“You’re most welcome... come on in.” With these words, spoken by Billy Connolly at the beginning of the opening ceremony, the tone for the Commonwealth Games was set. Scotland and Glasgow were inviting us all to pull up a chair, make ourselves comfy and enjoy the spectacle.
Don’t you just love opening ceremonies? Glasgow’s efforts, though on a much smaller scale than London 2012, tried to pack everything in that we’ve come to expect. John Barrowman crowd surfing on a bed of velvety heather alongside dancers dressed up as Tunnock’s teacakes (the cheese factor); Rod Stewart belting out a couple of classics (old rocker requirement); Susan Boyle fluffing her words and Prince Imran of Malaysia struggling with the baton (awkward moments).
We had choirs, opera, violins and adorable Scottish terriers. I loved the juxtaposition of silliness with seriousness: suddenly the teacakes scuttle off to be replaced by a beautiful ballet duet. I was laughing one minute and welling up the next. I’m a sucker for it all.
Of course, the Scotsman next to me was becoming all nostalgic watching scenes from his mother country. It only takes a few haunting notes on the pipes and he’s off. And there were plenty of pipers and Scottishness in this ceremony. Ooh look: oil rigs, whisky, Rabbie Burns, Irn Bru, Nessie, the Forth Road Bridge: he was in bits.
The march of the competitors round the stadium takes an eternity but is weirdly watchable. We played a game to find our favourite team uniform, this time with the added fun of spotting the tartan additions. Wasn’t at all keen on Scotland’s combo nor the nauseating colour of England’s trousers but rather liked the Isle of Man’s jaunty tartan trilby.
For a bunch of athletes, they aren’t exactly speedy round the track, are they? I could see the dancers behind visibly wilting as their little routines became more and more out of synch, willing the next team to stop messing about and get a move on. I really can’t fathom why so many competitors take their phones with them to photograph and video the crowd.
Why not enjoy being the focus of the world for those few precious moments then watch the ceremony later on YouTube? And who was that chap from Sri Lanka who missed the chance to smile to his folks back home by covering up his face with a bright red iPad case?
As I write this, the Commonwealth Games have just begun and, despite my lack of sporting ability, I am looking forward to watching from the sofa. I have a good feeling about these games. Glasgow really is a cheerful, welcoming city. We were there at Easter and, to a man and woman, the people were funny, warm and hospitable.
The world has been invited to come on in. I think the world will have a great time in Glasgow.
l You can follow Trish on Twitter @mumsgoneto and read her blog at www.mumsgoneto.blogspot.com