This is on my Facebook, but I thought I'd post it here as well.
I've read a few reviews of the Olympics opening ceremony now. There's an interesting split. The British media - even the most rabidly right-wing of them (with certain disgraceful exceptions) - have been enthusiastic about it. The US media - especially, it seems, in the blogosphere and its commentards - have been (with exceptions) somewhat negative. The most commonly used word has been "boring", a word that parents such as myself are used to hearing from their teenaged offspring.
This interests me. The British are quite likely the most self-critical nation on Earth. We have a strongly right-wing press which, nevertheless, praised a show which gave two fingers to the present Conservative-led government. But - only one Conservative MP - Aiden Burley - complained about the show and he was instantly, universally condemned.
So what's happened?
My hypothesis is this: The show said: look, this is what we Brits are like. We're cranky, traditional, forward-looking, creative, funky, tolerant, argumentative, kind, repressed, humble and vain. When we want to be, we're the coolest people on the planet. See! This is what a post-imperial, post-industrial racially and culturally diverse country looks like. We come from the past, yes, but also from the future. Maybe your future.
Perhaps some countries would rather not be reminded that empires fall and dynasties end. Perhaps, like the teenager who uses the word "boring" to describe everything that he or she considers uncongenial, some countries would rather stick their fingers in their ears and shout "la-la-la, can't hear you".
I've been enjoying a real first-day-of-the-holidays feeling today and it's all down to Danny Boyle's ramshackle, crazy, optimistic and inspired show last night.
Thank you, Sir Danny!
Attended a funeral yesterday. The crematorium where it was held was appropriately (I suppose) cold, bleak and wintry with bare trees and a clear cold blue sky. The funeral went as well as these things can, but gained an air of strange magnificence when the coffin was piped into the chapel by a piper in full regalia - kilt and sporran. I hope he had warm underwear.
This morning, woke dreaming that I had died and that my body had been propped up at the bottom of the garden of the house in Watford which was the family home from 1977 until my father's death in 2002. I watched from a short way off as my face started to sag and my body (I was wearing a suit) tipped over; and then my father appeared and cried out "Peter is dead" at the top of his voice. My observing self tried to reassure him that I was all right really.
And then I woke up, otherwise I wouldn't be remembering and recording this dream now.
Well, it seems that my brother (who was hauled into hospital last month) may be, if not exactly out of the woods, at least on their borders.
The lump that was obstructing his bowel has turned out to have been malignant, but there are no signs of the cancer having spread into the lymph nodes and they're pretty sure they excised all the affected tissue. So - he's being put on watch and it's been suggested that a short course of relatively minor chemo could help with his long-term prospects.
Oh, that was great.
Especially the bum control for Mr Serf and Rani to Clyde:
'We'll do it my way. We'll take precautions.'