Rumor: Olympic opening ceremony to have Mary Poppins fighting Voldemort

Caity Weaver on the plans for London's Olympic opening ceremony:

Before 40-foot-Voldemort appears, "about 100" children will be wheeled out on hospital beds to perform "a choreographed 'bed dance,'" which sounds quite sexy but probably is not. To these one hundredish beds will be added a dozen more "giant" ones, on which will dance/frolic/be such beloved storybook characters as The One Hundred and One Dalmatians' dog-skinning villain Cruella de Vil. Then and only then will 40-foot-Voldemort himself arrive, rising up from yet another giant bed in the middle of the stadium. To recap: All the action to this point has taken place in some sort of bed.

What annoys me out about these games isn't the militarized security or crazy brand-protection laws, which were predictable. It's the pervasive amateurism of the creative work. From the "Blowjob Lisa" logo to the "Amiga-era 3D Modeling Tutorial" mascots to the "Duct tape lettering on dollar store window" typeface, we now progress--allegedly!--to a battle of the brands fought under exclusive license from Warner Bros. and Disney.

Inane surrealism is what you get when there is no heart, no vision, and no story to tell.

Update: Never mind! It was mostly cool.


  1. This seems to be a rumour spun out of nothing.  There may be much to ridicule on Friday, but there is not a scintilla of actual evidence that any of this will be part of it.

      1. whelp, you can unforthwith your allegedly, since the voldemort part is true.     i saw him being put together…

    1. In which case, instead of despairing at the story itself, we can despair at its plausibility.

  2. Sounds like someone read the last issue of Alan Moore’s “League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” and got confused.
    In the comic *SPOILER* Mary Poppins fights the Anti-Christ, Harry Potter.

    1. Same. My hope is that this means the entire Danny Boyle thing was a smoke screen, and it’s actually all been designed by Alan Moore.

      “And now, the centre of the arena opens up, revealing the charnel pit. If you look to the right of your screen, you’ll see the old gods of England starting to herd the representative athletes towards the pit. There’s a lot of symbolism involved here, isn’t there Jeremy?”

  3. I hear where Mr Beschizza is coming from. One would hope that in spite of the militarization and underlying commercialization that some spirit of authentic creativity and feeling could manage to show itself in the presentation of the games. Instead, we’ll most likely get rehashed media shit that was of dubious value the first time it was thrust upon us. Baudrillard comes to mind in such repetitious displays of pop culture.

    1. The childishness of it is what gets me. It is as if they are trying to imitate kawaii, but without understanding it and then trying to justify it as symbolism. This applies to both the recent Olympics and the FIFA World Cups.

      Oh, and just to be clear, kawaii has a soul. This crap does not.

  4. “about 100″ children will be wheeled out on hospital beds to perform “a choreographed ‘bed dance,'”
    Wait, what??? Huh??? Oh… oh, I get it, it was a joke! Ahhahhhahhhahhh… I thought you were serious. Ahhahhah, it was a joke, right? Right????

  5. The only reasons the Milatary are doing the security, is the private company hired for the job f**ked up big time, and the Govt had to step in with 2 weeks to go. 

    1. Not entirely fair – the security services decided that they would up the threat level considerably after G4S won the contract, and demanded considerably more staff.  Not that I’m a G4S apologist or anything – they should have walked away when they realised that it couldn’t be done – but it’s not wholly their fault they f**ked up big time…

    2. G4S contracted for 10,000 meat pylons, not security. The people who will search your bag, pat you down, direct you to the washroom or the nearest McDouchalds.

      Actual security was always  to be military. But now the military must also supply 3500 meat pylons as well.

  6. All the action to this point has taken place in some sort of bed.

    So this is actually a tribute to what goes on in the athlete’s village? Sly Brits.

  7. let’see…. “iamlordvoldemort”, nuts, ‘olympics’ ain’t in there (lacking y,p,c,s)  “i am spicy lord voldemort”..? nah..nuts.  ah well, it’s all and entirely about the celebration of young athletes  anyway, ain’t it?

  8. Ouch, this story should be wrapped in massive spoiler tags.  As a side, is it just me or do Rob’s posts, more often than not,  have an anti-british feel to them. Justifying expat? 

    1. I’m unclear how critiquing the UK Olympics pandering to Hollywood, the IOC and corporate sponsors in general is anti-British.

      1. It’s not hollywood… these are british icons popularized by hollywood.

        Voldemort, written by brit J.K. Rowling
        Mary Poppins, set in London
        101 Dalmations, written by brit Dodie Smith
        Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carol, english.
        Cptn Hook – went to Eton; scottish author J.M. Barrie

    2. “He is a lover of his country who rebukes and does not excuse its sins.” – Frederick Douglass

    3.  I don’t think it’s an ex-pat thing, Rob doesn’t even have to put up with the knowledge that it’s his taxes paying for this :(

      Mind you, the dig at the Amiga was a bit unjustified.

  9. I dunno… I kinda like the liquid metal mascots with London Taxi eyes. I just have a natural affinity for cyclops-types. But you’re right about the almost criminally amateurish (considering the prices paid) aesthetic of the rest of it.

  10. Wenlock and Mandeville???  What?  Cousins of Izzy  (96ATL) or Springy (Simpsons)??  As for the official font, why not Comic Sans? Lame, lame, LAME.  I can’t be the only one who won’t be listening to any news (even BBC headlines) come Olympics time.  Please Boing Boing, save us.  No Olympics coverage please- even if there’s massive kettling by jack booted security thugs attacking London cabbies upset over the stupid lane closures. Yes, a real possibility.  Save us from the bloated Olympics whores.

  11. I saw the rehearsals, It was all rather lovely and Python-esque.
    It looks a lot more like a “Danny Boyle – Director of Trainspotting” production, than the “Simon Cowell – bringer of the cultural void” you might be fearing.
    I’m refusing to be cynical about this  :)

  12. Can we please start a cold war with China?  Because, really- The Olympics kind of suck without that Rocky IV gotta beat the russkies vibe.

    1. speaking of darth vader, why wasn’t he invited? surely he has just as much right to be involved as the other two, and he has a light saber; they have magic, he has the force. it makes more sense this way.

      1. speaking of darth vader, why wasn’t he invited?

        George Lucas: Hey, even I have to draw a line somewhere

  13. I’ve heard there’s also monkey tennis, arm wrestling with Chas & Dave (a famous London band) and inner-city Sumo. 

    Chris Eubank (a former boxer) might feature promoting the popularity of youth hostelling in the UK, as long as they don’t overrun.

  14. “about 100″ children will be wheeled out on hospital beds to perform “a  choreographed ‘bed dance,'” which sounds quite sexy but probably is not

    Caity Weaver sounds like quite a paedo, but probably is not.

    1. MATT SMITH is the one they chose. Not David. Although many think he should do it, Matt is the current Doctor.

  15. I don’t think it’s reasonable to make a critical comment based only on a description of events. You wouldn’t review a movie from a synopsis would you?
    Logo, typeface – they’re fair game.
    But wait until you’ve seen the opening before you judge it. I have seen it, I’m working on it, and I can tell you that is *only* heart, story and vision. The creative director (Danny Boyle) is not someone who has an agenda or would take anyone else’s (commercial or otherwise). Whether you like it when you see it is your choice of course, but don’t dismiss the months of work done by thousands of dedicated people based on the 2nd hand report of a newspaper article…

  16. Not to mention all the shitty steel tubing they used for the stadium and that red tower atrocity. Tubing, miles of bloody tubing to frame the sheer emptiness of the whole Olympic movement.

  17. i witnessed the same thing as a college kid in atlanta.   my naive visions that with that many people coming from around the world to celebrate something good, there would be some real cultural moments.   instead, we got bullsht schlock.  imagine my depression.  just imagine it.  i used to blame it on US of america, or at least the south.  but now i see it’s the olympics themselves.  …or at least the current corporate version of it.

  18. “Olympic opening ceremony to have Mary Poppins fighting Voldemort”

    Who, besides me, is rooting for Voldemort in this matchup?

  19. I’m entirely with Tim van Someren. I’m one of the thousands of volunteers who has spent the last three months rehearsing an opening ceremony that we’re all really proud of – and really love. Danny Boyle has been an amazing, indefatigable visionary – keeping our spirits up through rehearsals in all the rain that Britain’s summer has thrown at us. I can’t wait until tomorrow evening, to show the world what we’ve been working on!

  20. Coming back to this, having seen it, I’d love to know what people thought. I loved it, but I wonder how much made sense if you weren’t a brit.. 

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