And so the days are filled...

16 March 2006

Let the fun and games begin (or, please stop that opening ceremony, it's making me fall off my chair with laughter)

The Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony was truly a night to remember. Melbourne took this opportunity to put its best foot forward and show the world (well, 71 nations at least) what it's made of.

Sadly I missed the first half hour of the telecast due to some unresolved TV politics within the household, but I am told that the FLYING TRAM which was so wildly anticipated by the media did, in fact, arrive on time (not 10 minutes late, which it would have, had it been a REAL tram).

By the time I tuned in, the show seemed to have reached an anti-climax of things floating around in the air. The effect was disturbing to say the least. But the arrival of the traditional Aboriginal owners of the area was quite beautiful. In all honesty, that was by far the best part of the show.

Then came an inexplicable transformation of the symbol of knowledge into a duck (don't ask) and, moving from the ridiculous to the sublime, Happy Birthday was sung to the Queen and seamlessly became "God Save the Queen". The poor Queen seemed ill advised of this and looked (for her, at least) a bit unsure of protocol. First of all, she's sitting while everyone is standing and singing happy birthday to her (including her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, which was quite sweet), then her national anthem kicks in and Her Majesty is forced to become upstanding without a moment's notice! Could we not have done away with the Happy Birthday? What was a thinly veiled disguise for "We are all republicans here and the only reason we stick with this Commonwealth thing is so we can trounce you all every four years at the Commonwealth Games without other nations like China or Russia or the USA sticking their big noses in and stealing all the Gold Medals" became an absolute fizzle of an international courtesy.

The parade of nations was ably accompanied by none other than Cat Empire, a very fine Melbourne export, and the television commentators were quite useless at telling us anything about why particular nations were there - like Cypress... and Malta... what?! Commonwealth?!?

One highlight of the parade was seeing all of the flags of the various entities that normally fall under the umbrella of the United Kingdom. Who knew there were so many variations of the St George's Cross? But the Isle of Man, Jersey, AND Guernsey were represented in full colour. And, speaking of umbrellas, the women carrying the umbrellas announcing each country were classic Melbourne. Lovely touch.

During the athlete's parade, the Queen's baton was slowly making its way up the Yarra River via a flotilla of conjoined boats. In a bizarre twist on international sporting protocol, the baton was carried by each of the 16 Australian Rules Football captains in turn. (Of course, my Barry Hall of the insurmountable Sydney Swans, 2005 premiers CAME FIRST.) The poor athletes from Kenya and Barbados and Canada for that matter must have been scratching their heads as to who these thugs were and why exactly they were being cheered so loudly... The only thing missing from the ceremony at this stage was a race horse... but we still have the closing ceremony to go!

But never mind all of these shenanigans, we had knitting to keep us busy. Because remember, this IS the first ever Knitting Commonweath Games. Due to increasing interest in the Games and a desire of those participating to somehow 'brand' themselves followers of these great Commonwealth Games, I have created two Knitting Commonwealth Games buttons for your downloading and showing-off pleasure. Two of my favourite Commonweath Games sports are represented here:
knitting commonwealth games buttons
Badminton (this one is for Kris)

knitting commonwealth games buttons
and Lawn Bowls

Yes, the Commonwealth Games and the deadline they impose certainly lit a fire under this little knitter and I actually managed to finish the back of Leo! Hooray for me - but no photo for you. Can you tell, I am teasing you the way the Games organisers teased us with endless hints of flying trams and Aussie legends...

(If you feel like you haven't got enough of a mental picture of the carryings-on from the above description, there are more photos here and here.)