Follow the Mail & Guardian‘s entertainment editor Lisa van Wyk’s wacky updates from the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympic Games in London, as the who’s who of British music and popular culture makes their contribution.
For the latest on the Olympic Games, visit our special report: mg.co.za/london2012
1:13:00 am - Mon 13 Aug
Boom! Boom boom boom! The end.
1:11:32 am - Mon 13 Aug
*insert obvious fire+smoke/ London riots gag here*
1:08:39 am - Mon 13 Aug
Um, Roger Daltry, it’s quite possible that most of “your generation” has taken themselves off to bed with a cuppa by now.
1:03:53 am - Mon 13 Aug
Why is this band covering the CSI theme song? Tut tut.
1:02:01 am - Mon 13 Aug
I’m sure most Britons only understand the symbolism of the phoenix because of Harry Potter.
12:57:32 am - Mon 13 Aug
This is TERRIFYING to anyone who has watched Wicker Man.
12:55:15 am - Mon 13 Aug
Take That are, judging by their place in the ceremony, far more important than Queen or Muse or even the Beatles. They’re certainly prettier.
12:53:08 am - Mon 13 Aug
I’m not even embarrassed by the fact that I recognised Take That. And squeaked.
12:52:02 am - Mon 13 Aug
This is WAY more dramatic than your standard blowing-out-a-candle-on-a-cake stuff.
12:47:53 am - Mon 13 Aug
A quick summary for those who chose the boring speeches as the moment to go brush their teeth/make tea/snog fellow sexy Olympians: “Well done us! You all helped a bit, but I’ll take all the credit. I’ll now hand over to an even more boring Frenchman, who you can also ignore if you want to.”
12:41:56 am - Mon 13 Aug
Talking heads time. “cue everyone wishing the sexy Brazillians would come back*
12:37:40 am - Mon 13 Aug
But not to worry, those of you who have enjoyed all this so far. Seems like the use of psychedelics, so integral to various indigenous South American cultures, is a tradition proudly continued by Brazil’s choreographers. More glowing things on heads.
12:34:18 am - Mon 13 Aug
Rio 2016 is going to have a “carnival” theme? Really? Who would’ve thunk it?
12:31:21 am - Mon 13 Aug
“You take it! We don’t want it anymore! All this pressure! All the complaining! All the ingratitude!” etc etc.
12:30:13 am - Mon 13 Aug
They have handed the flag to Rio for 2016/washed their hands of all of this.
12:28:36 am - Mon 13 Aug
They should have asked these blokes to sing with Queen instead.
12:24:58 am - Mon 13 Aug
*cue everyone standing around awkwardly and trying to think of Greece’s great Olympic tradition like they’re supposed to and not their current economic situation*
12:18:25 am - Mon 13 Aug
Brian May’s hair is the Fifth Element.
12:17:19 am - Mon 13 Aug
The ghost of Freddie Mercury showing Matt Bellamy how it’s done.
12:15:30 am - Mon 13 Aug
All very Epic™
12:14:00 am - Mon 13 Aug
Muse! Pretending to be Queen!
12:12:24 am - Mon 13 Aug
Man out of a cannon. I wonder if he does children’s parties?
12:10:31 am - Mon 13 Aug
If this is how he dances, I am NEVER inviting Eric Idle to ANY of my parties.
12:08:29 am - Mon 13 Aug
Come over to the bright side. We have Morris dancers and scantily clad angels and rollerskating nuns.
12:07:47 am - Mon 13 Aug
WE HAVE A PYTHON!!!! Eric Idle. I am TOTALLY looking on the bright side of life now.
12:06:42 am - Mon 13 Aug
Ah! I recognise these ones. They’re the historically-unspecific characters from the opening ceremony.
12:03:35 am - Mon 13 Aug
And, 16 years later, Liam Gallagher isn’t really a singer, either.
12:02:58 am - Mon 13 Aug
“Wonderwall” isn’t really a word, if you think about it.
12:00:09 am - Mon 13 Aug
It’s the Spice Girls zigazigah-ing and spicing up your life and everything else they did so well 16 years ago. 16 YEARS. Geri-atric Halliwell and co.
11:56:31 pm - Sun 12 Aug
Yes, Britain. After the Games is over, this is your reality. You made them famous. You have only yourselves to blame.
11:54:03 pm - Sun 12 Aug
I suppose from far away Jessie J really does look like she’s only wearing some strategically glued-on tinsel. But from the comfort of my couch it looks like she’s wearing a body stocking made from my granny’s old nylons. But she sort of pulls it off.
11:50:56 pm - Sun 12 Aug
I suppose the Great Musical Legacy playlist had to run out at SOME point, really.
11:49:11 pm - Sun 12 Aug
This song features the line “Forget about the pricetag” repeatedly. A message for the British public if ever I heard one.
11:46:15 pm - Sun 12 Aug
I bet Fatboy Slim is just lip-syncing.
11:45:39 pm - Sun 12 Aug
Oh, wait. It’s just Russel Brand in a top hat telling us all he is a walrus while girls wearing underwear on the outside float about around him. Not to worry.
11:43:43 pm - Sun 12 Aug
I think someone has spiked my tea.
11:40:51 pm - Sun 12 Aug
Oh. NOW we’re going to go a little bit zany and whacky, quoth the commentator. Well, quite.
11:36:08 pm - Sun 12 Aug
But I suppose it would have been callous. Just as Kaizer Chiefs singing “I Predict a Riot” would have been, I suppose. These are all Very Well Behaved young Britons, these.
11:34:30 pm - Sun 12 Aug
Annie Lennox, but singing the wrong song. “Here Comes the Rain Again” would have been a far more fitting choice for these Olympics, methinks.
11:32:05 pm - Sun 12 Aug
Was about to talk about the models but then a TERRIFYING BLOODY GHOST SHIP turned up and I forgot what I was doing. What?
11:29:30 pm - Sun 12 Aug
DAVID BOWIE! Because bonkers outfits and flirtations with bisexuality are what Britain is all about. I hope none of this is alarming the Queen too much. I imagine the corgis are hiding under the bed by now.
11:23:30 pm - Sun 12 Aug
George Michael: “Remember! You are the centre of the universe!”. Copernicus: “George, darling, we need to have a chat.”
11:15:32 pm - Sun 12 Aug
George Michael! Freedom! Luckily doping tests are not obligatory for performers.
11:05:17 pm - Sun 12 Aug
The Ugandan anthem! At least it’s not the bloody Pet Shop Boys AGAIN.
11:02:30 pm - Sun 12 Aug
Wow. That the marathon winners get all of this while everyone else just got a few tired strains of “Chariots of Fire” seems somewhat…unbalanced.
10:57:14 pm - Sun 12 Aug
Hundreds of nationalities coming together under a giant Union Jack. Um. The more observant and historically-aware members of the audience should be breathing “uh-oh” under their breath.
10:54:35 pm - Sun 12 Aug
What you need to keep thousands of strong, athletic Olympians where you need them: A human chain of people with wearing bowler hats with lightbulbs on them.
10:51:29 pm - Sun 12 Aug
Um. The record seems to be stuck. We’ve heard about these naughty West End Girls already this evening.
10:50:20 pm - Sun 12 Aug
All these athletes are getting on really well. I wonder what sorts of hanky-panky went on in the Olympic Village? Hmmm. I hear the pitter-patter of teeny tiny Olympians.
10:46:20 pm - Sun 12 Aug
They should totally make pyjama races part of the Olympics. They can drop handball to make room for it if they need to.
10:45:32 pm - Sun 12 Aug
All I got was a stupid shiny sticker. That fell apart when I had to jump in the pool for the pyjama race. I’m not bitter or anything.
10:44:15 pm - Sun 12 Aug
I once came fourth in a race at my school gala when I was 11, and no one ever gave me this sort of attention. Just saying.
10:42:25 pm - Sun 12 Aug
I hope those athletes are holding on to their medals. I would totally swipe one if I could. Especially because I’m a bit peckish, and they look like they could be made of chocolate. No, really. They sell them at Woolies.
10:38:57 pm - Sun 12 Aug
Various athletes from the Games pouring into the stadium. With a few notable exceptions. Like Our Brave Boys who have already flown home (with their loveable, internationally-famous fathers)
10:35:36 pm - Sun 12 Aug
Oscar Pistorius bringing out the SA flag. *weeps openly*
10:34:47 pm - Sun 12 Aug
Flag bearers bringing out all the flags of participating nations. I wonder if those that didn’t do so well are feeling a bit sheepish?
10:30:42 pm - Sun 12 Aug
People cartwheeling with orange wigs. They really have crammed the Best of Britain into these ceremonies. The music. The London landmarks. The free and open use of psychedelic drugs.
10:25:27 pm - Sun 12 Aug
This man is Ray Davies. This is the man who can ultimately be blamed for Britpop.
10:23:28 pm - Sun 12 Aug
Maybe these people making in leotards making shapes make more sense when viewed from very far away. Maybe. It’s nice to think so.
10:20:12 pm - Sun 12 Aug
Oh good. We’re back to men bashing on rubbish bins. The other stuff was starting to become a terrible racket.
10:19:25 pm - Sun 12 Aug
One Direction. That direction = downhill from here.
10:18:48 pm - Sun 12 Aug
Pet Shop Boys! OK. We get it. British music still rules the world, even if the Queen doesn’t. Nothing to see here. Just some men in sparkly jackets and people cycling around with traffic cones on their faces.
10:16:05 pm - Sun 12 Aug
Blur’s Parklife! It seems this ceremony will be used to catch up on all the obvious Britpop references that weren’t included in the first one.
10:15:01 pm - Sun 12 Aug
“Our House” means something quite different to plebians than it does to you, Prince Harry. Don’t be confused by all this happy cockney revelling. Or by the floating saxophonist.
10:13:29 pm - Sun 12 Aug
It’s Madness! Apparently street parties are very much “the thing”, after the Queen’s jubilee.
10:11:40 pm - Sun 12 Aug
He is there to represent the Queen, who decided, based on the last one, that this one might not be worth staying out of bed for.
10:10:15 pm - Sun 12 Aug
For those who were momentarily confused, Prince Henry is the real posh name of Harry, the naughtier prince who occasionally dresses like a Nazi and dates Zimbabweans.
10:09:06 pm - Sun 12 Aug
A mini London! The Tower is a mini Tower, the London Eye is but a small spinny thing, the Gherkin is a cocktail Gherkin.
10:07:54 pm - Sun 12 Aug
The man playing Winston Churchill once played a rat in Harry Potter and he’s reciting Shakespeare and it’s already all very confusing. Or Deeply Meaningful™
10:06:19 pm - Sun 12 Aug
If I am not Very Much Mistaken, Stomp, who are currently making a racket, are actually Australian. (I may in fact be Very Much Mistaken)
10:04:46 pm - Sun 12 Aug
Londoners proving they can count. This ceremony also has a “time” theme. Based on the opening, chronology not really anyone’s strong point. This could go either way, really.
10:02:31 pm - Sun 12 Aug
This is it. May it make more sense to all of us than the opening ceremony did.
10:01:42 pm - Sun 12 Aug
Evenings which don’t offer the chance to watch sports I never cared about before lie ahead of me like dark, cold, evening-y things.
9:53:35 pm - Sun 12 Aug
Basketball would be much more interesting if it was actually Basketcaseball.
9:52:08 pm - Sun 12 Aug
While we all wait for the closing ceremony (which I have, for dramatic effect, dubbed “The Beginning of the End”), I am catching up on reruns of the sports I couldn’t be bothered to watch the first time round.
9:00:57 pm - Sun 12 Aug
That’s it for our liveblog of the opening ceremony. Please follow our updates from the closing ceremony next.
1:52:16 am - Sat 28 Jul
And now Sir Paul to sing us some lullabies, so we can all go to bed. At least, that’s what I’m hoping this is. Goodnight, and good luck for the rest of the Games.
1:40:33 am - Sat 28 Jul
And that, as they never actually said in the classic (but should have), is that. Torch lit. Fireworks exploding all over London. Just as it should be.
1:19:31 am - Sat 28 Jul
“It’s not about winning or losing. It’s how you play the game”. – what the talking heads should have said. Or what they DID say, but much, much, MUCH more verbosely.
1:11:07 am - Sat 28 Jul
Of course, because after all of that, we need to hear some talking heads.
1:08:49 am - Sat 28 Jul
I don’t even know what to say about the flying glowing cycling things. You can see them too, right? Just checking. Phew.
12:57:48 am - Sat 28 Jul
Was wondering why everyone was getting happy about Zimbabwe. Then thought it might be because it was the end of the alphabet. Then I remembered the host country. Commentators getting weepy with joy. David Bowie’s “Heroes” playing. Queenie almost asleep. It is way past her bedtime, I suppose.
12:53:12 am - Sat 28 Jul
Oh Americans. Dressed in Ralph Lauren and greeted by Michelle Obama. And I bet you smell nice, too.
12:50:04 am - Sat 28 Jul
Been so busy focusing on athletes and countries I’ve never heard of that I totally ignored the strangeness which happens every time a flag is planted on that fake grassy knoll. What?
12:40:31 am - Sat 28 Jul
Spain. Hola. Qué hermosos sombreros.
12:39:32 am - Sat 28 Jul
YAY! It’s us! Caster Semenya! Oscar! All the rest!
12:37:25 am - Sat 28 Jul
In the spirit of the games, and in the spirit of me trying to find a reason to stay awake while the remaining half of the world struts through the stadium, I will now greet the teams in their own languages. I’m sure they will appreciate the effort.
12:33:16 am - Sat 28 Jul
THERE ARE STILL 61 TEAMS TO COME IN. This is the worst news I have heard all day. That said, I am INFINITELY cheered by the man bearing the flag for Saint Kitts and Nevis. So cool.
12:20:01 am - Sat 28 Jul
Who loves the Mexicans a little bit more after seeing they come with real sombreros? Me too.
12:15:49 am - Sat 28 Jul
This slightly bored silence is brought to you by whoever it is that decided there would be this many athletes at the Games. Or countries in the world.
12:11:09 am - Sat 28 Jul
Kazakhstan. Ok, Olympic organisers. Don’t repeat the mistakes of others. Their REAL anthem does NOT contain the line “all other nations are run by little girls”. Ok? Good.
12:08:10 am - Sat 28 Jul
The parade of nations really does inspire some rather awkward political comment, yes? What a messy place is world history.
12:06:14 am - Sat 28 Jul
Iraqi flag being carried through the streets of London. BACK ATCHA. *cough*
12:04:51 am - Sat 28 Jul
“Here come the Indians”, quoth the commentator. Well, quite. Here they come.
12:00:30 am - Sat 28 Jul
The next few updates are brought to you by Coca-Cola, official partner of the Games. The natural choice of healthy-complexioned and athletic individuals the world over.
11:56:33 pm - Fri 27 Jul
The Bee Gees are Australian. That’s cheating, London. Don’t think we wouldn’t notice.
11:55:19 pm - Fri 27 Jul
Ethiopia and Eritrea REALLY trying to walk as slowly and not sprint off with their flags.
11:51:28 pm - Fri 27 Jul
North Korea. What they must have made of the opening ceremony, which TOTALLY left out the bits where the Glorious Leader invented music and Mr Bean, who can tell.
11:49:36 pm - Fri 27 Jul
Czech Republic in WELLIES! Wise dressing for London weather. Cute.
11:47:51 pm - Fri 27 Jul
I wonder if the Queen is watching some of these countries march past and regretting letting some of them go?
11:45:24 pm - Fri 27 Jul
China. There really are a lot of them. I wonder what they thought of the opening?
11:39:17 pm - Fri 27 Jul
Bulgarians in good old-fashioned British prep-school uniforms. It’s… odd.
11:35:12 pm - Fri 27 Jul
Bermudans. In shorts. Tsk.
11:30:21 pm - Fri 27 Jul
I’m sure I’m not the only one who gets nervous just before they announce the next team and then tries not to look too relieved when it’s a name I recognise.
11:28:27 pm - Fri 27 Jul
Australia! Barmen all over London go crazy.
11:25:03 pm - Fri 27 Jul
Afghanistan and Albania and Algeria. And then the first of the teeny places no one ever knows exists until they come out waving a flag.
11:23:29 pm - Fri 27 Jul
The Greeks. They invented this thing you know. This is all their fault.
11:22:55 pm - Fri 27 Jul
Yay! The Olympic athletes. Stay tuned for shallow generalisations and lazy stereotyping.
11:21:14 pm - Fri 27 Jul
*awkward serious moment where everyone watches intently but is secretly wishing they would just play the rest of Song 2*
11:15:05 pm - Fri 27 Jul
This video insert is where they try prove that the torch really HAS been one continuous flame. But still. here it comes, up the Thames. Looks a bit windy out there. Hope someone has a Bic lighter at the ready.
11:10:21 pm - Fri 27 Jul
Yes, Britain. We know you have a pretty impressive musical heritage. Stop showing off. I’m trying to keep cool and cynical, but typing while dancing is proving to be pretty damn difficult.
11:03:37 pm - Fri 27 Jul
If the Sex Pistols knew back then that caricature punks would one day be pogoing to their classic as a symbol of ‘er Madge’s Kingdom, I wonder what they would say?
11:00:26 pm - Fri 27 Jul
The Jam and the Who! Did Bradley Wiggins plan the playlist? And the Kinks! Mods are GO!
10:51:17 pm - Fri 27 Jul
Rowan Atkinson. That is all you need to know. He’s making Chariots of Fire bearable (and we all knew they were going to haul this one out at some point)
10:46:09 pm - Fri 27 Jul
She’s here! I knew she would arrive. Mary Poppins just HAD to be invited too. She’ll fix everything. Flag gaffes, you name it.
10:44:36 pm - Fri 27 Jul
Great British villains. Voldemort, Cruella de Ville…. but where is David Cameron?
10:41:50 pm - Fri 27 Jul
These are terrifying. NO, little girl! Stay under the covers! There are scaries about!
10:40:31 pm - Fri 27 Jul
Surely the National Health Services get enough of a bad rap without the shocking revelation that staff abandon their posts to swing dance and cavort? Tut tut, indeed.
10:36:14 pm - Fri 27 Jul
Oh God. Tubular Bells. Did they have to?
10:32:59 pm - Fri 27 Jul
Prince Phillip and the Queen. Do they KNOW there are about to be people of various nationalities parading through the stadium? DON’T LET HIM SPEAK. Please.
10:27:50 pm - Fri 27 Jul
It’s James Bond and Daniel Craig and the Queen’s corgis and all my girlhood dreams come true.
10:26:22 pm - Fri 27 Jul
That segment was called “Pandemonium”, according to the commentator. Hmmm.
10:24:15 pm - Fri 27 Jul
Olympic rings. Being forged in the fires of Mordor, apparently.
10:21:00 pm - Fri 27 Jul
Oh I know this bit. Sergeant Pepper. Beatles. Psychedelic drugs. Whatever it takes to make this make sense, I suppose.
10:19:55 pm - Fri 27 Jul
I bet there are a million people watching right now who are blaming their lack of comprehension and general befuddlement at what is unfolding here at the times they fell asleep in history class. Don’t be too hard on yourself.
10:18:40 pm - Fri 27 Jul
Suffragettes. Welsh miners. Chimney sweeps. Where’s Mary Poppins? More impressive sideburns.
10:15:25 pm - Fri 27 Jul
OK. So. Now we have.. the Industrial Revolution? Knowing looks and handshakes and the birth of shifty London bankers?
10:11:21 pm - Fri 27 Jul
Oh my word. Tis Kenneth Brannagh. And Shakespeare. And Charles Dickens-esque attire. And what looks like Hobbiton. Um. I don’t know either.
10:07:06 pm - Fri 27 Jul
Bradley Wiggins, Tour de France winner, reminding Britons that Mod sideburns can be both aerodynamic AND aesthetically pleasing.
10:04:51 pm - Fri 27 Jul
Oh.So it wasn’t a bluff. Green rolling hills and pastoral scenes are go.
10:03:32 pm - Fri 27 Jul
Danny Boyle directed this. For many people, this means heroin-addled trainspotters. So far, they’ve been left off this whirlwind your of UK attractions.
9:57:23 pm - Fri 27 Jul
Muse have written the official song.By the sounds of things, they have been given Very Strict Instructions to sound EXACTLY like Queen (not THE Queen).
9:53:43 pm - Fri 27 Jul
Settling to watch the grand opening. Me, and a million others. So far, I can confirm that the Games are indeed being held in London. They showed the Bridge and everything.