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Highlights from the London 2012 closing show

2012-08-13 08:22

By (Agencies)


The closing ceremony of the London Olympic Games was awash with nods to Britain's vibrant worlds of art, music and fashion, heavy on references to the cultural explosion of the 1960s but also celebrating more modern celebrities.

Below are some highlights and facts from the show

- Newspaper wrappers adorning a transformed Olympic stadium at the closing ceremony displayed quotes from English literature, taking snippets from Chaucer, Milton and Shakespeare alongside more modern writers such as poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy. "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times," reads one quotation, from Charles Dickens' A Tale Of Two Cities.

- The distorted Union Jack floor, underpinning an opening set depicting modern London with its bustling traffic, Big Ben and the London Eye ferris wheel, was designed by cult artist Damien Hirst to reflect the dynamism of British art. Hirst is best known for dipping a dead shark in a tank of formaldehyde.

- The ceremony featured performances by a dizzying array of British pop acts including Ray Davies from The Kinks singing his 1967 hit "Waterloo Sunset", The Who, George Michael and up-and-coming boy band One Direction. One segment saw the Hackney Colliery Band - a group local to the east London stadium - accompanying Madness, who performed "Our House" on the back of a moving truck.

- Deceased pop singers received some of the ceremony's biggest cheers. Huge screens showed John Lennon singing "Imagine", with backing of choirs from his birthplace, the northern English city of Liverpool. A film of a yellow-coated Freddie Mercury took the audience back to a 1986 Wembley gig and his band Queen at the height of their pomp rock powers.

- In a nod to one of Britain's most recognizable 1960s pop culture movements, 50 Mods rode flag-bearing scooters around the arena to the sound of The Who's "Pinball Wizard", performed by the Kaiser Chiefs. On cue, 20 inflatable silver pinballs rose into the air.

- London's Olympics has seen some firsts. The closing ceremony was no different as 10 of the city's instantly recognisable black cabs attempted a taxi ballet.

From five of these vehicles emerged the Spice Girls, one of Britain's most successful girl groups, out of retirement for one night only. Prime Minister David Cameron and London Mayor Boris Johnson were spotted half-jiving to "Spice Up Your Life".

- British fashion took centre stage, with nine supermodels - including Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss - strutting along a huge Union Jack catwalk in golden dresses. The creations, appearing in September's Vogue magazine, were designed by top British designers such as Alexander McQueen and Vivienne Westwood.

- In the middle of the melee, one moment of calm. International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge and the President of the International Association of Athletics Federations Lamine Diack present the medals for the men's marathon, an Olympic tradition for one of the last events of the Games.

- A huge, inflatable octopus - spanning 50 metres, with 700 metres of lights and capable of reaching speeds of 20 miles per hour - spreads across the Union Jack floor, housing DJ Fatboy Slim who spins hits such as "Right Here, Right Now".

- Amid a surreal display of singing rugby players, English folk dancers, an ancient Roman army legion and Indian Bhangra dancers, Monty Python comic Eric Idle belted out "Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life" - a wry sing-a-long for recession-hit, cash-strapped Britain which has struggled with its conscience for hosting a Games that cost nine billion pounds to stage.

- The London Welsh Male Voice Choir and the London Welsh Rugby Club Choir sang the Olympic anthem as the Olympic flag was lowered. The flag was presented to Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes, who waved it four times, according to tradition.

As a taste of what is to come in four years time, a carnival parade invades the arena, with soccer's finest Pele, Capoeira fighters and the Copacabana sidewalk on show.

- Rogge brought the 30th Olympiad to a close, declaring the London Games were "happy and glorious" - a reference to the British national anthem. British band Take That and veteran rockers The Who saw out the show.