I can't feel I feel sorry for Danny Boyle, but I do feel distinctly queasy for him. As somebody who worked on the designs for the content of the Millennium Dome (with Tim Pyne at WORK) who witnessed at first hand the peculiar thinking and meddlesome nonsense of the political superstructure and it's grandiose incompetence, I could only wobble with a very disconcerting sense of deja vu
as I walked down the street mulling it over. The predominant theme resounding through my head was that they had forgotten the cardinal rule; keep it simple and keep your nerve.
They seem to have forgotten that a performance is just a performance, and have tried to turn it into architecture, and in this case something even worse, the landscape, the 'soil', itself. This is certainly something that smacks of conservative government with ideas straight out of the toy farmyard, and so laden with latent subtexts as to keep the semioticians hooting with laughter for generations.
Of course the olympic opening ceremony is propaganda, but you can do it in a cool way, such as the Los Angelenos did, on the cheap with a man in a jet pack in 1984 (and making architect Jon Jerde's name) or you can do old fashioned triumphalism, even digitally enhanced triumphalism, as in Bejing, if you really have to. But getting all Mrs Miniva with all this under the old oak tree nonsense, and SHEEP and COWS (they won't like it) and Glastonbury fucking Tor! it really is just too pitiful to imagine.
To keep it simple of course, you just put some bands on and get the locals to wave flags and smile.