Wednesday, March 15, 2006


Let The Games Begin

“And finally, ladeeez and gennelmen please welcome the final team into the arena tonight. The proud hosts of the 18th Commonwealth Games – Ozzztrayyya!”

Craig Willis, the circus spruiker-cum-footy announcer put it all in context, and showed the world what the $30 million fireworks and choreographed midair performers on strings were all about; a mere warm-up act for the main event, our World Class Team of 2600 sportsmen and women, all dressed nattily in their St Trinian’s School head prefect outfits of green with gold trim and braiding.

Have we ever managed to dress our athletes in a vaguely stylish uniform when turning them out on the international stage?

Welcome to the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony! And for those of us unable to cough up the $250+ price of a seat at the MCG, sitting by the banks of the Yarra was as close to the action as we could get.

Don’t know what your highlight was:

Was it the Michael Leunig-inspired saga of ‘A boy and his duck’?

Was it the po-faced look on Her Maj’s face when she rushed to her feet as Dame Kiri’s “Happy Birthday to you” serenade turned into “God Save the Queen”?

Was it the lame parade of footy captains unsteadily carrying the Queen’s Baton along the 72 fish boats lining the Yarra (that's it, above) representing a different fish from each competing country (interesting Fish Fact: Canada’s was an Arctic cod)?

Was it the pas de deux between the airborne principal ballerina and a trail bike rider? Or the flying W-Class tram (gross weight: 8 tonnes)?

Or the comfy, middle of the road feel to the music – I’d wondered what happened to The Church. And the Cat Empire, for that matter. It’s kinda handy for them that they only have one song, and it lasts 90 minutes, the time it took the 5000 athletes and hangers-on to file into the stadium.

I guess their brand of white man’s funk is Ron Walker’s idea of trendy young people’s music. Trendy young people like Eleri and Bek, pictured here enjoying the fireworks.

Or was it Our Delta? She’s been at the Pop Song Generator again and came up with a stirring anthem to finish proceedings: ‘Together We Can Fly/ Like The Eagles In The Sky/ Baby We Were Born To Try…’,5478,18467297%5E39875,00.html

Was it the Wurrundjeri elder coming ashore in her bark canoe to hand a boy her globe of knowledge – and locals unfurling their possum skin cloaks for the world? If you’re going to have a token Aboriginal component, it may as well be a good one.

Or was it the delight the circus brought to the faces of Premier Steve Bracks, John Howard (whose government threw in the $50 million cost of the opening and closing ceremonies – thanks taxpayers!), or Ron Walker, who boasted that he’d sold more tickets than the Manchester Games or Athens Olympics?

Tell that to the volunteers in our train home who were disappointed not to get a few complementary tickets to the opening ceremony – despite the thousands of empty seats that stood out like sore thumbs on the TV coverage.

We loved the flying tram, the fireworks, the happy athletes, the firework fish, the flow of the celebration up the Yarra and into the stadium, Ron Barassi walking on water – and the arrival of Eleri’s mum Pat with a delicious hamper of yummy treats just as our stamina was beginning to flag.

Three year old Megan was the target demographic, and prounounced to grandmother Julianne: "I saw all the fireworks in the world, and they were wonderful!"

Now she wants to go on a boat on the river - we salute her and the Commonwealth Games dreams of competitors, our army of volunteers and the billions of spectators throughout The British Empire over the next Ten glorious days.

God save the Queen!

Ed enjoys the show:


The blogger on the river, showing his true colors:

More fireworks!

Yet more fireworks!


Blogger Rebekka said...

Which colours are the true colours you are showing on the river, darling?

4:17 pm  
Blogger Rebekka said...

PS Lovely entry, by the way! xox

4:17 pm  
Anonymous Alan said...

your blog looks good. Much brighter than some others.

5:18 pm  
Blogger Chai said...

I like Cat Empire.

1:58 am  
Blogger Hugo said...

Cat Empire did seem to be having fun out there, Chai, and they were by no means the worst band on the bill. i challenge you: what did you think of Our Delta's soppy ballad?

4:59 pm  
Blogger Chai said...

No challenge, sadly. I didnt watch any of it. Truth be told, I've never heard any of Delta's songs but I'm sure she's a really nice person.

3:19 am  

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