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When clock strikes ’12

London’s best kept secret out tonight as Boyle’s opus — the opening ceremony— premieres on world stage

Written by Shivani Naik | Published: July 27, 2012 1:37 am

Nobody in London is talking about the Opening Ceremony. Which shouldn’t be mistaken for indifference. Or lack of interest in what’s going to be on show,when the curtains go up on London 2012.

It’s just that in a stunningly simple manoeuvre,Danny Boyle,the creative director of the ceremony,pleaded for secrecy from the few thousands permitted into a final dress rehearsal of the opening ceremony. And those who were invited for the on-scene feedback — deserving volunteers and soldiers with back-breaking,thankless jobs over the next fortnight — are revelling in being the special ones who got the sneak peek but wish not to speak.

Britishers are rewriting rules of patriotism this summer. From braving stormy rains,standing on thoroughfares and bridges to watch a parade of antiquated monarchy during the Queen’s Jubilee Celebrations,to this present self-imposed Olympian Omerta of the Opening Ceremony.

The decent gentleman Danny Boyle had only to propose that things be kept hush,and conscientious Brits had disposed the YouTube videos of the rehearsal,pulling them off the net,just for the sake of secrecy. Suspense is the only publicised stunt at this ceremony. It’s a genre Boyle knows as well as Slumdog Millionaire’s over-the-top positivity.

Keeping it simple,not even venturing into Beijing’s opulent realm,or trying to out-do the inflated spectacles that these ceremonies have become,the opener will have meadows,cows,sheep and nurses of National Health Service. It’s not even publicized as a sell-out with the top price tiers still unsold,and the Organising Committee deciding to give these to soldiers or children.

London,it would seem,is not dying to impress the world with large figures,and architectural wonders and flying men,though they aren’t ruling out one right din to the sound of the largest harmonically tuned bell in Europe.

Pioneers of the first-ever custom-built stadium for the Olympic Games in 1908,the hosts seem to have moved on from flash and antics as they host their third Games,less with dazzle,more with austere dignity. This Olympics would not be about iconic buildings and landmark construction,for unlike Beijing,London’s enduring images have been imprinted on the world,without too much trying,some in the past century.

The red double-decker which started the party on Beijing 2008’s final day is still marveled at and applauded as it carries the torch,and the day’s loudest cheers at the torch-relay through the city were reserved for TV’s doyen Sir Bruce Forsyth,a man Britain can’t thank enough for making them laugh and giggle for over 50 years.

Special screenings with food and beer in common rooms of student dorms,Union Jacks painted onto chocolate wrappers and underwear even,and volunteers sitting atop high chairs with funny Olympic hats and starting conversations on a megaphone with strangers strolling down fancy couture stores,have been London’s preferred mode of ringing in the Olympics.

At Stratford,East London’s Olympic site,talk of security apprehensions,transport jams and the expected showers on Friday hasn’t vanished magically,but come Friday,and they’ll be all talking about the Opening Ceremony. Many have dissed the meadows-and-nurses plot on social networking sites,just like the endless debate on the music chosen — and omitted — from the soundtrack fo the ceremony. Yet,suspense has given the opener a tinge of anticipation,much more than what announcements of spectacle would,ordinarily.

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