxi for the Spice Girls!

Twig Spice gets no air time and barely a look-in on camera. You can just imagine David Beckham fielding that one with the kids. “Daddy, why doesn't mummy get any lines? Why is everyone ignoring her?”. “No talent and face like a monkey's arse, but sshh, don't tell mummy!”

The elaborately-adorned taxis zoom around with a Spice Girl on each. Victoria is clinging on for dear life, as there's a real risk of the airhead blowing off.

Boris is dad-dancing along to Spice Girls. David Cameron is a bit more conservative. Derren Brown tweets, "If anyone wants me to eradicate their memories of Cameron or Boris dancing just say."

Beady Eye, an Oasis tribute band, perform a great new song called 'Wonderwall'. It has all the hallmarks of classic Oasis and should do very well. Liam really should invest in a new roadie as his current one never sets his mic at the right height.

It's a Who's Who of illicit substances tonight. Let's hope none of the performers are taken aside for a random drug test.

Eric Idle appears from the ground after a failed cannon ejection and recites 'Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life', the newly adopted British national anthem. We got sick of 'God Save The Queen' what with all that winning we did.

Morris dancers are clacking around him. Nuns with patriotic pants are whizzing by on roller blades. Soldiers are enforcing the discipline. Bagpipers are making their usual drone. A heavenly host of dreamy angels are looking deliciously divine. Then out of nowhere a load of Indians appear for some daft dancing. Eric gets distracted as they choke him before he quips “Life's a piece of shit when you look at it”, 'Life' being code for the Closing Ceremony.

Muse sing 'Survival', the song of the Olympic Games. Meanwhile the backing group seem to be signing along to 'Agadoo'. Come and dance every night to the Musey melody.

Freddie Mercury is resurrected from the ground as a screen rises with the “deyo deyo” footage from 1986, followed by the screeching guitars of Brian May. He has a grey witch-like thatch. If it was green he would be Grotbags.

Jessie J has had the barnacles picked off her costume and has half a leg added. She joins the alive members of Queen for some regicide during 'We Will Rock (and irritate the shit out of) You'. Sing up Jessie, I can't hear you over the sound of Freddy turning in his grave.

Boris has the flag and he's waving it precariously close to the Olympic flame. Quit the formalities and leg it Boris! They can't have the games if they haven't got the flag.

Boris reluctantly hands the flag over to the head of IOC, Rogge the Bodge, then onto a visibly-excited Mayor of Rio. Predictably Pele pops up but he's not visibly-excited as he hasn't popped one (blue pill not boner).

Renato Smile, a real life road-sweeper who became a YouTube sensation after dancing in the street, sweeps away the turd of a ceremony. He breaks into a Samba and it is time for carnival as he is joined by other dancers.

The closing ceremony starts to fade away when Take That give us yet another anthem in 'Rule The World'. Britain did just that for a couple of weeks, but we can safely return to being cynical, miserable and self-hating once again.

The flame that burned so brightly in London is no more as it is extinguished to some wistful music. It's not quite the closing sequence of the Incredible Hulk TV series but it does the job.

Proving that we are mostly a nation of ageing and dead rockers, The Who finish us off with some dad-rock classics. Thankfully the organisers decided against letting bitch Elton John lend a hand. I could easily see him doing “Goodbye London's Games”.

The Games are officially over and we have corrected some misconceptions about our country. The rest of the world used to think we were shit at sport and great at music. Consider yourselves shown, world.

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