I last left off with my departure from London, but my saga continued briefly when I returned in August and got to visit Dagenham one last time. :) It was such a trip being back there. I got to break out the ol' high vis vest and workforce ID and everything was the same... until I got there and walked into the workforce volunteer break area and found it full of costumes. Uhhh. So, things were slightly different. Only one field of play was in use, and there were all these giant metal props everywhere -- remember the London skyline?
Well, this is what we had at Dagenham:
While this was all going on, there was some buzz about the talent on site that day. The dress rehearsal was for the first half of the ceremony, so (in theory) all of the singers featured would have to rehearse. I caught a brief glimpse of OneDirection and the Spice Girls while I was in the tent! They were far away, though, and not singing. But it was still really exciting! I'm not sure why the Spice Girls were there, though. They performed in the second half. Hmmmm.
|The Spice Girls. This is actually basically what I saw of them! :)|
|Photo from blog.sallymckay.co.uk|
After some time spent in the circus tent, we took the kids outside to wait by their vom (entrance onto the field of play, not vomit). I didn't really have anything to do anymore, so I got to just hang out here and watch rehearsal. I saw everything from the beginning until the Running Up That Hill/Here Comes the Sun bit in honor of the new IOC members and the volunteers... but of course NBC decided to cut this out of their broadcast. I have no words for my anger. So, in terms of American TV, the last part I saw was the giant John Lennon head.
While OneDirection had left by the time rehearsals started, I DID get to see some singers actually perform! I saw Emeli Sande, Madness, and I think Pet Shop Boys (I'd never heard of them before so I'm not sure if they were actually there, but someone was singing West End Girls, so...). Madness actually walked pretty close to me, and I actually know Our House, so that was exciting. :) If you recall, the beginning of the ceremony was a street party with trucks full of people wearing different colors -- I was watching from near the blue trucks, diagonally to the right of the front of the stage.
There was a break between rehearsals, and this was when I stumbled across Helen, a fellow volunteer, and got some AMAZING stories about the summer. Oh my gosh. Okay, get ready for all of this. The opening ceremony rehearsed at Olympic Stadium for weeks and months, so she said that going to the stadium became just a normal part of life. Excuse me while I choke on my jealousy and the sheer epicness of that statement. And, as huge as the stadium looked on TV, she said it actually felt more intimate than Dagenham. Go figure!
I asked her about what her duties were and when she told me, I had to pick my jaw up off the floor. All the royals and dignitaries and such have their own special box in the stadium, right? Somehow Helen was one of the stand-ins for them during rehearsals. So she casually got to sit in the Queen's box. And she ALSO was a stand-in for one of the Olympic flagbearers. You know, the really important British figures that got to carry the big Olympic flag into the stadium? Yeah, she was one of them.
I actually can't. But, as jealous as I was (and still am, because holy crap), I really really like Helen and was so glad that she got to do such awesome things. She was so excited about it when she was telling me, and she's one of the people that cried when she saw the Pandemonium pre-vis video for the first time, so I'm glad someone who cares that much got such a cool honor as to be the freaking QUEEN OF ENGLAND.
We watched rehearsal again after that -- Madness had left, but Emeli Sande performed again. I watched from near the yellow/orange trucks. It rained for like five minutes, just to give me the full Dagenham experience again before I left. ;P I don't think I have any new stories from this rehearsal, but here are some pictures of the bit NBC cut out.
I liked this dance and I saw these guys rehearse once or twice, so I was doubly upset that it wasn't shown! Oh, and I was also a volunteer, so I was actually triply upset. Boo.
Despite NBC's suckiness (yeah, I said it), I loved watching the ceremony on TV. I had half of it to know what was coming and half of it to have little to no idea what was coming and when. The only parts I knew about in the second half were the Spice Girls and Annie Lennox. The Annie Lennox performance was actually what I was looking forward to the most. I was at that group's first rehearsal when they announced that they'd be performing with Annie Lennox singing live (so I've known that secret for ages!) and were paired into their partnerships & started learning the dance. And, poetically, they were the final rehearsal I got to see (and the final group whose bibs I got to collect) before I left London. Watching them perform in the ceremony was like watching my children all grown up. :) I'm also completely obsessed with that song and listen to it multiple times a day, but sshhhhh.
And that's it, for real. Wow. I have no more Olympics secrets. I feel so uninteresting.
Sochi 2014, anyone?