Well, I was prepared to hate the opening ceremony for the Olympic games which was on last night (sorry that my friends in the US had a somewhat edited version of it) but I loved the crazy Britishness of it all. There were just so many fantastic moments! My two favourites were the pogo-ing creatures during the "Pretty Vacant" section and the bit which is of most interest to metalsmiths, the lighting of the unbelievably beautiful "Cauldron" for the flame.

 

 

It was designed by the startlingly under-appreciated Thomas Heatherwick, who currently has a retrospective at the V&A in London. I say "under-appreciated" because I believe that he has not achieved the popularity of many of the other designers who set themselves to a similar range of projects. Consider, for example, Philippe Starck, who is a household name. Heatherwick is, in my opinion, a far more interesting designer and yet one who seems to still be appreciated mainly by the cognoscenti.

If you want to see it in action, BBC coverage is here.

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Comment by Harriete E Berman on July 31, 2012 at 5:52pm

IYour right. "It would have been better if the coverage had made more of the installing of the bowls on the stalks before it rose into the air."  I figured it out...but even I wasn't sure if the same bowls carried in, were the same as rose into the air.

Harriete

Comment by The Justified Sinner on July 31, 2012 at 4:40pm

Harriete, I heard that in the US, the networks heavily edited the actual performance, removing bits that they didn't think would be "palatable" to their audiences, so I am not sure what you saw. I do, however, agree with a comment on Twitter, which said that this was like a British 10 year old telling his 7 year old friend from another country all about British Culture! It was all whizzy and fast and mixed-up. I do think that the television coverage of it was not very good and the "commentary" was banal, asinine or - worse - insulting. It would have been best just shown "as is"; it was bad enough that the control room edited things without having some middle-brown non-entity droning over the top of it.

Regardless, however, the cauldron is magnificent. It would have been better if the coverage had made more of the installing of the bowls on the stalks before it rose into the air.

Comment by Harriete E Berman on July 31, 2012 at 4:30pm

I loved the cauldron too, especially as it rose into the air. It was dramatic and heroic. The best Olympic cauldron in years! Wish we could have understood the bowls a little more as they were introduced when the Olympic athletes were walking in. They seemed a bit of a disconnect.

The opening ceremonies seemed like a bit of a snooze in other aspects though. All that "walking around" during the historical review seemed confusing on television. Lacking dramatic impact it seemed a little droll, with no impact on television, especially a small television screen. I think the organizers and camera work could not decide if they were showing the "big" picture or the individuals...thus, the overall impression was not impressive. It fell  flat.  Maybe the opening ceremonies were better at the auditorium.

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