Did you see the Paralympic Games Opening Ceremony last night? I was drifting in and out of consciousness having had a lovely Joe Allen late lunch with Mrs T. We’re going back in business with a new concept for the Savoy. It’s all hush-hush but I think between us we can do a marvellous presentation. Back to the Juboparalympic Games 2012. I found the simplicity and sincerity of the opening ceremony so much more moving than the Danny Boyle extravaganza for the Olympic OC. I would lay odds that it cost a fraction of the latter and was all the more true for it.
I made sure I stayed awake to see soul diva Beverley Knight sing that time-honoured gay anthem I Am What I Am that has resonances with anyone who doesn’t feel appreciated, understood or even liked. Beverley is one of those ladies who try to put far too many notes into a simple song. I’m afraid the blame for this trend lies at the late Whitney Houston’s feet. Anyway, she looked smashing in a gold sequin bias cut frock slit up the thigh and plunging to the navel. The ruby in her tummy button was a nice touch.
Anyway, I fell asleep after about eight bars and woke up an hour later and Beverley was still singing a riff over the chorus. There’s an old phrase that singers give to the band to say ‘enough already’. When a performer says ‘take me home’ it means the fat lady is about to sing her last high C. Miss Knight could have been taken home at least half an hour before she finally conceded defeat. But I loved her performance even if it was 5am by the time her vibrato had ceased.
The real star of the Paralympic Games OC wasn’t Miss Knight however. It was the lady in lavender and rhinestones who stood next to her for the entire performance of I Am What I Am and did the most incredible sign language with full emotion and dance moves to match. Now there’s a talent you could take to the bank…or, at least, the Black Cap in Camden on a wet Tuesday night. I was slightly ambivalent about the giant statue of the quadruple amputee lady that loomed large at the centre of the Olympic Stadium. I never liked the smaller version when it was on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square.
Anyway, as Bev was ticking her tonsils, who do we discover dancing like a hobbit beneath the giant white idol but Gandalf himself: Sir Ian McKellen. He looked like an extra from The Whicker Man but was clearly having the time of his life. What were the other highlights of the Paralympic OC? I rather liked all the flying, pogo-hopping performers but the magic moment was when HM The Queen arrived at the stadium and received the loudest roar of approval of the evening. I bet Boris Johnson was spitting feathers. Only two more weeks of his personal PR pitch to become our next Prime Minister. Go Bo-Jo.