Saturday, 1 September 2012

Hawking with an umbrella or two ... Big Bang to Ian Drury’s Spasticus Autisticus ...

The one thing the British Olympics and now the Paralympics is doing ... is opening our eyes to life on earth – as it was, how it became and now as it is – we are humans, regardless of our physical appearance ...

Aerobatic Disabled Performers

Let’s rejoice in our humanness and our ability to achieve in the face of adversity ... let’s rejoice in our technological advances, particularly those in our lifetimes ... and of course – let’s accept and educate others in that acceptance of the wondrousness of being able to live with everyone ...

An opening sequence

I hope we will all go out and help others in some way or other ... add to our curriculum vitae by offering selflessly to others, who need that extra fillip ...

... that time we can give with a bubbly smile and laughing eyes, a conversation, a sit-down with them without expressing pressure of life and the need to get on with our own lives.

Newton's apples, the roladex of words, the
book maze
Crumbs – that Opening Ceremony ... swept the breadcrumbs to one side and showed what could be done by so many, with people working together ...  crumbs = what a show ... what a Paralympics Opening Ceremony ...

Stephen Hawking
Only in Britain could you combine umbrellas by the dozen with the Big Bang, the proponent of that theory – Stephen Hawking – words from Shakespeare, and via a synthesiser giving us Hawking’s pearls of wisdom:

We live in a universe governed by rational laws that we can discover and understand. 

Look up at the stars and not down at your feet.  Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist. 

Be curious.” 

Dame Tanni Grey Thompson
wheelchair flying

I’d add ... ‘be perceptive to others’ in all walks of life – open those windows onto an all inclusive world.’

The show was called Enlightenment ... and took us across 13.75 billion years in an hour and a half ...  starting with the Big Bang: an explosion of umbrellas and fireworks ...

... through dance, high wire, circus ‘tricks’ showing us science and discovery ... Shakespeare and the printing press (books and reading), Newton and his apples – that great period in European history when the intellectual revolution took place between 1550 and 1720.

High tech bending poles atop with disabled
performers - more umbrellas ....

The Daily Telegraph’s article entitled “A stirring journey to enlightenment” – is appropriately sub-titled “From the building blocks of science to the struggle for universal human rights, this ceremony grappled with the biggest of issues”.

The Paralympics coming home in London 2012 is an opportunity for the world to look again at what these incredible human beings can do in all forms of sport ...

David Toole, a dancer who was born without legs,
was part of the aerial ballet

... their humanness has stretched them on their road to success – from birth, from accident, from war zones, from attacks – they are still human ... brushing their hair has to go on, they have to get up and face the day ... overcoming obstacles, becoming motivated, having a will and a determination to succeed.

Named after the Graeae of
Greek Mythology ... the organisation
composed of artists and managers
with physical and sensory disabilities
Graeae Theatre Company

Human endeavour knows no boundaries and nor should we in our thoughts (words and deeds) – I can only watch in amazement ... and listen to the back stories that are being told ... and then just being incredulous at the hope these athletes will give others.

If – that magic word “IF” – if we can become humans in their likeness ... we will really change the world around us, and that ripple of hope will spread further than it’s ever done before.

Eleanor Roosevelt with the Spanish
version of the Universal Declaration
of Human Rights (1948)

Seb Coe’s words articulating the evening’s purpose ... “Sport is about what you can do, what you can achieve, the limits you can reach, the barriers you can break.

Sport shows what is possible.  Sport refuses to take no for an answer.  And everything sport stands for we are going to see right here, right now ... and during the Parlympics.”

So with a show sporting flying golden wheel chairs, circus skills from disabled performers (learnt from scratch), an aerial ballet, a dancer who was born without legs, deaf and disabled athletes performing circus feats, amputees performing gravity-defying acrobatics, deaf and blind performers, and more ...

Ian Drury's Spasticus Autisticus single

An Opening Ceremony showing grit and determination by performers pushing themselves beyond their limits ... leading to the paralympians showing us what they are capable of during the Games ... which will leave many of us breathless in admiration for their tireless pursuit of their dreams.

Let us embrace all our peoples and put into effect the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – enacted after the 2nd World War – that all human beings are inherently entitled to equal human rights.

The Paralympics Ceremony refused to allow the performers’ disabilities to restrict the breadth of its ambition in any way – artists with physical and sensory disabilities explored their boundaries ... while we the audience looked forward to what was ahead ...

Ian Drury - Wiki page ... including words of the 1981 Spasticus Autisticus 
2012 Summer Paralympics c/o Wikipedia
Daily Telegraph - an article on the Paralympics
The Guardian Paralympics Opening Ceremony article

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories


Joylene Nowell Butler said...

I couldn't see the blue moon last night, but I did spot it earlier and it was so full. And then gone. Makes me realize just how fast life is going by. I really need to focus on every moment. Thanks for another lovely post, Hilary. Your stories are so engaging.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

None of this has been televised here, but it sounds like it must have been absolutely inspiring. Just like your post. Wonderful.

Heather Murphy said...

This is a beautiful post Hilary. I wish they showed coverage for us here in the States

Deniz Bevan said...

So inspirational, Hilary. I didn't see much of the opening ceremony as I was out that day, but you've done a great job of conveying the emotion and wonder of it all.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Joylene - the moon is brilliant at the moment - very full .. and life does rush past. Disability could and should make us sit up and think ..

@ Susan - NBC have been criticised for not televising the Paralympics - they had more staff over in London than the BBC did for their coverage ... they're doing the minimum - seems crazy, when the Games are in London and will showcase paralympians in ways never before seen ...

@ Heather - as I mentioned above .. NBC aren't reflected in a good light over this (ie the not televising more and giving it good coverage)

@ Deniz - it was a late late show! Glad you enjoyed this summary .. many thanks for your comment.

Cheers Joylene, Susan, Heather and Deniz ... Hilary

Inger said...

Thank you so much for this wonderful post. We didn't see any of it here, which is truly a great loss for the US. After reading this, I am again so upset and ashamed by the remarks of our pres. candidate, Mitt Romney, who seemed to think he was the only one who could put Olympic Games together.
My sister was disabled, she had a severe form of Down's syndrome and every time I see something wonderful being done that involves people with disabilities, I think of her and how lucky she was to be born in Sweden, not here in the US. And all these wonderful efforts by the people of Great Britain touch my heart. Great post, thanks.

Theresa Milstein said...

What an inspiring post!

I love the umbrellas--yes fitting for Britain and complements what was done in the Olympics.

Annalisa Crawford said...

I completely missed this opening ceremony, but I've heard some great things about it. And of course your picture-with-words made it come alive, as usual. Thank you.

Al said...

A fabulous reminder of common humanity!

Susan Scheid said...

I am beginning to think that, as of now, it's the paralympics, not the olympics, that give us the true meaning and purpose of the genesis of this athletic celebration. "Be curious," coming from Stephen Hawkings, certainly gives the strongest message of how to be.

Chuck said...

That looks like a opening ceremony to rival the Olympics for sure. I would have loved to have seen it.

I remember years ago listening to Ian Drury and The Blockheads, Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick...WOW!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Inger - unfortunately it's not receiving much tv broadcasting in the States ..

I think a few organisers should be in London - to see what's been going on .. and nobody's crowing about how good they are - it's a team.

Your sister had good care - such a challenging defect ... but they know so much more now ... despite that people are still mistreated and care can be woeful.

The tv coverage is helping get that understanding out there - and showing us what can be done ... most of us couldn't achieve that much.

@ Theresa - many thanks .. the brollies were a stroke of genius - and the show encompassed so many disabilities - that just highlighted how much any person can do if they put their mind to it.

@ Annalisa - glad the post gave you a flavour of the Ceremony ..

@ Al - yes: "common humanity" is a great phrase .. these athletes are showing us ..

@ Susan - good point .. it is difficult to separate the achievements .. so brilliant to be able to watch .... "Be Curious" is such a brilliant phrase isn't it ..

@ Chuck - I hope this ceremony will become available for us to see - as parts definitely need to be seen more than once, to take it all in.

That must have been amazing seeing Ian Drury in concert ...

Thanks Inger, Theresa, Annalisa, Al, Susan and Chuck - Happy Labour Day for those in the USA .. and have good weeks - Hilary

Marja said...

oh what a fantastic opening. We are very proud in NZ about Sophy Pascoe who already won two gold medals in swimming. She went to the same school as my kids and was already amazing back then. I must write something about her

Ellie Garratt said...

I agree with everything you've said - it is about being curious and pushing ourselves, and the paralympics has shown us we can achieve greatness despite obstacles in our path. Inspiring post!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Marja pleased for NZ about Sophie Pascoe - and what fun .. that Sophie went to the same school as your kids - that's great. These paralympians are certainly inspirational ...

@ Ellie .. the Paralympics are being quite incredible aren't they - it's wonderful to see everyone, regardless of impairment, out enjoying themselves so much ...

We can overcome ... so true -

Cheers Marja and Ellie .. have good weeks - Hilary

Elise Fallson said...

What a wonderful post. Would have loved to have seen the ceremonies... what little I saw of the Paralympic games was inspiring.

Juliet said...

Inspiring post Hilary, thank you.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Elise - many thanks .. the Paralympic Games are being so successful it is just wonderful to watch from a distance - and there are so many stories to take from the events, the back up support, volunteers etc ..

@ Juliet - delighted you enjoyed it ...

Cheers to you both - Hilary