How it Feels to be a Brit on Olympic Opening Weekend

I am writing this the morning after the Opening Ceremony. Like many people, I struggled to get excited about the Olympics ahead of time. I wasn’t excited about the ceremony and only decided the day before that I should make an effort to watch it. I thought the whole #savethesurprise thing was probably just covering up something predictable like Paul McCartney. Turns out, there were many, many wonderful surprises and I have literally never been so proud to be British.

I am really pleased it’s Team GB this time, not England vs. Wales vs. Scotland vs. Northern Ireland. We’re playing as a team this time.

The Opening Ceremony, well, it was fantastic, wasn’t it? Quirky, odd, theatrical, poignant, eccentric, dramatic and funny…Danny Boyle pulled a wonder out of a value carrier bag. Picking Frank Turner to perform just before the start was an inspired choice – proper British boy, proud of his heritage but with something to say about the state of the country today. A bit like Danny Boyle, then.

Who else could laugh at themselves like GB? Who else would have an extended dance slot based around the crazy youth and their crazy culture?  Who else could say “yes, we’ll get the London Symphony Orchestra to perform Chariots of Fire, because that’s exactly what everyone expects us to do….OH HANG ON, but there’s Rowan Atkinson taking the total piss” (sorry for swearing, but it’s the right phrase for the purpose).

Who else would get their freaking monarch to arrive by helicopter, accompanied by James Bond? (Yes, it didn’t happen, but bloody hell that was well played and well done to Her Majesty for going along with it. I bet she had a big old giggle with Daniel Craig). I wonder if they were her actual corgis in the film.

Finally, and most importantly, who else would take that moment to celebrate the NHS. Our free national health service that means access to medical care for everyone. Everyone. For free. If you have an accident, you go to hospital and get treated. No insurance, no paperwork, no unnecessary worries. One of the most beautiful scenes at the opening ceremony celebrated the exact same NHS that is pretty much being phased out. The NHS that we basically can’t afford any more…but we can afford lavish Olympic ceremonies. Freaking well done Danny Boyle for having the guts to put that in there. Let’s hope the reminder of how proud we are of our free health service will serve to change what’s happening.

So not only am I proud of Danny Boyle and Great Britain for putting on the kind of opening ceremony to put the doubters to shame; but I am exceptionally proud of the fact that we dared to make a statement with it. Plus, there were fireworks. I love fireworks.

(If you’re excited about the Olympics, take this poll to let us know what you’re most excited about!)