I MISSED the live event – even though I could have watched it here, on hi-def TV – because I figured it would be BORING. But then I read about the whole bonkers thing and began to regret my decision.
And so I went over to YouTube – and discovered the event had been uploaded in hi-def by an outfit called, with elegant simplicity – “olympic”.
At which point, it all started getting rather silly.
The first problem was the volume. Any seasoned YouTube uploader knows you have to BOOST your volume by around 50%, or few will be able to HEAR anything (if YouTube corrected this cock-up NOW, all the material there would DISTORT).
But the clowns responsible for the Olympic uploads were obviously NOT seasoned (they should have called in Vevo).
However, worse was to come. While the pictures were pin-sharp hi-def, the refresh rate was RUBBISH. The result was that the whole ran at between around four frames per second to around twelve. It was not even CONSISTENT.
First one tried the usual solution. Freeze the picture and wait for the progress bar to… progress.
But it did not. Even a little bit.
Okay – download the whole thing and watch it on one’s own player.
Except it would NOT download.
At this point, it began to dawn on one WHY. One can only assume “olympic” had SABOTAGED their uploads – to stop anyone copying the footage and either selling it, ahead of the official DVDs, or if they were some little tin-pot TV service – re-transmitting it.
Great – but unfortunately, it was also stopping people from WATCHING the damn thing. Berks.
But the worst thing about this fiasco had nothing to do with the online transmission of the event – it was the damn COMMENTARY.
I had heard they had gone to some trouble trying to keep the whole thing SECRET. But they MUST have let the people directly involved with the televisation (it’s a word) know what would be happening – otherwise, the transmission would have been a FARCE. And since Danny Boyle’s £27M extravaganza went off largely without a hitch, they obviously DID.
But unfortunately, they appear to have FAILED to extend the courtesy to the twat who was charged with COMMENTATING on the event. And so he had to do a LIVE commentary – without apparently having a CLUE of what he was talking about.
Now I have seen first hand how difficult this can be. I recall a LIVE televised race meeting (Newmarket, I think) where a commentator was charged with finding something to say while a cup was being awarded. He opened with, “…And here’s the Duke of Pogworthy (or somewhere or other)… …and his lovely wife… (short pause) …at least I assume it’s his wife… (long pause) …well, she’s jolly nice anyway… …and she’s dressed in a very smart outfit… (as he had spoken, his voice had been getting quieter and quieter – but suddenly he brightened) …chartreuse, I’d call it… …sort of green… …well, jolly smart, anyway…
At this point, they finally cut to a young presenter (who had obviously been PISSING himself, listening to the old guy BURY himself deeper and deeper…) who said, cheerfully, “Well, that was [commentator’s name withheld – because I cannot remember it] doing his ‘I-don’t-want-my-contract-renewed-with-Anglia-Television’ number…” – then he carried on talking about the next race.
The clip – which actually went out LIVE – was thereafter consigned to outtakes (bloopers) shows.
And thus it was with the man chosen to commentate on one of the most important shows of the CENTURY – seen by a (short, American) BILLION people. He whittered on inanely, blethering away about stuff which anyone blessed with the power of sight could clearly SEE.
He had NO actual information of ANY kind. Eventually, already vexed by the DIRE quality of the visuals, I shouted at this computer’s screen, “Oh, for goodness sake shut the hell UP!! (Except of course I did not actually say “goodness” or “hell”).
But, no. On and on he babbled – until finally, the technicians began slowly turning the volume on his commentary track DOWN. Eventually, the old fool could barely be heard over the noise coming from the ceremony. A blessing for all concerned.
However, for me, the damage had already been done. I skipped through the four-hour event in less than a quarter of that time – pausing mainly just to see Bond vs QE2 and Bean vs Rattle.
They were fun – with everyone doing their best. But the APPALLING commentator (and “olympic”) had KILLED any enthusiasm I might have had for these vignettes.
Of course, now it has been and gone. Britain will not host the Olympics again in MY lifetime. And no other country would DARE put on as corny and occasionally hilarious an Opening Ceremony to such an event.
So THANKS, “olympic” – and the old fart whose droning drivel managed to eviscerate all of the fun from what SHOULD have been Danny Boyle’s finest hour.
If I was Danny, I would arrange to MEET that old goat – down a back alley, with a length of lead pipe in my hand…