Posted by: seasonaire | June 25, 2012

Olympic Bandwagon

Yes, I know, the Olympics is nearly upon us, quite literally for those of us who live in London. My involvement so far has mainly been grumbling about the ridiculous level of corporate control over the Games.

However, even my disdain for the mismerchandising of a sporting event with such unsporty products as fattening fast food, has not stopped me from wanting to be involved in London 2012 in some way. So, after several failed attempts at getting a job, I applied to be in the Opening Ceremony, and, despite a total lack of dancing talent, have somehow ended up in both the Olympic and Paralympic Opening Ceremonies. So, last Sunday, off I trekked to my first rehearsal somewhere out in Essex, where, thanks to the decline in the British car industry, they have a lot of space for practising huge formation dances.

This was a quite surreal experience, possibly because they are trying to keep the whole thing top secret, and because this is near impossible in the era of social media. It is certainly an uphill struggle to contain the twitching fingers of thousands of bored volunteers all waiting around to be fitted for some ridiculous costume or other. Who could resist sneaking tidbits of information out their to illicit a laugh from their mates? I know I am tempted, but luckily revealing that I am basically clueless about what I am supposed to be and what exactly it is they want me to do, is hardly going to get me in very much trouble.

My second rehearsal was in the stadium, worth it just to be one of the first people inside the stadium. The main thing we did, was stand around while the costume people showed us how our costume would work, unfortunately for the dance instructors, it is two-dimensional and dancing tends to be three-dimensional. Practically all of the dance moves we had been taught were rendered impossible by the practicalities of the costume and prop combination. Once this was realised, the dance teacher basically shrugged and walked away, so we were left without anything to do apart from stand around looking a bit lost every time they rehearsed the mass dance movements.

Even watching Danny Boyle running around waving his arms was not enough to prevent me from feeling that perhaps I had drawn a short straw in terms of volunteer commitment (including 5 days of annual leave) vs time on stage (approximately 30 seconds). Surely nobody needs to spend 60 hours practicing running across a field and back? Well, maybe the athletes…

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