I wasn’t going to watch the Olympic Opening Ceremony on Friday evening; but, in the end I did. I’d put it on the TV as background while I did a couple of bits on the computer. I’m so glad I did, because I found myself completely enthralled by it. Danny Boyle did a super job of putting it all together; and everyone involved in it really played their part. I came across a scan of Danny Boyles programme notes to introduce everything; and thought it well worth putting on here — I especially like the final paragraph.
‘Be not afeard: the isle is full of noises’
The Tempest, Wiliam Shakespeare
At some point in their histories, most nations experience a revolution that changes everything about them. The United Kingdom had a revolution that changed the whole of human existence.
In 1709 Abraham Darby smelted iron in a blast furnace, using coke. And so began the Industrial Revolution. Out of Abraham’s Shropshire furnace flowed molten metal. Out of his genius flowed the mills, looms, engines, weapons, railways, ships, cities, conflicts and prosperity that built the world we live in.
In November 1990 another Briton sparked another revolution — equally far-reaching — a revolution we’re still experiencing. The digital revolution was sparked by Tim Berners-Lee’s amazing gift to the world — the World Wide Web. This, he said, is for everyone.
We welcome you to an Olympic Opening Ceremony for everyone. A ceremony that celebrates the creativity, eccentricity, daring and openness of the British genius by harnessing the genius, creativity, eccentricity, daring and openness of modern London.
You’ll hear the words of our great poets — Shakespeare, Blake and Milton. You’ll hear the glorious noise of our unrivalled pop culture. You’ll see characters from our great children’s literature — Peter Pan and Captain Hook, Mary Poppins, Voldemort, Cruella de Vil. You’ll see ordinary families and extraordinary athletes. Dancing nurses, singing children and amazing special effects.
But we hope, too, that through all the noise and excitement you’ll glimpse a single golden thread of purpose — the idea of Jerusalem — of the better world, the world of real freedom and true equality, a world that can be built through the prosperity of industry, through the caring nation that built the welfare state, through the joyous energy of popular culture, through the dream of universal communication. A belief that we can build Jerusalem. And that it will be for everyone.