Saturday, February 11, 2006

Winter Olympics apathy

Who watched the opening ceremony of the Turin Winter Olympics last night? I did, up until about Croatia when I switched over to watch 'les 4400'. Watching a whole load of sports-people file past until we got to the UK was somehow less alluring than watching my favourite series.

The opening ceremony was quite strange, but they often are, aren't they? We were told, for example that some dancers dressed in red writhing around represented 'Passion'. Apart from the red bit, it was all a bit subjective but that's one of the problems of art. There was quite a nifty circle in the middle of the arena which looked like it had stretchy plastic strips across from one side to the other under which other dancers were located wiggling sticks or their legs up through the strips. It was quite effective from 50' up but I'm not sure what the spectators on the ground made of it. Hopefully there was a mega screen or two where they could watch the best bits. Mind you, having paid 850€ each for tickets they might expect to get the best views from their ringside seats instead of having to watch the proceedings on giant tele screens in the cold.

My favourite part was where around 400 people dressed in poncho-type capes of various colours formed a skier, and from above, you could see that as they moved, so did the representation of the skier. It was quite fabulous, all those people moving to make him walk, ski and then jump. One could appreciate the organisation and teamwork in getting it to work. I wonder how many times it all fell to pieces in practice.

So, quite a spectacle but it was rather obvious to me the difficulties of creating a show that could be appreciated by both the people in the audience and those watching on tele.

According to 'Nous ne sommes pas les anges' the Canal+ lunchtime show, the French are more than apathetic about the winter Olympics to the point that the journalist was asking if they should be scrapped (from normal tele, presumably). Only 10% of the population go skiing and it seems that the rest don't care about skiing themselves or watching anyone else do it. There is such a lack of interest that the panel were scrabbling around trying to think of champion skiers, apart from Killy.

Seeing as the French have a whole 2 weeks in February solely to provide the maximum clientele for the ski resorts, with school holidays staggered to provide a season of 6 weeks of potential school-related clientele, it is rather surprising to hear that more interest is not taken in competitions.

I suppose one can only explain this by falling back on the adage, 'the French are a funny bunch'.

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