It’s Been So

interesting hearing and reading the reaction to the Olympics Opening Ceremony out here in the States – this in the NYTimes is one of my favourites – not least for the number times the word ‘eccentric’ has popped up. If it was a display of patriotism, here was patriotism at its silliest and most self-deprecating. At the same time it didn’t feel forced. This was not look-at-me-I’m-mad-ism. All those rough edges felt authentic, which is perhaps why any Brits hiding behind their sofas when it began for fear that it would be a three-hour-long cringefest came out of it feeling strangely proud.

The next day I overheard an American here in Washington sum it all up. He was asked how the ceremony was. ‘It wasn’t Beijing,’ he said. ‘It was quirky and a bit nuts. But it was good. It was British, you know.’

And in case you’d forgotten just how different it was, here’s Beijing:


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