The Opening Ceremony of the 2012 London Olympic Games

[SCENE: July 27th 2012. The London Olympic Stadium is packed with 80,000 spectators, all eagerly awaiting the start of the opening ceremony. Suddenly the arena is plunged into darkness. The crowd whoop and scream and do their usual mindless crowdly thing, and thousands of camera flashes go off, tiny fireflies in the dark cauldron, and just as they quieten down something is revealed in the centre of the field.

Beneath a Dickensian lamp-post stand two musicians, one playing a guitar, the other a harmonica. They begin a hauntingly familiar piece of British folk music.

Abruptly, 24 seconds in, a second streetlight is illuminated, the first one dimming slightly, and Shane MacGowan appears. He begins singing.]

MacGOWAN:
I met my love, by the gasworks wall.
Dreamed a dream, by the old canal.
I kissed my girl, by the factory wall.
Dirty old town, dirty old town.

Clouds are drifting across the moon,
Cats are prowling on their beat.
Spring's a girl, from the streets at night.
Dirty old town, dirty old town.

[Instrumental break. Enter the remainder of the Pogues, accompanied by a pipe band, and a soot-covered urchin, with whom MacGowan dances a stately jig beneath the streetlamps.]

MacGOWAN:

I heard a siren from the docks,
Saw a train set the night on fire.
I smelled the spring on the smoky wind
Dirty old town, dirty old town.

I'm gonna make me a big sharp axe.
Shining steel tempered in the fire.
I'll chop you down like an old, dead tree
Dirty old town, dirty old town.

I met my love, by the gasworks wall.
Dreamed a dream, by the old canal.
I kissed my girl, by the factory wall.
Dirty old town, dirty old town.

Dirty old town, dirty old town.

[Boris Johnson, Sebastian Coe and Chas 'n' Dave appear on stage to mark the end of the opening ceremony, and declare the games officially open. They are met by mystified silence from the crowd, who were expecting the show to last more than four minutes.]
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