From Charlie Chaplin to Duran Duran, Birmingham parades It’s Better at Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony

It has emerged five years after the 2012 London Olympics and five years before the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games that Charlie Chaplin may have been born in the Roma community of Smethwick, instead of London, and was a real firecracker of a Brummie, a Midlands Maverick. .

On Thursday evening, the UK once again put on a big show to be relayed on global TV networks, drawing on the best local showmen in theatre, film, live concerts and OTT talent. The Commonwealth Games warm-up track has been glamorized, smoothed and printed with cultural motifs, letting the spontaneity of the sport kick off the day after the opening ceremony. The Alexander Stadium, which will host athletics competitions next week, has captured attention in selfies for its dance and song and Chaplin all-in-ones.

Chaplin, happily adopted by Birmingham with a nod to London, was however given free rein to set the iconic Library of Birmingham on fire in the comedy skit set up. At least one of the many Chaplins paying homage to the original did. Not quite the queen thrown from a plane like in the haww London moment, with James Bond coming to her rescue, but Chaplin’s small role matched Mr Bean from 2012.

The opening ceremony placed a young character Stella and other athletes, dubbed Dreamers, through the various skins worn by Birmingham over the years of rise and fall, and redemptions. It was not sport in a bubble, which until now has kept athletes in a carefully separated universe that is dreamily elevated from non-athletic mortals. Stella lived in the real world – a realization that athletes around the world are waking up to, as sport seeks meaning beyond the contraction of fast fibers.

In the cinematic narration, Stella met underpaid and overworked assembly-line women – women of the Industrial Revolution, whose emancipation took a century before the minimum wage strike of 1910. It resonated with the Birmingham of today, in the midst of the railway workers’ strikes during the Games, and how the labor and assertiveness movements are raging, amplified by the gold dust sprinkled from sport in the surrounding area.

The city’s iconic ‘arena markets’, where the favorite sport was bull-baiting, have been redesigned to release the chained giant bull, and with it the women who make chains. It was not a host city shy of denouncing the disturbing underside of sport or entertainment or the racist world in which it once operated.

Comedian Joe Lycett, dressed in pink feathers and outrageous satin, cut some fluff with the most remarkable gag of the day, saying: ‘I’m going to do something now that the UK government doesn’t always do and welcome strangers .” He then invited the Asian nations into the stadium for the parade of athletes.


Dance collective ‘Critical Mass’ took part in the opening ceremony and lent distinct guitar riffs to His Royal Undertone, Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi, had 45% of those who identify as deaf, disabled , neurodivergent or living with a long-term health condition, performing alongside able-bodied performers.

As spotlights and flashlights highlight all that is uplifting and illuminating about the sport, Birmingham has acknowledged its terrible past of the Black Country landscape, characterized by the smoke emitted by its factories by day, while at night , the ovens glowed during the excesses of industrialization. Stella was not in a parallel world, working her muscle groups and monitoring mindless, carefree sleep. He was an athlete faced with the realities of the outside world, which go beyond medals and podiums.

Birmingham also placed a mirror of racial tensions through the show, exploring cultural migration and differences as obstacles to integration and coexistence. While Western cities’ journeys toward multiculturalism overcoming inherent misunderstandings and tensions are often celebrated, the show highlights just how racial tensions are a flicker away from igniting, a reminder that it’s not easy to melt. Nothing is easy in Metal City.

Sport is the most photogenic setting for human activity – montages of past Games can be mesmerizing. And the Birmingham Open brought together the best in showbiz from across the British Isles to impress on athletes that they shouldn’t hide behind the smokescreen of sport. In a tough summer for the host nation with a shaky politics and economy, with a show scheduled in Britain’s second sporting city, never shying away from the smoke and grime of its foundries, a show celebrated the realities that give to think about sport.

Chaplin was there to make life difficult, a little easier. So does Lenny Henry, a black comedian who continues to offend many people in England by speaking the truth about racism with firmness and consistency. After he said “Big up snobs”. His presence invited another round of insults declaring him “not funny”. He is bonafide funny and in his funniest part of the day was a villain on Birmingham’s various skin palettes: “black, white, brown, pink and sunburnt from two weeks ago.”

Then Duran Duran took over and hummed about life and defeat.

Parade of athletes

A lot has changed about the Games, and the athletes have happily abandoned the image of a harsh military parade and actually enjoyed their welcome parade.

Some did cartwheels and handstands, many danced in the arena. Many left early from a side exit, not wanting to endure long hours of the ceremony. Young people who always have another place to go. As on the catwalks in particular.

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