Opening Ceremony

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My thoughts on The Olympic opening ceremony.

Well first of all let’s get this out of the way. The Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics was the most amazing brilliant event I have ever seen in my life and best of all – I WAS THERE!

I’ve spent the last few days doing my best to work out why it was so brilliant and here’s what I believe to be true.

Not Being Beijing

The opening of Beijing was a spectacular show. Like Cirque du Soleil x six million. I remember the thrill of seeing 2008 drummers at the start and I remember the… hang on no I don’t remember much else.

It was brilliant but it was expected.

London on the other hand did the unexpected – for the whole show.

Magic Music

The soundtrack was amazing. Britpop, rock, dance and specially written pieces which stirred the heart. May favourite was Caliban’s Dream by Underworld. You can hear it here or do what I did buy it, download it and play it loud!

We can laugh at ourselves

‘Good evening Mr Bond’ was amazing, as was Chariots of Fire with Rowan Atkinson (Mr Bean). Danny Boyle had humour throughout and paid off big time.

History

When ‘Green and pleasant land’ turned into an industrial sprawl for the ‘Pandemonium’ section there were dozens of references to the amazing history of Britain. One thing you maybe didn’t see on the TV was the Jarrow Marchers. How many people would get that? Brilliant!!

Emotion

Sooooo much emotion. Emeli Sandé singing Abide With Me while images were shown of those who wanted to remember was incredible. Especially when a picture of my Dad, who died last year, appeared.

Lighting the Olympic Flame

There is so much hype around this part of the ceremony and so many rumours of how it would be done the excitement was heightened to fever pitch. My favourite rumour was that David Beckham would be kicking a flaming football in the style of the archer at Barcelona.

Bringing together every nation and lighting the flame by future athletes nominated by our greats was perfect.

Many Americans didn’t get it

Sorry my friends in the USA but I had to laugh at some of the tweets you sent afterwards. Of course you didn’t get it; it featured history, culture and self-deprecation! You weren’t meant to get it!

Seriously though you really can’t please all the people all the time, the fact that 98% of the world’s population did get it speaks volumes.

Finally

I set a goal seven years ago that I would be at the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Olympics. I even put in my diary ‘NO BOOKINGS TODAY – I WILL BE THERE!’ I didn’t get tickets in the original draw so I had to work hard to achieve my goal. I’ll not bore you with the details of how I managed to get my tickets (it’s the last post!); but I didn’t pay over the odds and didn’t use corporate sponsorship. And our tickets were in the 2nd row!

My other goal was to go to the Mens 100m final. Too much…?

See you there on Sunday!

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Olympic Dream or Olympic Goal?

What an unbelievable morning. I heard there would be extra tickets going on sale this morning and thought lets go for it.

Now let’s rewind 5 years. I put the date of the Opening Ceremony in my diary with the words ‘No bookings today – I will be there’.  Like millions I applied for tickets for the Opening Ceremony last year and like millions didn’t get any.

However I never took the date or my statement out of my diary. Instead I looked at other ways to go. Corporate Hospitality? Too expensive. Volunteer? Chances are I’d get car parking duties in Slough. No if it is to be it is up to me rang through my mind and this morning I prepared.

And that’s the key with goals. Wanting them isn’t enough. It’s all about the action. So I practised ordering online so I would know where the menus and buttons were. I ensured my internet connection was running as fast as possible by turning everything else off. I opened world clock and at exactly 11am I started the order process. So did thousands of others.

But here’s where preparation meets, skill and a bit of luck.  My online ordering was like a Ferrari Pit Stop.  Boom 68 seconds later I have 2 tickets! Goal achieved.

I’m currently at the stage called ridiculously highly excited.

Proud to be British

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Like many Brits I felt super proud this weekend. Yes the Queen was great (cue my mum saying ‘Isn’t she amazing, 86 you know’) but it was the whole spectacle that got me going.

If countries divvied up jobs we would have to get event management for the rest of the world. We are BRILLIANT at it.

So now it’s all over and we just have the memories, some bunting and about 500 Gig of our Sky+ box to look back on.

Oh and the picture (below) of the surprise visitors who popped in!

Planning for a book launch

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We spent most of yesterday and a big chunk of today planning the publication of my next book.

The Edge – how the best get better, will be launched to the world on August 30th. And this time there will be an eBook version so Kindle people you’ll be downloading it too – won’t you!

There are loads of things to consider and even though it’s 3 months away the next two weeks are packed with activity.

There will be an audio version too produced by the magnificent people at Audible.co.uk – I’m recording that in June.

Here’s a question for you. How much should I shout about my new book? I think it’s brilliant and everyone should read it but… when does enthusiastic blogging, tweeting and shouting become boring?

You will let me know, won’t you?

You have won item…

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Doesn’t it feel good to win anything? But winning an eBay auction just feels that little bit better. Especially when you get a genuine bargain.

I’ve just bought a rare Human League CD for 99p. It’s called The League, Unlimited Orchestra. It’s instrumental remixes of their hits.

I had the vinyl version in the 80’s but goodness knows where that has gone.

Here’s to winning (on eBay).

Fruitella

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I’m a bit bemused, amused and confused. I heard a mother in Waitrose, call her child Fruitella. Yes the same as the sweets. It wasn’t a joke this was her name.

I know kids names have become a little more colourful over the years and that’s great. But Fruitella! Come on what’s her brother called, Starburst (formally known as Opal Fruit)?

We know faster than you do!

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I’m on a train. No change there but this one’s stuck. I’m stuck between Newark Northgate and Retford on the East Coast main line. I knew we were going to get stuck because I follow East Coast on Twitter. They are very good at pointing out problems as they happen. However, the bit that’s really weird is the staff on the train didn’t know we we’re going to be delayed or why we are stuck. I know more than them.

Now they are apologising and saying as soon as they know how long the delay will be they will let us know. IT’S 30-60 MINUTES!!! You can read about it on Twitter.  

Makes you think though, who knows more about you than you? They’re out there! 

Michael

PS While we are stuck you would like to imagine the staff in First Class would be running around making sure everyone has fresh tea and coffee and a slice of their delicious cake. They’re not. They’re sitting having a chat, playing on their phones and waiting. Waiting because they aren’t supposed to do their next service until they have gone past Doncaster. How strange.

The Freudian Fairies Strike

I was doing a keynote presentation today for the lovely people at Denplan. I’m not sure why but suddenly the Freudian Fairies took over my power of speech.

I meant to say, ‘When I was a child’ but instead I pronounced, ‘When I was a cartoon’.

Christine howled out loud as the audience looked on confused. I pulled it back with an awkward segway to the Hair Bear Bunch.

Life as a speaker, eh?

Trains Vs Planes

I used to like to fly. Even short journeys like the one I take from Newcastle to London (lots) would be on theImage BA flight. But then I started to travel by train – a lot.

Weirdly it’s now faster than flying (to London*) and the best bit no security to go through. That has to be a big bonus, yes?

I traveled through Newcastle Airport recently and after another nasty security check incident I thought it was time to give the shift leader my feedback. ‘Hello. I was wondering, does Newcastle still have the ambition to be the most hospitable airport in the world?’

‘Yes we do’, came the proud reply.

‘Well when are you going to start?’, I offered.

Then I legged it!

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If I was really good at blogging I would have ended that story with – Then I legged it and got on a train! But I’m just getting in to the swing of things.

Fire in Hexham

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I woke up this morning to the news there has been quite a bad fire in our local town of Hexham. It’s not on the news yet but all over the local social media. Such a savage beast. It looks like local shops and pub may have been affected and fingers crossed no one has been hurt.

UPDATE. A local resident was caught in the fire. Hope she’s ok.

So here’s a thought. Check your smoke alarms today and if you don’t have any PLEAAAASSSEEEE get them fitted.

Now a realisation – this is my fourth blog and there hasn’t been much to laugh or smile about yet so I intend to rectify this later!