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My moment of glory
Tuesday, 31 July 2012
On screen: Former arts editor Jonathan Lovett, far right, with fellow 'ramblers'
ONE-hundred-and-forty-one-hours spent rehearsing since the middle of May in
various locations including the dubious delights of Dagenham - but in the end it was worth every second.
Being a part of what will surely be the most spectacular event of our lifetime, the Olympics opening ceremony was one
of the proudest moments of my life.
It had started by reading a tiny newspaper article last autumn asking for volunteers for the opening and closing ceremonies of both the Olympics and the Paralympics.
Always having fancied myself as a bit of an actor - finally putting my money where my mouth was after criticising so many in my former job as arts editor of this
paper - I passed a couple of auditions and was placed in the Green and Pleasant Land section, right at the start of the main opening ceremony.
Danny Boyle explained to us that this was to be "a scene of pre-industrial life - a
quieter section before it all kicks off in the industrial sequence. In a way this lulls the audience into a false sense of security before the whistles and bangs start".
I was one of a dozen-strong group of
peasant ramblers who would, at various points, wander through this pleasant land and help set the scene of bucolic bliss before Sir Kenneth Branagh and those strange-looking men in top hats invaded our idyll and ripped it apart, branch by branch.
For weeks we mastered the art of collective group movement - synchronised map reading routines were our speciality
- plus individual cameos before we received the ultimate compliment from Danny Boyle one day: "Brilliant, ramblers!
You are so... surreal!"
My most surreal moment, however, was still to come.
It happened on the actual night when, just after 9pm, a billion people saw a fellow
rambler and I milking our moment for all it was worth and gawping like goldfish at the arrival of the industrial revolution.
A career in odd facial contortions now surely awaits.
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Sir Ray Tindle
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