You might find this hard to believe but we’re not actually going to bore you with another moan-fest about the Games, or even the Opening Ceremony.
We’ve whined as much as anyone but after much thought about the cultural, political and social significance of last night’s proceedings, the general consensus is that it was what is was, with more than a hint of – what the fuck were you expecting? I have never watched an Opening Ceremony for anything (World Cup, Olympics, Eurovision) and not come away wondering what was going on and last night wasn’t much different.
On every level, it took the utter fucking piss. Chastise or celebrate that as you see fit but given how much we love trolling, we couldn’t help noticing how intent everyone seemed on bamming each other up about the whole thing. It certainly had a “Glasgow flavour” but that was largely because we all wanted to be really fucking rude to each other in a way no-one else would understand. So for all the outlanders and the uninitiated, we present our guide to 5 bam ups which made the Opening Ceremony worth its weight in troll gold.
1. The Kiss
If there’s one thing we’re all agreed on, it’s that the Ceremony was pretty gay. Karen Dunbar was first to take the mic at Celtic Park, closely followed by John Barrowman (doing his best trolling mock jock accent of course, the one he’s previously only ever put on for making unionist propaganda videos). The campery reached its conclusion when Barrowman kissed a dancer, a MALE dancer. We’d have loved to be given UNICEF’s spot, to deliver a 15 minute lecture on the need for radical queer intersectionalism to defeat the imperialist legacy of the Games…but we’ll settle for a quick snog. Of the billion people watching last night, around 90% did so in nations where homosexuality is a criminal offence. We’ve talked about how complex all this is before but even if it was just a token gesture, it was a good one.
We haven’t completely abandoned our principles and would, of course, only kiss hot gays who vote Yes.
2. Hail Hail The Red White & Blue!
As God Save the Queen was sung at Parkheid and the red arrows flew overhead blazing red, white & blue trails, I stepped outside just to double check whether the Louden Tavern was suddenly adorned in tricolors and half expected to come back to find myself walking on the ceiling. There aren’t words for how dubious this was, as the East End got a once-in-no-more-than-a-fortnight-at-this-time-of-year opportunity to see a bunch of people trolling us with their fleggery. Turns out, our new Defence Secretary had stepped in to declare that the host nation wasn’t allowed to make use of our shared military resources unless it was for the glorification of the defence of the union. So no politics at the Games then, glad we got that sorted.
3. Freedom Come All Ye…but not yet
An undoubted highlight for me was the performance of Hamish Henderson’s “Freedom Come All Ye.” I’m not generally a fan of songs old communist men always rabbit on about, finding they rarely hold their own in a world where some music is not shit, but this was exceptional. The song itself is an ode to the history of ordinary Scots who have both been oppressed by their masters and become active participants in colonialism. It’s also a call for change, for Scotland to escape the empire, for our masters to be overthrown and to stand proud and free in the world, with our brothers and sisters across the globe. It was performed by Pumeza Matshikiza, who was born in the Nyanga Township in Cape Town which is referred to in the song. The reason for the song’s inclusion was to celebrate the fact that the people of Glasgow were the first to give Nelson Mandela the key to our city, while we was still in jail, in defiance of the British state so keen to preserve the fragments of imperial power they still clung on to. It was a moving, timely and powerful performance, grown man crying powerful. But I’m not sure why a song about the role Scots should play in smashing the British Empire, facing up to our militaristic past and leading the workers to a glorious new future was being performed at the
Empire Commonwealth Games. Top trolling though.
4. The Twat Cone Troller
So we rip on Gordo a lot but I must say I was thinking about the wee guy yesterday, getting hyped for his big moment on the global stage. Maybe his mic wasn’t working, maybe it was working so well he couldn’t hear himself or maybe, just maybe, he delivered a fervourous performance worthy of the tinpot dictator he is in his own mind. Drunk on temporary power, it was like watching a figure from history declaring war on their ideologically wayward neighbour, as Matheson furiously bellowed his demands for welcome and enjoyment at the terror-stricken audience.
Everyone clapped extra loudly, incase the G4S guards tazered them for looking insufficiently welcome and not long after, we were treated to a montage in honour of the Cone. Which, erm, Gordon Matheson and Chums at Glasgow City Council tried to get rid of before embarrassing backing down within about a day (much like they did over the most openly thuggish aspect of the Ceremony itself). People Make Glasgow, and our leader’s just trolled us with our own Cone.
5. A Monstrous omission
We’ve spent the past year speculating as to what role mutant plant monster mascot Clydezilla would play last night. Would he meet the Queen? Would be demand the sacrifice of social housing as part of the festivities? Would he sail into Celtic Park from above or rise up from his monstrous lair below? Would more facilities for disabled young people be forced to close to make way for his many minions? But HE WASN’T EVEN THERE and #Clydestrail has gone cold. We feel like we’ve been trolled and we want our monster back.
With the eyes of the world upon us, we sat giving each other the fingers, knowing no-one else would even notice. The various performers and the organisers did their level best to incite misery and the punters lapped it up because that’s exactly what we wanted out of it. Thankfully, our humour is so insular, none of this was really picked up on, so the media printed a bunch of utter pish about teacakes capturing the essential spirit of Scottishness and how friendly everyone in Glasgow was. Which is probably for the best because we might have chibbed them for daring to confess they had no fucking idea what just happened…