I was watching the opening ceremony for the Beijing Olympics this afternoon. Well, I say "watching". At certain points I was just sat there. Agape. And it's not every day I get to use that word.
Let me use it again, it might be a while before it gets another airing.
There was everything. Drummers. Thousands of them, in spooky synchronisation. Eight-thousand years of history, the Confucian past, the dynastic generations. Ancient scrolls and symbolism. Calligraphy and Communism. Terracotta warriors and jiggly girls in white knee-socks. (Something for everyone, there). A giant globe with vertical wire-walkers. Taikonauts. And the fireworks. Always the fireworks. OK, chaps, we get the point. You invented gunpowder. No need to rub it in.
Essentially it was a frenetic mix of theatre and spectacle. And as mad as a badger.
If I'm frank, I'll probably avoid the rest of the Olympics from here onwards, sport (or physical exertion generally) not exactly being my bag. But I can imagine billions of people enjoyed the show.
With one exception.
Could you imagine being the person with the responsibility of designing the London 2012 opening ceremony now? Basically, you've just been told to get cracking. And knowing the great British media's schizophrenic approach to criticism ("that was crap"/"look at the money you're wasting"), he's not exactly on solid ground.
What can he do that will talk about Britain? This royal throne of kings, this sceptered isle, this earth of majesty, this seat of Mars, this other Eden. What can he put on, that speaks clearly to the global audience about the indomitable spirit, the bulldog courage, the chippy enthusiasm, this home of wit and wisdom?
Step forward, Chas & Dave.