Like two-thirds of Canadians (!), apparently, I tuned into the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympics last night. And I even watched it live, and nearly to the bitter end.
They really did a fine job, I thought. I liked the special effects re-creation of the ocean, and the fields, and the mountains (even if it perpetuates the myth that we’re “outdoorsy” country people, when most of us live in cities). And I liked the slam poet, reminiscent of the old “Joe Canadian” ads, but with more eloquence and no beer. (Even though it claimed an environmentalism we don’t deserve. But the rest felt right.) The fiddling medley was lively fun. And man, does this country have a great set of women singers, or what? Nikki Yanovsky, Sarah McLachlan, Joni Mitchell, Measha Brueggergosman, and most especially, KD Lang, actually outdoing her Juno performance of “Hallelujah”.
I liked that the final torch run wasn’t just Gretzky. I liked all the French. And it was appropriate that the tragic death of luger Nodar Kumaritashvili was recognized, and recognized again.
I have some sympathy with Olympic protestors. The IOC is really the most appalling organization. But the athletes… they’re mostly inspiring. They always win me in over in the end.
Finally, live TV meant not fast-forwarding the commercials, and the somewhat dubious sponsors involved. It made this 22 Minutes bit even more hilarious the second time around:
February 16, 2010 at 2:59 pm
That slam poet’s poem was shortened considerably for the opening ceremonies. I found the entire text online:
February 16, 2010 at 5:58 pm
Thanks for the link to the full text of the poem — it was great.
Yeah, a lot of people have criticized Nikki Yanovsky’s “Oh Canada” performance. Which is fair — I wasn’t crazy about that version, either. But it irritates me that some (not you) therefore assume she’s just another no-talent, pretty-face, teen pop singer. Because she’s got a serious set of pipes. Couldn’t believe it when I first heard her, when she was, 12 or so? She looked and talked like the young girl she was. But she didn’t sing like one–she sounded like a woman.
Course, that amazing voice doesn’t make her a great interpreter of songs, as the “Oh Canada” shows. Is that something you can learn? I hope so. She’s only 15 or 16 now.
February 16, 2010 at 5:44 pm
Forgot to add – the thing i disliked most about the ceremonies was Nikki Yanovsky’s rendition of O Canada. She totally “americanised” it in the way US pop singers tend to jazz up/drag out the Star Spangled Banner when they sing them at big events. I so hate that. It’s a grand song on its own – it doesn’t need a pop version – just sing the damn thing as it was written. I really really hated her performance.