Ideas for a retro closing ceremony

After the smashing O-word opening ceremony a couple of weeks back (are we allowed to refer to the sporting event now without bringing the wrath of LOCOG down on us all?) I had high hopes for the closing ceremony, but this was not fulfilled. In fact, a lot of the closing ceremony seemed to be about all the things we'd hoped the Olympics had purged the nation of, especially celebrity culture. There were bits I quite liked about it, so I've had a few ideas about how it could be improved.

1: The Giant Flag? The Giant Retro Party!
Swap this for splitting the audience into two halves, School Disco and Wedding Party. Have appropriately themed dancers in each section - schoolkids, teachers, dinner ladies in School Disco, Nans, Bridesmaids, Best Men and Your Dads (who must have a dance off!) in Wedding Party. I favour a 70s/80s look for them myself, but that could be a generational thing. This means all the athletes fall in one part or another and the musicians can gee them up appropriately, and get each half of the crowd singing at different points. If two parts is not enough, I'd suggest quartering the crowd and adding Muddy Festival and Village Fete, with 90s ravers and 60s vicars as appropriate.

2: The Playlist
Over the past 50 years there have been lots of songs with sporting or O-word-friendly themes - Keep On Running, I Am Sailing, We Are the Champions, Jumping Jack Flash, Gold and so on. Lets include lots of those, but have them played by current bands.

Which leads me onto the other cunning part of the closing ceremony preparations: the focus group. Before any song is definitely included, get together a focus group of at least 100 people, show them (individually) the name of each song in turn and ask them to sing a bit of it. At least 50% of the focus group have to be able to sing or hum part of the song for it to be considered properly. Sod being new and exciting, this should have been the biggest party in the world, something that sent people away going, "That was the most fun I have ever had!" and made people watching think, "DAMN! How do I get to London?", not "What the hell was George Michael singing and why did they include it?" And that means songs people can sing along to. It's not rocket science.

Rio, I'm waiting for the call...


  1. You are SOOOOOO right about needing to be able to sing along. That was exactly my comment to Jim as we watched last night.

    All of that said, I actually did enjoy the closing ceremony. It was how I expected the opening to be - it's just that we were so spoilt with an awesome opening. Thanks Danny Boyle!


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