The kettle was boiled. The tea was made. There we were, piled onto the sofa, waiting for the greatest show on earth to grace our television screen. I knew it was going to be good. As the Red Arrows flashed past, the hairs on my arms stood to attention, and my barely contained anticipation spilled over along with my tea onto the sofa. Except we weren't in greater London. It was 5.30am on a wintry Saturday morning in Melbourne. There we sat under the duvet with eyes bleary but wide, transfixed with pride as the familiar landmarks of our former home town appeared before us. She looked radiant. For there are so many of us across the world, who whilst we hold the passport of a different nation, we have also been Londoners for a time. In the end, for me it made no difference whether I was in Morden, New Malden or Melbourne. I was never going to miss it for the world.
And what a show. The opening ceremony was delightfully joyful. It had a spontaneous feel to it. Or perhaps that was just me spontaneously reacting to what I was seeing. Some have called it delightfully absurd. Either way, the delight arguably lay in seeing the ceremony's thread of understanding not quite run all the way through. It shifted and turned, and it felt like the best 27 million pound in-joke for all those who understood the British Isles. I loved it.
After all the build up, the criticism, the negativity, the worry, the cost overruns, all of it; forget about it. I'd just love to be in London right now. The inevitable queues, the hoards of lost tourists, the delays, all of these become next year's pub stories, woven into long yarns, sometimes short on truth. Australians still tell the stories born out of the 2000 Olympics.
In between cups of tea on the sofa I avidly switched between laughing and crying at the tv, and checking facebook and twitter feeds to communicate and giggle with friends and strangers at our synchronised television footage of the opening ceremony (except the Americans, ludicrous not to have you on the live ride). At a point when speculation was rife that the tardis may make an appearance, one tweet came through. It said that the olympic stadium was like a reverse tardis, smaller on the inside. Whomever wrote that tweet is now lost in my feed, but with you I quite agreed. In the wee hours of this morning, it definitely felt like we were all inside a reverse tardis - and half a world away, London felt so close. I hope others far away felt that too.
Long live the digital diaspora.
Ps: If someone could tweet me to confirm if I was seeing things on Friday night, or if Noel Fielding really was out there on rollerskates. I'd be very grateful.
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