Wednesday 9 November 2011

Olympic dreaming

I can't remember the last time that I was as nervous as I was yesterday.

No it wasn't that I was concerned that Berlusconi might decide not to go. No it wasn't that I was concerned that Israel may launch pre-emptive strikes on the Iranians. No it wasn't even that I was worried that Theresa May has allowed hundreds of extremists in to the country because she's worried about people having to queue for too long. I like the gag that's going round at the moment: "Knock, knock" Theresa May "Come in"

No it was far more important than that.

It took me until my thirties before I stopped having stress dreams about exams. It seems I'm not alone...many friends say that it was similar for them. So I hope my experience yesterday will not lead to another decade of restless nights, but it certainly brought back memories of queuing up outside the exam room before the next 'O' or 'A' Level or degree exam.

I mentioned before, though I can't remember when, that I'd got an audition to participate in the Opening Ceremony for the Olympics. It was done in a moment of enthusiasm without really thinking it through. Yesterday, the day rolled round so I schlepped off to Three Mills where the auditions are being held. Although I cycle past there every time I come into work, on this occasion I decided to go by tube, managing to arrive three-quarters of an hour early. Amidst the decay and mess that is Bow, it stands out on the riverside as a beacon of beauty. A large complex of studios based around old warehouses where some of our favourite TV programmes and films have been made. I was not alone, and soon we were all in, registered and measured for any costume we might need. There were 200 of us, and in total, twelve and a half thousand are being auditioned. That's a lot of people ranging from 18 to 70ish, and from rank amateur Daddy dancers to professionals who presumably would like ti on their CV.

We've been sworn to secrecy about what went on...but it's the first time I've participated in any mass choreography. It may well be my last. It was a phenomenal amount of fun. But it must be said that although I regard myself as quite fit, within a few minutes I was huffing and puffing, read in the face with sweat pouring down my forehead. I guess having a heavy cold and cough didn't help things. Clearly the professionals did their thing and did it very well....they obviously had techniques for creating 'stand out' whilst the rest of us tried to even vaguely remember what we were supposed to be doing. My favourite person by a mile was an Indian man who came along in suit and tie whilst the rest of us wore baggy sports wear. Inspite of being encouraged to take it off, it remained on him for the entire three hours. So too did his thick square moustache and the biggest grin I've ever seen. I really, really would like to see him succeed...he was obviously loving it. The organisers were amazingly friendly and was a lovely thing to get to do with them.

As for me, I managed some parts OK, did other parts disastrously so have no expectations of getting through. Co-ordination was never my strong point, and that was amply demonstrated throughout the evening. And it obviously hyped me up as last night was particularly restless. I'd really love to get the chance to participate in the Olympics, but I'm not holding my breath. But it was a great experience, and I can now say I tried. And I shall be back to my Dad dancing at birthdays and weddings.