Me: Ending on Hey Jude was a disappointment and it just goes to show that middle-aged, white men still rule this country. That said, the amount of silliness, eccentricity and charm that Danny Boyle managed to squash into a ceremony which also delivered beautiful visual sequence upon beautiful visual sequence really made the evening.
My highlights included the children bouncing on the trampoline hospital beds with monsters of literature surrounding them, huge towers rising up out of the set to destroy the countryside landscape and bring on the Industrial Revolution and the Arctic Monkeys singing Come Together while winged, glow-in-the-dark cyclists circled the stadium. Magic, and we genuinely didn’t know what to expect next.
Ai Weiwei (Chinese artist): He compared the 2012 Olympic Ceremony to the spectacular opener at the last Games. “Beijing’s Olympics were very grand – the government … was trying to create an image.” In contrast, “this was about Great Britain; it didn’t pretend it was trying to have a global appeal. Because Great Britain has self confidence.” More on The Guardian.
The rest of the world: Brazilians got nervous about staging the Olympics in Rio, the French weren’t impressed and an Italian commentator said Boyle was “as unpredictable” as the people of Great Britain.
A journalist in Zimbabwe did have a point though, he said: “OK Britain, we see you flaunting your history. Where’s the bit in which you invade, loot, kill and plunder?” More on The Guardian.
Thomas Heatherwick (designer of the Olympic Cauldron made up of 204 copper petals): “It seemed that if we could have these 204 very small, humble objects but then in them coming together have a moment where they all rise and rear out of the centre of the stadium… And the idea is that at the end of the Games this cauldron will dismantle itself.”