This site now acts as an archive only. For the latest news, opinion, blogs and listings on disability arts and culture visit disabilityarts.online.

Disability Arts Online

Episode 4 - This week we hear from Gramps who watches the Olympic opening ceremony with the family / 29 July 2012

A frame from Crippen's O'Crypes strip cartoon - Episode 4

A frame from Crippen's O'Crypes strip cartoon - Episode 4

Zoom in to this image and read text description

Some things never change. 

I can still remember when the Olympics were staged here last.  In the midst of Austerity Britain 1948.  Now what have we got?  Austerity Britain 2012.

It didn't look like that on Friday night though.

I started cringing when the Opening Ceremony kicked off.  Elgar, Jerusalem, maypoles, farm animals, plump rural peasants - it looked like a Country Fair from a bygone age.

I was all for switching the telly off then and there.

But then it started getting a bit more realistic - the countryside was destroyed by the top-hatted capitalists  of the Industrial Revolution and all hell broke loose.

Nabs is right. He says there was nothing about slavery, about the British Empire, about the legacy of divide and rule the British left in Ireland, India, the Middle East.

But he did say he was glad to see that the “welcome” given to immigrants in the 1950s and 1960s is all a thing of the past.

No Blacks, No Irish, No Dogs - you couldn't get away with that today.

Brad went off on one.  He reckons these days it’s still No Crips, No Benefit Claimants, No Dogs on a String.

And what about our beloved NHS?  There we were in 1948 proudly witnessing the birth of it - and here we are now in 2012 fighting to stop it being destroyed. 

I said that was the message in that bit of the ceremony on Friday night.  Mum just wondered how all those doctors and nurses had enough time off to learn to dance like that and decided that was probably why her hernia operation has been cancelled twice.

Brad said the songs were genius!  His take was that Danny Boyle had deliberately made a two fingered salute to Cameron and his Coalition cronies.

I don’t know about all those modern songs - couldn’t understand half the lyrics - but I did like the bit where Simon Rattle and his orchestra  took a back seat to Mr Bean

Nabs loved seeing the ethnic diversity of it all and cheered with the audience when the gay couple kissed on the big screen. 

Jood says she wants to join that Deaf/Hearing People integrated choir.

By then it had all got out of hand in our front room, not least because Nan said that if the Queen could go parachuting at her age, then she jolly well could too.

Then Brad wound Jood up by telling her that the cost of two dozen of those fireworks at the end would have paid her Incapacity Benefit for six months.

Me and Nan thought, in the end, that at least the ceremony wasn’t all about the toffs, the bankers, the hackers, the tax dodgers, the expense fiddlers, the bent coppers and the corporate crooks. 

No, maybe it was about the likes of us, the O'Crypes of the world, who dug the coal, nursed the sick, gave shelter to the persecuted, raised the next generation, and always put others before ourselves. 

And if it did get  up the noses of that horrible Tory MP and some other members of the Establishment perhaps it wasn’t money wasted.

Maybe it is OUR Olympics after all. Just like it was in 1948.

To see Crippen's fourth O'Crypes cartoon episode go to DAOs Galleries section

Keywords: 2012 olympics,atos,benefit cuts,cartoons,crippen,cultural olympiad,disabled women,gay and lesbian issues,learning difficulties,nhs changes,opening ceremony of olympics,paralympics,politics,relating to wheelchairs,tweeting,wheelchair users,young disabled people

Comments

/
3 August 2012

I watched it last night on iplayer and thought it very odd, but visually quite cool at the same time. I mean it wasn't totally cheesy Disney-style although the white middle class aspect ran through the first half of it very noticeably! But it was the politics and messages were a bit off key throughout. I too thought the military parts were bizarre - all the war references must have been quite offensive when watched by other countries (as well as by many people here). I thought it strange to celebrate the industrial revolution; the tearing apart of rural Britain, livelihoods and the forcing of families towards cities that couldn't sustain them. Are we really so progressed now as a result?

And what about the celebration of the suffragettes - that was really weird. I don't mean celebrating their triumph over adversity, but how strange for a nation to be marking the overcoming of centuries of their own oppression of women. What were we raising awareness of there? Our ability to overcome when really pushed, or were we highlighting how shitty we've been to women for most of our history and how far we pushed those women to take extreme measures to try for equal opportunity? Boy we should be really proud of ourselves!

But I did think there was a typical grittiness and tongue in cheekness akin to Danny Boyle that made me feel it was done far more interestingly than if it had been in anyone else's hands. And I do think there were a few points where he effectively stuck two fingers up to the establishment too - was that just a celebration of the NHS or was it a reminder of how dear and essential it is to us at a time when it is still at risk of being dismantled? However you look at it, it was quite a spectacle!

Lynn

/
30 July 2012

Very pertinent discussion amongst the O'Crypes family.. like them I wasn't even going to watch the ceremony but I'm glad I did and I agree with Brad and think at least it may have raised awareness around the world of this curiously British jewel - universal healthcare. I'm surprised NBC didn't cut this bit out of its broadcast along with the tribute to those who lost their lives in the London bombings, days after London was awarded the Olympics. Apparently, the reason for this was that it wasn't tailored for a US audience.. As I say, surprised they didn't cut the NHS tribute as well.

Crippen

/
29 July 2012

Patience Travis! It's now in the capable hands of Editor Colin who should be posting it onto the Gallery site tomorrow. We'll add a link when it's up OK?! ;-)

Travis

/
29 July 2012

were's Crippen's episode 4 strip cartoon then?

Meryl

/
29 July 2012

This bloody family have got to me. I'm now looking forward to each Monday when the next episode comes out ... is there a cure?

Dave Lupton

/
29 July 2012

And what was that all about when the bloody military took the olympic flag away from the group led by Doreen? Why does this country always have to push the military angle at events like this?

Arty Farty

/
29 July 2012

Brilliant!

Merry Cross

/
29 July 2012

Whilst I agree with lots of this, I must have been watching with different specs on, because I also saw so much about how we have triumphed over others, both in references to the war and previous Olympics. I thought that was offensive, frankly, given the audience from all over the world. But I'm glad to pick up on the perspective of using the NHS bit to annoy the government - it just felt to me like it was ...and this'll be bought by the toffs too!

I did like the deaf and hearing choir, 'tho we saw very little of them, but the thin that moved me most was Doreen Lawrence carrying the Olympic flag. Sorry, not really a comment so much as wanting to discuss those perceptions.

Add a comment

Please leave your comments. They will display when submitted. DAO encourages critical feedback, but please be considerate. DAO reserves the right to edit or remove comments that don't comply with our editorial policy, which you can find on DAOs 'About' pages.

Your e-mail address will not be revealed to the public.
HTML is forbidden, but line-breaks will be retained.
This can be a URL of an image or a YouTube, MySpaceTV or a Flickr page (we'll handle the media embedding from there!)
This is to prevent automatic submissions.