Sunday 29 July 2012

Olympic snippets

You would be forgiven, dear reader, for assuming that a curmudgeonly old so-and-so like His Tenseness, infamous for his unsociability, not much of a joiner-in and shunner of all things collective, would not have much truck with London 2012, the 30th Olympiad of the Modern Era.

You would be forgiven, but you'd also be wrong.

To be fair, I'd thought much the same, so no hard feelings, eh?

The wheels started coming off the Miserable-Scrote-mobile on Friday morning, at approximately 12 minutes past eight. This was the appointed hour for the start of one of the highlights of the Cultural Olympiad, All The Bells.

As the press release stated:

"Any Bell. Anyone. Anywhere. 08:12 27th July At 08:12 this morning hundreds of thousands of people across the United Kingdom rang bells to celebrate the first day of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, in a mass participation artwork by Turner Prize winning artist Martin Creed, commissioned by the London 2012 Festival."

It wasn't my intention to take part as such, but as I was leaving Tense Towers to go to work, Our Lass called out to me to not forget that it was the bell-ringing thingy today. Instinctively, I grabbed a set of sleigh bells on my way out of the door (as you do).

Several national radio stations were broadcasting the event, so it was fairly straightforward to be aware of the countdown to Big Ben's commencement of 3 minutes of continuous ringing at 08.12. I only discovered later that this particular time was chosen because it was 12 hours before 20.12, a timely pun of 2012. Well there you go!

So, at 08.12 precisely, I jumped up from my desk, grabbed said sleigh bells and set off on a gentle jog around the factory, ringing for all I was worth, like a horse-drawn fire engine on acid.

To be honest, the bleary-eyed souls who had dragged themselves into work for that hour probably required a gentler introduction to the Cultural Olympiad, but what the heck. In and out of rooms I went, through workshops, along corridors, upstairs and downstairs. At one point, I burst out into the car park to discover half a dozen disappointed-looking colleagues who had been hoping for the village church bell to peal. A red-in-the-face, exhausted-looking Northerner in some sort of jingling frenzy was probably not what they were expecting, as he careened past and on into another part of the factory.

"B'lls... f' three mints... 'Lympics!" I managed to gasp.

Three minutes is not only a long time to be ringing a bell (no innuendo, please), but for me, it was also a bloody long time to be jogging. I collapsed back into my chair and declared that that was it, my Olympic spirit had peaked too early and I was reverting to my more usual gruffness for the entirety of the remaining Games.

Jingly, jingly, jingle
However, events were to prove otherwise...

That evening, to escape the television extravaganza that was the four hour opening ceremony, Our Lass, Second Born, the Admiral and I ventured as far as a local Italian restaurant, to celebrate Our Lass's completion of her latest course. After a pleasant meal, we met up with JD, of Rotten Yarns fame, and ended up in a wine bar to continue the revelry. We caught up on events since we had all last met, a conversation carried on against the backdrop of pop videos on a multitude of monitors.

Suddenly, the scantily-clad starlets and hip-thrusting wannabes were replaced by the pastoral scenes of the beginning of the London 2012 opening ceremony. But before we could let out a collective groan, it became apparent that this wasn't going to be any routine run-of-the-mill floor show. The introductory video sequence was filmed as if through the eyes of a... what? Something that emerged from the water at the source of the Thames and proceeded to fly downstream at a hell of a lick, encountering all sorts of Olympic imagery as it went. Surely it wasn't... ? No, it couldn't be... ? Was that a dragonfly? It was. An Olympic opening odonate!

That was it, we were hooked. And the music was a bit good, too.


holdingmoments said...

I had no idea all this bell ringing was going on.

The joys of not having a TV and buying newspapers; I seem to live in a state of ignorant bliss to the events happening beyond my door; unless I'm there with my camera.
I like it like that. :-)

Sarah Walker said...

HAHAHA!!! Had me laughing out loud at work with people looking at me like I was a looney.
Would love to see the CCTV footage :) xxx

Tales of a Bank Vole said...

Dear Anita Ward

As we were following on from Beijing I think you will find that was Dragon Fry.

Capt. Sundial said...

Cheer me up Repeat Tues am Please!!!!

Imperfect and Tense said...

It does sound like the take-up of the idea was not universal!

My excuse was that it was a Friday, but to be honest, how many other chances am I going to have to sleigh bell a whole factory?

Imperfect and Tense said...

It's best they know sooner rather than later, Sarah! :o)

Oops, I hadn't considered CCTV :o(

Imperfect and Tense said...

Ah, that'd be the song with the annoying synth drum, one of the very few things that were wrong with the 70s.

I am reliably informed that, in the Far East , dragonfly larva are a delicacy, so you could be right.

Imperfect and Tense said...

Dear Capt Sundial,


Anonymous said...

thought for a moment there you were going to tell us they were morris bells, and that you put them round your ankles....

Katie (Nature ID) said...

Ha! A dragonfly's eye view? Could be. Loved the reporting of bells ringing, from yours to the one flying off the handle to the phone apps. We fell asleep before the ending of the opening ceremonies, because monopolistic NBC/Comcast here decided to televise it way past our bedtime. Have the broadcasts there focused on the sex appeal of the athletes?

Congrats to Your Lass!

Imperfect and Tense said...

Focused on the sex appeal of the athletes?! I guess it's taken as read for the beach volleyball, but aside from Second Born's scathing criticism of Tom Daly's swimming trunks ("Might as well have not bothered!"), no, I can't say the broadcasts have done that.

There was, however, some kerfuffle over NBC's dropping of the part of the opening ceremony that centred upon the July 7th bombings.

Oh, and Our Lass says "Thanks!"

Imperfect and Tense said...

Well, Anon, as they're sleigh bells and indicative of Winter, perhaps I should remove the tinkly bits and perform the Dark Morris?

Katie (Nature ID) said...

To answer your question I had collected links for you, but then I thought better than to actually send them.

NBC dropped the ball numerous times for the Olympics. I was exhausted attempting to stay up past midnight to watch tape-delayed events during "primetime" network airing. In order to get advertisement- and glitch-filled online streaming, we would have had to fork over at least $750/yr in addition to the $850/yr we already pay to Comcast. Nope, sports isn't worth that much to us. That's just the beginning of the complaints about Comcast/NBC... From what I read, I would have liked BBC's excellent offerings. How much do you pay for the BBC/yr?

Imperfect and Tense said...

The Beeb's output wasn't universally applauded, but from what I saw, it was ok.

In the UK, it costs £145 for a year's tv licence. In the analogue days, that would get you 5 channels (BBC1, BBC2, ITV1, Channel 4 and Five). With the advent of digital tv, a small one off payment for a set top box (£20 to £50?) will now bring in loads of channels. The BBC is funded from the licence payments, the others use advertising to raise revenue. Or, we could line the Murdoch pockets and pay extra for satellite, but what with blogging and all, I don't have too much time to watch tv.

You seem to pay a lot over there! Is that cable or satellite?

We do spend an inordinate amount of time watching actual wildlife and probably spend more money on bird food than on the tv licence.