The “what” in “what’s new”

Except for the torch malfunction at the end, an awful version of the national anthem sung by an annoying tween, some really bad Vancouver French and whatever the hell Nelly Furtado and Brian Adams sang, the Olympic opening ceremonies were pretty damn good.

There were a few of us tweeting away – as Melle pointed out – the newest version of our frantic BlackBerry texting in ’02 (and for most of Buffy, but that’s another story).

I’ll try to reconstruct my impressions as the ceremonies unfolded from the tweets:

“sugared peaks”? I miss the CBC already. Yeah. Even if Donald Sutherland is narrating. Though looking back on it now, maybe they really weren’t referring to the mountains in the distance…

Mounties! You’re in Canada now… but sadly, they are not on horses. The sadness due primarily to the fact that of what a horse can do for you (Ed. note: this commercial is from the Superbowl and not the Olympics but it is very important).

Crap, the “I Believe” chick is singing the anthem. Badly. The national anthem is not a tween pop song, people. And she has awkwardly long arms that were very distracting. This was really bad.

Somewhere around here we were welcomed by four different First Nations peoples, which was lovely and all, but then they raised up these totems with their arms stretched out like Fright Night mummies or something. And then began the parade of athletes…

Austria’s in suits. What’s up with that? They need some kind of wool product. There seemed to be two camps on the athlete costume front: winter cool or formal chic – Italy has some wonderful tailored coats, and Bahamas went for their full formal wear – including the shorts.

Kazakhstan rocks the head gear. Flying nun means exotic bling. I highly recommend that you stop and appreciate. Far more creative than the team baseball caps that many were wearing.

Native dancers now exhausted. Should collapse in heap around scary totems shortly. The big thing to explain here is that the dancers were dancing the entire time that the athletes were coming into the stadium. And there were other dancers who danced for the whole ceremony (mostly doing variations on the white man shuffle and the wedding sway) – that’s a pretty long dance, people.

Now I get all smiley and shit. Stupid national pride. When the Canadians were walking up the small ramp into the stadium, it was like a wall of red coming through the mist, and pretty fucking cool. Suits weren’t all that imaginative, but the plaid scarves were a nice touch. Clara Hughes was a good choice for flag bearer.

It’s a bear. They made a bear! (thank you, Spike)/okay. the whales are cool. In fact, much of the special effects were cool. Big LED bear and the whole audience had their LED lights as well. The whales were truly beautiful.

My first clap out loud. I need a scotch. and some spoons. Awesome. Hundreds of fiddlers dressed kind of goth-plaid cum bordello voyageur, with tappers and celtic dancers. They did a bit of a fiddle-off, then Ashley MacIsaac showed up and blew the roof off.

Spin around, ninja, spin around… Snowboarders and skiers suspended in the air twirling around the “mountain” (the jellyfish chandelier) put in my mind of the best literal video evar. Melle noticed the ninja-ness first, though. This part was okay.

Yeah, zed! Slam poet Shane Koyczan from Penticton gave us a little “I am Canadian” of his own – biggest cheers for “Please and thank you” (we’re so predictable”), but overall it was exuberant and a little cheeky and he rocked the Amish beard.

oon eekipp? Can’t tell if that’s Inuit or French :) While I appreciate that all of the officials tried to do their French bits, the Western guys really struggled. Then Jacques Rogge does his speech and it’s actually understandable in both official languages.

Canadian quotient reached! kd Lang does Leonard Cohen…/And, I should say, butch looking good in a men’s suit singing a song about getting tied up in the kitchen. Booyah. Far and away the best performance of the night. I think everyone agrees this rendition of Hallelujah was even better than the one she did at the Junos. And no, we don’t give a shit if it had anything to do with athletes or doing your best, it was powerful.

Mom! The Olympic flag was carried out by Bobby Orr, Ann Murray (my Mom’s doppelganger), Jacques Villeneuve , Betty Fox, Donald Sutherland himself, Barbara Ann Scott, Romeo Dallaire, and Julie Payette – kind of like that they mixed up athletes with luminaries.

No swearing, Hayley. I did find it rather amusing that Hayley Wickenheiser read the athlete’s pledge. Totally believed her on the no drugs, but not so sure on the sportsmanship.

It’s a torch standoff. I think everyone was not at all shocked that the Great One got the torch. Rick Hansen was a natural as well. Steve Nash? A bit of a surprise but what the hell. How very Canadian to have all of them light the cauldron together, and everyone has heard of the cauldron malfunction by now. And yes, it looked like giant penii. Seeing Gretzky afterward, riding through downtown in a pickup was the kind of moment that every small town everywhere could get into.

And then it was pretty much done. hash is #van2010 if you want to contribute or catch up.