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Olympic Opening Ceremony: Minute-By-Minute Reaction

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Inspired by the Guardian Eurovision liveblog, my plan was to upload my commentary as it happens. But HuffPost doesn't allow that, so here are my 'live' reactions, uploaded all in one go.

I'm particularly looking out for my friend - apparently, she's wearing a long dress and a curly wig and appears in the centre ring in the first section. For me, that will be the most exciting bit of the whole Games! They're all volunteers, you know, and have been rehearsing for weeks.

I'm not much into sport, although I did watch the torch being carried through my local town (it wasn't far from the end of my road, so it would have been churlish not to - and I'm no churl). I didn't join in the countrywide bell-ringing this morning. I did tweet 'ding-a-ling-a-ling' at 08.12 though.

So this blog is my main contribution to the whole event. Here goes...

20.40 Switch on BBC1 and think I'm on ITV. It's an advert for the Olympic app.

A chap (I'm assuming it's a chap) has devised an Opening Ceremony drinking game - follow him @myTrueLad (but beware rude words). I'm not drinking tonight or I won't be able to type. But I am going to collect points in line with his recommendations, and see how many I end up with when the ceremony finishes at 00.30 (if I can stay awake that long).

20.45 15 minutes to go!

Some long-dressed ladies are walking about with parasols (umbrellas?). Wonder if Ann is with them... Can't see her. Yet.

20.47 Ah, the history of the 5 rings. I learn it's 5 rings for 5 continents. Better check whether that's worth anything... Oh, no points, according to the drinking game.

20.59 Seconds away!

21.00 And it begins - underwater? Oh, it's the source of the River Thames. And we're flying along it, with lots of cultural references along the way, ha ha, including EastEnders! How apt.

21.03 So Bradley Wiggins IS there. Lots of people predicted that. Well done, him, and his yellow jersey. But where's his bike?

Ah, a lady in long dress with curly hair! It's not Ann though.

21.07 So far, so traditional. They're applauding Kenneth Branagh's Shakespeare now (but not very enthusiastically, as far as I can tell).

21.11 And we're into the Industrial Revolution. But I haven't seen Ann yet. Then again, she is only one of 2,500 so I suppose it's not too surprising!

21.15 It's a proper history lesson. Women campaigning for the right to vote. We only got it in the UK a couple of years before my Mum was born, which doesn't seem very long ago really.

21.16 Ah, poppies and a moment of stillness. I did wonder how they'd handle the Wars.

21.18 That was quick! People in Sergeant Pepper suits so we're already in the '60s! Oh no, we're not. We're back with Brunel, the Chelsea Pensioners (hoorah!) and the Pearly Kings and Queens (hoorah!).

21.22 Aha, they've forged the rings! And they're raining fireworks! That's rather nice. Ann said she was near the centre ring. I'm looking, I'm looking, but I can't see her.

21.24 The audience is cheering. And where are we now? Back to a recording of Buck House. Isn't that Daniel Craig as James Bond? With a pair of corgis? And the Queen (the real one?) has just said "Good evening" to him! Ha ha ha! I really am laughing out loud. The Great British sense of humour. How absolutely fabulous.

21.30 How come the (real) Queen and Prince Philip are being introduced in French? Je suis confused.

And some more representatives of the Forces. Is that normal? I've never seen a whole opening ceremony before! But then it's not been in my own country during my lifetime. Don't know if I can keep up this level of comment for another three hours though. I might stop at the Parade...

21.32 Standing up now for the National Anthem, sung by a choir deaf/blind children in pyjamas (I think that's what they said). Can't help wondering how many times Her Majesty has heard that in all her Diamond years, but maybe not like that before.

21.34 Let me check points so far on the drinking game. 2 for 'James Bond performs a stunt'. 4 points for 'someone speaks French', 1 point for 'close up on Royal family', 3 points for 'camera zooms in and out of stadium'. Wahay, that's 10 so far!

Now we've got Tubular Bells and an NHS tribute with real patients from Great Ormond Street Hospital in glowing beds. To be fair, it may not be Beijing, the show so far is incredibly complex, isn't it.

Wow, JK Rowling! Reading JM Barrie (no relation). In comes the Child Catcher, Voldemort and Cruella De Ville! That's unexpected. And about a gazillion Mary Poppinses descend! Just as well I'm not drinking; this bit could be quite disturbing if I was.

21.44 That's a nice idea. Computer-controlled lighted 'pixels' for the audience to wave and feel part of it all. I approve of anything that involves audience participation (hint, hint, add your comments below!).

21.47 Ha ha, Mr Bean is 'playing' Chariots of Fire! Hoorah for Rowan Atkinson! The audience is cheering properly now.

21.52 The Archers theme tune and a Mini. And rain! (Luckily, the real weather is being kind this evening.) How very British.

21.57 And now we're into the digital age with dancing to a music medley, and a love story mixed in. Gotta be impressed about the amount of work that's gone into preparing all that choreography and those costumes, eh?

22.06 Local boy, Dizzee Rascal - would you believe he's a family friend of someone I know? True.

22.08 Well there's a thing. I wasn't expecting to see Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web! What a gift he's given the world. Without him, I wouldn't be writing this. You wouldn't be reading it. Thanks, Tim.

Right, another bit of film footage. Time to check my drinking game again. Let's see, Danny Boyle has been mentioned. I get 2 points for that. That makes 12 so far.

22.13 Is that David Beckham? Driving a boat under Tower Bridge? Carrying the torch-bearer? It is! I would get 4 points if his omission is mentioned...but no.

22.14 A memorial wall for absent friends and family, and Abide With Me. That seems like a weird change of pace, but it's a bit hard to object, really. Does that singer sound nervous to you? Wouldn't blame her if she is. Must be hard to sing such an emotional song solo and a capella at the best of times, never mind in front of however many millions are watching this. Well done, her.

Now I've learned something - that song has been sung at football and rugby cup finals (told you I don't know much about sport!). I claim my 4 points for 'a tradition/historical event I didn't know'. 16 points is my grand total.

22.20 The athletes are parading in now. I might watch until the fireworks, but my typing fingers are tired so I'm submitting this now. Let's see how quickly HuffPo will get it online...

If you've read all this, thank you - you deserve a medal.