Until last night I thought Danny Boyle was the respected director of a film about smack-heads. But after seeing the Olympics opening ceremony I now realize ‘Danny Boyle’ is the nom de guerre of the satirical team of Rod Liddle and James Delingpole.
In their capable hands what might have been merely an opportunity to showcase Britain became instead a hilarious example of our national humour. This included pretending that our national life only really began with the Empire Windrush, that our national religion is the NHS and that our leading icons include – and I never thought the boys would get away with this one – Shami Chakrabarti. It was so funny I almost wept at times. But then I reflected on their choice of music and became solemn.
Because of Delingpole’s deeply proletarian tastes, this element was far too limited. I am willing to tolerate jokes about us being a nation of idiotic lefties who spend our days bouncing on NHS beds, but the organisers should have shown that our nation’s musical heritage started before the 1960s.
My hopes were raised when Sir Simon Rattle emerged. But he was only there for an extended joke with Mr Bean – the classical masterpiece he was permitted to conduct being the theme from Chariots of Fire. Otherwise it was all the Clash and the Sex Pistols with extended episodes given to Dizzee Rascal, the Arctic Monkeys and Sir Paul McCartney struggling to sing a song he has bored us with for forty years.
So in the end I regretted the choice of directors. My main fear is that a young person from elsewhere in the world – better educated, but possibly lacking our sense of humour – might take it all literally. They may have learned of a Britain which was a serious country and produced many of the world’s greatest writers, leaders, thinkers and artists. After watching last night’s ceremony they will realise that Britain is in fact a country which, though once inhabited by hobbits, is only around fifty years old and stuck in a state of permanent adolescence. This will make them doubt their teachers and probably end up becoming anarchists. So while congratulating my colleagues on the quality of their satire, in the end I think it was misjudged and could end up doing serious damage to our tourism industry.
Thank goodness the whole thing is now turned over to the athletes.Tags: Olympics