I just spent the entire afternoon watching the opening ceremonies of the London games via live streaming (thank you, BBC1!). And judging from the tweets regarding NBC’s coverage, I’m glad I did. American commentators tend to yak to no end throughout these events, while the British hosts never did. The Brits would say a couple of things here and there but mostly allow the event to play out because, you know, they treat the viewing public like intelligent beings who can glean things from the performances and who can appreciate what they see without being bombarded with all kinds of useless crap.
And I didn’t have to sit through endless commercials or political ads. Seriously got lucky there.
The opening segment – I think it’s called “Babel” – which showed the history of Great Britain through the wars but largely focused on the Industrial Revolution was spectacular and remains my favorite portion of the event. It was so Dickensian (also made me think of Thomas Hardy’s elegiac novels about the death of rural England) that I couldn’t help but wax philosophical over all those novels I read that got me into historical fiction and pretty much continue to influence me today. Yeah, even with historical fantasy or even contemporary fiction.
It was like being reminded of those early, simpler times when my writing experience had yet to be clouded by all kinds of drama that’s inherent in publishing. To quote Bilbo Baggins, I’d like to see mountains again – though it also means writing for a teeny-tiny audience or writing stories that won’t attract much (if any) support from most bloggers in the market. This is an ongoing and prickly issue that’s been influential in my decision to limit my historical fantasy stories to just short fiction and not novels – less risk in terms of output and reader interest.
I’ll see if I can dig around for streams of the opening ceremony, so I can re-watch the “Babel” portion. Not sure if that’ll give me the same experience as when I first saw it, but I won’t be picky as long as it’s not going to be ruined by American commentators who won’t shut up.