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Martin Marks

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A Very British Opening Ceremony

Posted: 07/27/2012 1:17 pm

The United Kingdom of England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Denmark (long story) is most honoured, indeed, to be hosting the 2012 Olympic Games. From the same people who brought you William Shakespeare, Winston Churchill, Magna Charta (Google it), an assortment of castles, palaces and royal cousins, Westminster Abbey, Downton Abbey and One Direction comes the grand and glorious spectacle that is the 2012 Opening Ceremonies, all in celebration of the sweeping cultural contributions and peaceful international presence of the British peoples, paying no particular attention to our military history from, say, 1604 to 1948.

For those of our foreign guests, dignitaries, officials and athletes arriving from over 150 foreign countries (i.e., anywhere east of Bexley) who were able to avoid any ongoing airport, bus, catamaran, plane, train or automobile strikes by choosing an alternate means of transportation (e.g., dirigible, catapult, British Airways) and thereby managed to make it inside the United Kingdom despite the best efforts by the agents of Her Majesty's Immigration Services (all six of them) to keep each and every one of you out, welcome! For those of you stuck at some point along the way, please be patient. With time, the problem will surely resolve itself.

To get you to the Opening Ceremonies, we're offering a whole array of public transportation options to remind everyone of that shining moment in British history, the evacuation of Dunkirk. (Google it.) You will be shuttled to and from the Olympic village by awaiting ice cream vans -- the only vehicles available on such painfully short notice -- and because nobody's quite figured out how the traffic lanes work, we'll be offering a canoe service to ferry guests across the Thames. When these get clogged up, feel free to use the rappel line erected across the length of Tower Bridge. Everyone else will have to swim. Be sure to mind the gap.

Having passed through security (due to continued rationing, we ask you not to bribe the Olympic guards with nylons, chocolate or butter), it's onto the grandeur of the Olympic Stadium. Remember that Glass-Sky-Ferris-Wheel-to-Nowhere that we built a few years ago to mark some occasion that was happening then? It'll be remembered like that, but even better! Modeled after an Amazon.com distribution center -- though much less showy -- our stadium is the height of modern sustainable design, its foundations dug through the tireless efforts of enforced work regiments of former MPs, and powered by solar panels, because as everybody knows, it's never cloudy in England.

You'll be able to sample the finest in British cuisine at our food kiosks, where, thanks to our new governmental doctrines, we've decided to bring everything together in delightful, harmonious combination. Be sure to try the Banger Toadies Eton Mess and Masher Fry-ups and Fish and Chips -- with or without a smashing orangey bit -- because what's delicious for one person is delicious to everyone. The official sports drink of the Opening Ceremony is gin, because if there's anything to know about the British, it's about our restrained behavior during sporting events involving alcohol. All are available for purchase with our new Olympic currency, the British Renminbi.

For those of you who had the good common sense to stay at home, the Opening Ceremonies will be telecast live through the glories of the BBC, meaning that it'll be interrupted at 22.15 with an old episode of EastEnders. When is 22.15? Impossible to say. But tune in then, whenever it is, to find out if Den Watts will divorce Angie.

The ceremonies commence with the receiving of the Head of State, Her Majesty the Queen. (Americans, she's the grandmother-in-law to The-Duchess-of-Cambridge-formerly-known-as-Kate-Middleton.) Some may notice the uneasy look upon Her Majesty's face, which is completely understandable, as there haven't been this many athletic foreigners on British soil since the Battle of Hastings. (Google it.)

Then there's the Parade of Athletes (who made it through immigration), a series of speeches, more speeches, the raising of the Olympic flag and the singing of the national anthem, which, due to recent currency reforms and subsequent popular referendum, is now "O Canada!"

The Olympic Flame will then pass through the stadium, being carried by none other than Mitt Romney, because we're known for nothing if not our self-deprecating dry wit to the point of passive-aggressiveness. After the igniting of the Cauldron, it's on to the entertainment, with a display of modern British pastimes -- namely, Pippa-discussing, Pippa-watching, Pippa-outfit watching and Pippa-outfit complaining, with volunteers from charitable organizations playing the various Pippæ. This will then transition seamlessly into a celebration of the British media, featuring topless girls, disgraced former chancellors of the exchequer, and seventeen generations of the Murdoch family -- those still with us, and those cryogenically frozen. Marks & Spencer has generously provided whatever uniforms haven't been stitched together by local knitting circles.

This will be followed shortly thereafter by a break for tea. No music, no performances. Just tea. And possibly sandwiches. But you'll have to bring your own.

The evening culminates in a magnificent fireworks spectacle display hullaballoo extravaganza, leading into a musical performance by an all-star line-up of England's greatest talent, including Sir Paul McCartney, The Sex Pistols, Sir Elton John, The Clash, Susan Boyle, George Michael, Michael Bublé, Oasis (subtitles provided), Sting, Robbie Williams, Billie Idol, the Spice Girls, Duran Duran and Peter Gabriel, singing a not quite harmonious medley of the 2012 Olympic Games' official anthem, "It's England: Dream Smaller."

Unfortunately, the refreshing icy rain we arranged to drench our country for the past three months won't be letting up anytime soon, so you'll have to imagine the magnificent fireworks spectacle display hullaballoo extravaganza in your head. And you won't be able to hear the musical medley by England's greatest talent all-star line-up, either, because we've turned off their microphones, as we wouldn't want to violate any local noise ordinances. And so, we've left everything up to the greatest British band of all time, Herman's Hermits, who will be performing an acoustic set, just in case the electricity gives out, in a darkened corner of the BBC booth. They'll be accompanied by the Brixton Symphonic Kazoo Players, while Strand School Primary's Year Three Class will be carrying glow sticks (that aren't too bright) to get everyone in the Olympic mood -- at least until EastEnders comes on.

 

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