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29 July 2012 @ 11:56 pm
Opening ceremony and a short tale of two bikes  
The very best thing about being English and Australian is that I can generally feel confident of a result in the cricket and can now feel tremendously smug about Olympics opening ceremonies. Of the ones I have seen (admittedly my first clear memory is of Moscow, which had the best mascot) London and Sydney have been the two best, in that order. Barcelona had moments of enormous beauty, and the rest are well behind.

I think it's because both London and Sydney were all about 'these are the things we celebrate, and we don't care if they're a bit weird'. Or maybe because there were serious depictions of a multicultural society with diverse sexualities and lifestyles in both ceremonies, which was fab and real. The Queen with fat corgis and James Bond was always going to see London come out ahead, regardless of the rest, but I did love the Tolkien homage, which went well with the theme of my weekend! And I had thought it would be hard to top the Sydney cauldron, with soaking Cathy Freeman and a stuck gear halfway up the waterfall, but that flower is a very beautiful thing.

In other news, the farm animals at the City Park Open Day turned out to be a petting zoo rather than horses and cows. I was unaware that bunnies are an Australian farm animal, and we decided to not join the traumatising crowds around the kids and calf. The kids were tremendously unconcerned because the manager was giving the children food for them, so all the pats were tolerable when accompanied by an all-you-can-eat buffet.

I went out to Blacktown to pick up the bike I accidentally bought on eBay after being thwarted by the trains last weekend. It was even better than its description had been! SO beautiful and in really good condition and with good parts, too! And an inch too big for me to ride. I thought I might be able to get away with it, because I have disproportionately long legs and can manage a 52cm frame in some makes, but no. So I arrived home, flung a leg over to check, could barely clear the crossbar, let alone the saddle, and informed Mr B that I had bought him a LOVELY PRESENT!

He was surprisingly keen on the idea and is even excited about the clipless pedals and is investigating shoes and cleats to wear with them. 'This was exactly the bike I wanted when I was a teenager!' he exclaimed. Me too, Mr B, me too.

To cheer me up, he put the new tyres we bought last weekend onto my mountain bike, which has been sitting in pieces for far too long. I took it out for a quick shakedown ride. The saddle was a bit low, so I put it up to what looked like a more reasonable height. It was a super comfy height for riding, but when I braked, I realised that my feet didn't actually reach the ground, and because one of them was still clipped in and the other one was flailing in the air above uneven ground, I did the traditional thing and fell over, happily landing on my arse but then having the bike land on me.

'Give me that,' said Mr B, who lowered the saddle to a compromise position. 'Now test it before you swing up onto the pedals. It's not a bloody horse!'

'I have a bruise!' I announced.

'Is that going to teach you to be more cautious about things?'

I burst out laughing. 'No, of course not! Don't be ridiculous!'

It is possible that Lilla My was a bad role model when I was a child …

brinian, I missed your birthday the other day, sorry! I hope that you had a lovely day and that the furry people in your house were all very well behaved and that cake and presents both made their way to you!
κάτι τρέχει στα γύφτικα: wolves_inbetween_ on July 29th, 2012 01:59 pm (UTC)
I spent the last 3 days crying on tumblr that nobody had told me how cool the opening was until AFTERWARDS and now olympics is evil again and took down every single bloody clip from youtube.

Your legs have shrunk *nods*
blamebramptonblamebrampton on July 29th, 2012 02:03 pm (UTC)
I know that there are some international feeds available, but I don't know who has them. Maybe start with the BBC?

They haven't! Though my back has shrunk by 1cm since I was 20, which is alas a very normal thing: 5mm a decade is the average. I MUST BUY A BATMAN BAR AND STRETCH! There is no extra height to lose!
κάτι τρέχει στα γύφτικα_inbetween_ on July 29th, 2012 02:21 pm (UTC)
Nope. Not even neighboring country ones work for me.

A Frankenstein bar might be more useful.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on July 29th, 2012 02:52 pm (UTC)
It would have to go through my neck! My pretty smooth neck!

Buggeration. I'll keep an eye out and if any flistees announce who they're watching with, will let you know.
Kristina Andersson: Can I Play? (by Dolimir)kriscat on July 29th, 2012 04:29 pm (UTC)
Glitter Me Timbers: mcr - frank profileciel_vert on July 29th, 2012 02:12 pm (UTC)
I thought the Opening Ceremony was really beautiful! There were parts that weren't my favorite, but overall I really loved it. For me, Barcelona still wins at best actual lighting of the torch (seriously, that archer... STILL AMAZING), but for the torch itself, London is my favorite now. It's so beautiful, and I did love the younger athletes lighting it, instead of just one person. It was very moving.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on July 29th, 2012 02:49 pm (UTC)
The archer was just magnificent, and Barcelona's dancing was superior ;-), but yes, that torch -- the whole concept was brilliant.
ecosopherecosopher on July 29th, 2012 02:31 pm (UTC)
I loved the opening ceremony too :)

Poor you. Bruised! Glad to hear you're not learning from your mistakes though.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on July 29th, 2012 02:53 pm (UTC)
I have so many bruises so often: my skin clearly thought it was going to someone else with a more suitable lifestyle!
Loyaulte Me Lie: tell shocolateshocolate on July 29th, 2012 02:35 pm (UTC)
these are the things we celebrate, and we don't care if they're a bit weird


We were never going to impress the entire world, except with our music.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on July 29th, 2012 02:54 pm (UTC)
I do love the fact that Boyle decided to willfully confuse lots of it. I can just imagine the Americans thinking 'Socialism and Voldemort?!'
drgaellon on July 29th, 2012 02:48 pm (UTC)
I missed any reference to Tolkien in there... Carroll, Travers, Rowling, yes, but not the Professor.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on July 29th, 2012 02:52 pm (UTC)
The green hills of the Shire vs the smoking industry of Isengard ;-)
drgaellon on July 29th, 2012 03:05 pm (UTC)
Ah! The commentators on NBC here were describing it as depicting the evolution of Britain from agrarian to industrial. I saw the parallel, but since they didn't comment on it, I figured Danny Boyle wasn't trying to be that explicit. They also explicitly described that green hill as Glastonbury Tor, so my mind went Arthurian.

Edited at 2012-07-29 03:07 pm (UTC)
blamebramptonblamebrampton on July 29th, 2012 03:08 pm (UTC)
I think it was subtextual, but since we all saw the same subtext, it must be right ;-)
inamac: CP - Otters Flightinamac on July 29th, 2012 06:30 pm (UTC)
Tolkien himself was referencing the rural/industrial divide, so it's a Common British Theme.

Me, I was thinking more in terms of Archers/Coronation Street/East Enders.

Which is just as valid.
spirillen: Tim Minchinspirillen on July 29th, 2012 02:59 pm (UTC)
I actually missed a lot of the opening ceremony as the outdoor screening I was meant to attend by City Hall (one of my favourite parts of London) got cancelled, but the atmosphere was fantastic + i got to see Le Beckham on the rather snazzy speedboat taking the torch to Hackney. Might actually try to get tickets for an event but am definitely going to all the international houses for food and entertainment - might as well make the most of my free time, employment is bound to hit me soon.

I am actually 1 cm taller than i used to be - it must be the yoga. Mind, have not done any excercise since I broke my finger at the cinema 1 week ago, maybe I should let the olympics inspire me.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on July 29th, 2012 03:12 pm (UTC)
Bugger! But still, that would have been enormous fun! I had plans to be home for the summer to at least catch some of it, but since I have only just begun to lift my poverty, I'm here, not there. Sydney was hilarious for the whole of the 2000 Games, so I hope everyone is having as much fun there. DO party while there is still time!

And I think I may have to take up yoga, unless Pilates has the same benefits? Please share the broken finger story, it sounds very silly, which I appreciate.
Sherrysherryillk on July 29th, 2012 05:01 pm (UTC)
The Opening Ceremony ended up making me feel both incredibly American, and incredibly young... ><

And I totally agree about Sydney -- it's still my favorite Opening Ceremony... The Beijing one is a close second though.
Jaeenchanted_jae on July 29th, 2012 08:01 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry the lovely bike didn't work out, but it was so kind of you to present it to Mr B.

mrsquizzicalmrsquizzical on July 29th, 2012 10:25 pm (UTC)
i haven't seen it all yet. i'm hoping to find a replay on one of the foxtel channels. (there was one at midnight til 4.30am but that wasn't so useful for the kids...)

i did love her majesty and jkr.
booksnchocolate: johnny mcgonagallbooksnchocolate on July 31st, 2012 03:12 am (UTC)
I love hearing about your biking adventures! ♥ They remind me of my parents, who are also very avid cyclists.

Hope your bruise heals fast~