In January 2012, I was elated to be told that my application to be a London 2012 Games Maker (a process I'd completed in various stages from numerous visits to internet cafe's during my travels in
I was invited to attend an interview by LOCOG, the organising committee of the Games in
There was a rule, yes a rule that you couldn't bring water or liquids in through security, so I played to my English ways and patiently waited at the few water fountain stations for a top up. I was cautious of drinking any though - the toilet queue for the ladies was just as long! I was loving it and the ceremony hadn't even started.
You needed to be seated for the rehearsal to commence at 7:30pm but I was too keen to get inside the stadium so I headed there early towards Bridge C and the correct entrance on my ticket. Lingering amongst the food and drink stands I felt a pang of curious excitement, catching a glimpse of the centre of the stadium through one of the gangways - an artificial green hill and thatched roof and water wheel stood in the core of the arena very much like the start of a pantomime show like Hansel and Gretal, a piece of a jigsaw of something much bigger. My curiosity soared and hit the roof about what was in store. I had no idea where I'd be seated in the stadium but discovered following my tickets numbers that I was wandering towards the lower tier, directed by a perky Games Maker usher and stepped into the vast open stadium. The glimpse I caught of the thatched cottage and greenery was in fact part of a huge jigsaw of a fabricated rural farm scene, very pastoral and very English - obviously acting as the introduction for the foundations of the ceremony. It was pretty adorable and quaint - 'Merry Ole
Eight rows from the front. I counted my lucky stars yet again.
I listen to the exaggerative American announcer and thought about all the great athletes and famous faces that will grace and face combat in this gladiatorial arena. The many that will create and encapsulate historic moments and memories in this intimate and cushioned stadium, over the duration of both the games. I remembered that the torch was going to finish its epic journey around the
Not the wrong row though, I hadn't become too deluded by the enchantment of the stadium. My correct seat was actually on the end of the row - even better! could stretch my legs. My attention was then caught by a unexpected gigantic ball of fluff hovering over me, pulled along by strings onto the track area by people dressed up like painters. They wore white hats and cute striped dungarees carrying cotton messenger bags, reminding me of oompa-loompas. A few conferred with each other near the front of my section, whilst some proceeded to walk the fluffy balls like balloons around a few laps of the arena like they were needing some exercise. I sussed out that they were clouds as part of the country scene - so cool! A short while after, actors dressed in pilgrim style costumes start to emerge, some leading farm animals to mount the greenery and begin re enacting different scenarios; tending to the waddling ducks and cows, dancing around the maypole and playing games of cricket next to the giant rotating water wheel and bell that stand on the right of my view. My mind begins to play guessing games, the bell is going to be used for something.
My Games Maker friend was a nurse in the so called normality of the 'real world' and was going to be working in a role with the medical team in the
The 'painters' were acting as Marshals and were going to be our cues in helping with the technicalities of the rehearsal. We were then instructed to pick up the black devices I'd been playing with before hand from off the back of the seat in front. They suddenly lit up with small bulbs flickering on and off and were told to copy the hand movements of the Marshals standing in front of us. The effect of waving the devices in different directions in unison with the rest of the stadium was AMAZINGGGGG, as different bright colours and shapes flashed around the sphere of the arena all at once. I couldn't believe how well organised this whole thing was - they were just showing off.
'And did those feet in ancient time, Walk upon
'The rings, the rings' my lady friend excitedly yells as I look as well in awe at the mesmeric flaming orange giant rings hovering directly over us under the dark sky. They slowly gliding towards each other like an illusion, meeting in the centre of the stadium - ah I had a secret feeling that was them!
This is the culmination point, the climax right here - It's spellbinding and I'm totally transfixed as they come together to form the symbol of the Olympic Rings - genius! A few seconds later, there is an sudden impulsive explosion - rays of gold sparks fall like rain onto the minute performers assembled underneath them. The lights of the stadium fade, leaving the lonely silhouette of the fiery rings magnificently glowing in the darkness, like they have just been branded onto the enormous cloud of fog in the sky. Soft soothing whistles play over the speakers as everyone is infatuated with the famous circles up above. Very moving. The hairs on my arms stand up and I feel those prickly goose bumps again.
We sit there stunned and exhilarated, the electrifying roar and applause of the crowd thunders through the stadium in overwhelming splendour - one of the most thrilling things I've ever seen. Honestly, it was emotionally awe inspiring. God that Danny Boyle is good.
Camera cranes swing around across the crowd capturing the action. Music from 'Chariots of Fire' and other melodies are played out for a while after...I guess to rehearse the order and to determine the sound checks. At that point all these are mysterious to us, teasingly disguising the extra treats the ceremony has planned. I think they are likely to involve someone famous or something that can't be rehearsed tonight...will have to wait and see on the real night.
Watching this already dynamic extravaganza unfold, re-enforces what a filthy rich and fruitful culture we have in Britain and this was the opportunity to show off on the worlds stage all those things very British. The bouncy child play then finishes and the nurses tuck the little darlings into bed. A story begins to be read.....unaware that on the night it would be the voice of J.K Rowling. The snazzy light affects that come back to shine are of a huge pair of devilish eyes, stalking the stadium with performers dressed in black rags, representing the idea of nightmares and the dark side. I realised we were about to embark on a fantastic display of English Literature with a fairytale angle - so cool.