The Olympics Opening Ceremony

I wrote this four years ago, as a sort of Bob Newhart-style monologue.

It will be out of date very soon.

And here we are, finally, after all the planning, all the preparation, all the wrangling and the escalating budgets. Especially the escalating budgets. Here we are, London 2012, the 30th Olympiad of the modern era.

And after Beijing four years ago, the whole world is watching this opening ceremony just to see what Britain can do.

A hush in the stadium. And now, here he is, Sir Steve Redgrave, Britain’s greatest ever Olympian, walking into the centre of the field. And what’s that in his hand. Oh, it’s a party popper. That’s quite a pop. Oh, look at the streamers, there’s a red one, a green one, is that … yes, it’s a yellow one. Spectacular.

And now, here’s Daley Thompson and Lord Coe bringing on, oh, is that a screen? Yes, Daley’s helping him set it up. They can be quite tricky, can’t they? Oh, a steward’s helping. Yes that’s it. What’s that? Daley Thompson’s got a laptop . . . and a projector…. Pops it on that crate.

Now that’s marvellous. Oh, a cracking Powerpoint presentation. Ooh, look. Welcom to London. Unusual spelling of Welcom, without the conventional “e” at the end. And what a splendid slide transition. I think that’s the fly. Is that the fly? Yes, the fly from left. Truly marvellous.

And now, here come the morris dancers. There’s about a dozen of them, skipping about, hitting each other with sticks. Hang on, they’re chair legs. Oh, no, it’s not morris dancers. It’s a pitch invasion. They’re having a fight.

Oh, no, now the real morris dancers are coming on. Oh, dear, they’re getting their heads kicked in by the pitch invaders. And a ripple of applause around the stadium for the first time this evening. Wonderful. Dragged off there.

And now, here comes the torch. The Olympic torch, carried around the world, across six continents, and finally brought into the stadium by Dame Kelly Holmes. And the crowd are going wild, as she… oh, hold on. Who’s that man? Oh, stadium health and safety. He’s carrying a bucket. They’re having a heated discussion. Yes, he’s taken the torch. Straight into the bucket of sand.

What’s that he’s given her? One of those lighters for gas hobs. Dame Kelly runs to the podium with the brazier atop it. She raises the fire lighter thing. Presses once… Twice… Three times. It appears to be faulty.

There are shrugs from Olympic officials. Nobody has matches thanks to the smoking ban. Looks like they’ll just have to leave it. From the spectacular British Olympic opening ceremony, it’s back to the studio …

I don’t think I’d want a used anvil

I went on Omegle again last night. I always think if I can get just one American to Google Sandi Toksvig, it is worth all the effort.

You’re now chatting with a random stranger. Say hi!
You: Hi!
Stranger: ;ello!
You: Is this the place where I can talk about anvils?
Stranger: we can if you desire to
You: I don’t really know much about anvils.
You: Could you tell me a bit about them?
Stranger: theyre great for blacksmithing
Stranger: and attempts at cruching trolling roadrunners
Stranger: and makeshift anchors 😀
You: I think I would like one.
You: I wonder if there are any websites where I could obtain one.
You: Amazon?
Stranger: ebay
Stranger: amazon migh
Stranger: might*
You: I don’t think I’d want a used anvil.
Stranger: im not too sure what section it would be in
Stranger: walmart!
You: Anvils, I suppose.
You: I am from the United Kingdom. We do not have walmart.
Stranger: :O
Stranger: noooo
You: We have ASDA.
You: Which is owned by walmart.
Stranger: thn how do you laugh at disgusting people?!
Stranger: besides watching americanTV
You: We read special books.
Stranger: what does ASDA stand for?
You: I do not know. I’m hoping one of the As stands for Anvil.
You: I love anvils.
You: Although I do not know much about them.
Stranger: useful to have
You: You have been very helpful, though.
Stranger: anytime bud
You: Are you an expert on anvils?
Stranger: i know a thing or two :p
You: It’s good to know. Do all Americans have anvils? Like you all have guns?
You: And comic books.
Stranger: not all people do, and its a damn shame they dont
You: And listen to jazz.
Stranger: guns, depends on you POV
You: Hard bop!
You: Are guns different depending on your POV? I suppose they are.
You: Always point them away from yourself.
Stranger: i personally believe in my right to bare arms unless your playing russian roulette
You: Me too. Especially when it is warm.
Stranger: your English correct?
You: I did not think that you would play Russian games in the Americas.
You: Yes, I am.
You: And it is.
You: Are you an American?
Stranger: What part of the UK?
You: I live in a place called Sheffield.
Stranger: yes
Stranger: Sheffield, eh? ive heard of that place
You: Me too! I live there!
Stranger: i am from the great state of Texas
Stranger: NO WAY :O
You: Is it true that lots of Americans live in Texas?
You: This is what we hear over here.
Stranger: 36 million
You: That’s loads!
Stranger: nah, theyre starting to move more southwest
You: I expect the numbers vary from day to day.
Stranger: the California area
You: Are there still cars in America?
You: No, that’s not right.
Stranger: yeah, and trucks too!
You: You call them autogyros?
You: Something like that.
Stranger: automobiles
You: No, that’s not it.
Stranger: everyday words are cars and trucks
You: We have them in this country.
You: People drive around in them.
You: Not children, though. We say to children, “You must not drive the big cars, trucks, etc.”
You: Some of them have toy cars that they can sit in.
You: But they can’t go on our motorways.
You: (Motorways are like big roads.)
Stranger: for most states the mimimum age is 16
You: (Without shops, although sometimes there are motorway service stations. The best one is at Tebay.)
You: We allow all ages in our country.
Stranger: even gays?
You: What do the states that don’t allow children do with their children?
Stranger: they get rides from people or take the bus
You: Yes, even gays are allowed in our country. One of them, a woman called Sandi Toksvig, even presents The News Quiz on Radio 4.
You: Rides out of the state?
Stranger: i love queers? you?
Stranger: what do you mean by that?
You: Do you get Radio 4 in America?
You: What do I mean by what?
Stranger: “rides out of state”
Stranger: and im not sure
You: You said that people under 16 aren’t allowed in some states. I just wondered where they lived.
Stranger: im not positive
You: This is confusing. I preferred it when we were talking about anvils. I knew where I was with anvils.
Stranger: with parents or legal guardians’
You: But they can’t live in the state?
Stranger: they can
Stranger: they just cant drive a vehicle
You: Have I got this wrong? You said, and I’ll just copy and paste. Hang on.
You: “for most states the minimum age is 16”
Stranger: yes, you must at least 16 to drive a vehicle
You: Oh, that’s a relief!
You: I thought it was a bit like Logan’s Run.
You: Only backwards.
You: I was wondering what sort of country Texas was.
Stranger: a grand country
Stranger: except for the slavery, but yes. we were quite prosperous
You: Is it mountainous, or flat like the Netherlands?
You: How many trees are there?
You: Rough estimate.
Stranger: its slowly becoming more urban
Stranger: we have deserts, mountains, lakes
Stranger: and miles of coastland
You: What about the trees, though? How many are there?
You: Wait!
Stranger: im not too sure
You: Can we do this next time? The Cabinet are coming in and I have to get out of the PM’s seat.
Stranger: how would you contaact me
You: My name is Nick. I will give you more details next time.
You: Goodbye!
Stranger: k
You have disconnected.