I enjoyed it, but I do find myself wondering what the rest of the world thought. I found it a bit amateurish, but that itself was very British and appropriate. If there are three things we can lay claim to, they are a sense of the absurd, a tradition of tolerance (on average), and history coming out of our ears.
Some context for the ceremony:
The industrial revolution in the UK was the precursor of a new era. I can find no better illustration on it’s impact on the UK landscape than the fact that it caused one of the few examples of macroscopic evolution, that of the change in colouration of the peppered moth. It was a social and environmental upheaval.
The National Health Service was instituted in the aftermath of the Second World War. Before it was even over, we voted out our most popular Prime Minister ever, Winston Churchill, in favour of the reforms of the Labour party. Despite the fact the country was bankrupt, we didn’t finish repaying our war debts to the USA until a few years ago and food rationing did not end until 1954, that didn’t stop us introducing socialised medicine. Which underlines it’s importance to us.
I liked Rowan Atkinson’s skit to Chariots of Fire. I also liked that it was a little less sanitised than you’d expect an Olympic ceremony to be. A friend of mine was four carriages away from one of the 7/7 bombs, and I saw the section acknowledging the victims as an implicit prayer that the games will pass without a similar incident.
Finally, did the Queen look pissed after the film showing her jumping out a helicopter with James Bond. She wasn’t always that uptight, she trained as a mechanic during World War 2, and allegedly snuck off to celebrate with the crowd on Victory in Europe day.