Olymics Closing Ceremony liveblog

[9:03] A typical day in London? I hope some appropriate music to celebrate London Underground (Amateur Transplants, I'm looking at you).
[9:08] All that newspaper next to the Olympic Flame makes me nervous.
[9:10] The Italian Job and Only Fools and Horses? Practically no-one born outside the British Isles is going to get that one.
[9:11] Madness! Shame they didn't get the Young Ones actors along as well. I so want that Union Flag skirt the flying saxophonist is playing. I wonder what the kids singing along thought about Suggs and the guys.
[9:13] The Household Guards playing ska and Blur. Now I've seen everything.
[9:14] Is that really Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe under those conical hats?
[9:16] Wand Erection. Oh dearie me. They look about 12 years old. Presumably this is the ceremony organisers saying "look, we have a huge range of British music - we have the really crap stuff too."
[9:18] Some of the child dancers look as if they've had a few Chicken Nuggets too many. Newsflash: just because it works for Usain Bolt, doesn't mean it'll work for you too.
[9:19] The Stomp dancing with six-foot poles and hurling around dustbin lids is presumably designed to recall the urban riots of last year...
[9:20] Cleaning London's streets with brooms? Whom are they kidding? You need heavy industrial gear.
[9:21] OK, the demonic mimes are freaking me out.
[9:23] Ah, Waterloo Sunset. Hope the French appreciate this.
[9:30] Musical montage time. Oh, the tears. (Will they do a similar run for the sweat, and then the blood?)

[9:31] Now they're just rubbing it in for that poor fencer.
[9:32] "The Crying Games"? OMG. Will Jaye Davidson make an appearance? Bet the USA will cut to adverts for that scene.
[9:33] The Australian flag bearer is a sailor. I'd imagine you have to be pretty good to make it as a sailor there; fall overboard and you'll be lucky to scramble back in the boat before a shark, croc, jellyfish or sea snake gets you.
[9:34] Oscar! Let's face it, there was no other choice for the SA flag carrier.
[9:35] These ceremonies are a really test for recognising obscure flags. Was that Kazakhstan - yellow sun, light blue flag?
[9:37] The Japanese team are waving the Rising Sun flag in one hand, and Union Jack in the other. Good on them.
[9:38] Announcers enumerating all the national acclamations that medal winners might receive.
[9:39] And now the French doing the same bi-national flag waving. They don't look quite as enthusiastic about it, for some reason.
[9:41] Mozambique is spelled with a cedilla'd C instead of the Z. Who knew?
[9:43] What happens when the confetti drifts across the Olympic Flame? Shades of the doves in Atlanta (if that wasn't an urban myth).
[9:44] The Finns are smiling! You don't see that very often.
[9:46] I like the South Korean blazer ensembles. Very sharp.
[9:47] The Canucks are sporting short denim vests, nearly bolero jacket style.
[9:48] I hope the lightbulbs on those blue bowler hats are compact fluorescent, not incandescent. Though I can see a few have gone out already. Be a bit messy if they break.
[9:52] If The Congo and Tonga merged, would they become The Conga?
[9:53] What's with those white boxes or tables queuing up at the entrance?
[9:54] When Brazil does their presentation of what to expect in Rio 2016, I hope they'll get Rubens Barrichello to do a few donuts in his F1 car. I doubt they'll mention the favelas though.
[9:55] Kate Bush! Fantastic. But what are the boxes for?
[9:56] Oh, here comes the "blood" video montage by the look of things...
[9:57] I wonder if they're trying to build a modern Stonehenge? The boxes have me baffled. Some have a small hole in the centre of a couple of squares. What's it for?
[9:58] Sliding off the bike, that's going to hurt in the morning. Much like having Jade Jones slap you around the head.

[10:00] No, I really don't get the white pyramid symbolism. Do we get an explanation?
[10:01] Interesting, they kept the men's Marathon victory ceremony for tonight.
[10:03] If you win your country's first medal since 1972, and it's the gold for the men's marathon, they should probably make you Prime Minister when you get home.
[10:04] The band are making a good job of the Ugandan anthem, considering that it's probably not been on their most-practiced list.
[10:07] The volunteers standing up on the podium look rather nervous. Yes, about 1bn people are watching you right now (or, delayed by a good few hours for NBC watchers).
[10:09] The usher on stage: "Right you lot, you've had your 2 mins of fame, now bugger off, I've got my next act coming."
[10:10] Bohemian Rhapsody: we're going to have tens of thousands of strained necks in the morning.
Dammit, they switched to Lennon's "Imagine". How come he gets the full track played and Freddie doesn't? They're both dead, there can't be a sensibility issue...
[10:12] Building a puzzle on stage. Is it a giant sheep?
[10:13] No, a giant Lennon face. Disturbing. I would have preferred a sheep.
[10:14] Georgie! Freedom! Easy with the hip thrusting there George, you're not as young as you were.
[10:19] George gets to sing two full tracks! He's clearly twice as good as Lennon.
[10:24] For a moment there I thought we were going to be treated to a Mods+Rockets stunt brawl in the middle of the arena. Kaiser Chiefs could have sung "I Predict a Riot". Is this a Wiggo homage?
[10:26] Picture sequence reminding you that David Bowie was even weirder than you remember.
[10:27] A reminder that Britain can do clothing as ridiculous as anything elsewhere in the world.
[10:29] And models as pouty as anyone else in the world.

[10:31] Annie Lennox, on what looks like The Flying Dutchman. Don't see the connection yet. She's still got a good set of pipes on her though.
[10:36] Who's this chap on the guitar? Looks like a slightly grungier version of Prince Harry. Am I out of touch?
[10:38] The tightrope walker sets fire to a dummy. The symbolism escapes me.
[10:39] Oh dear, Russell Brand is going to go "a little bit zany". Spare us.
[10:41] Bond: they may be good classical musicians but I'm guessing their primary selling point is not their music.
[10:42] This is, however, exactly the kind of exposed-flesh performance that I would have associated with Russell Brand.
[10:44] An inflatable octopus? What's that got to do with anything? Do we even have octopi in British waters? Fatboy Slim is the octopus brain?
[10:46] Jessie J: It's not about the money, money, money - just don't mention the £10bn price tag...
[10:50] I didn't realise "Dynamite" was a Taio Cruz original - I've only heard it from China Anne McClain on A.N.T. Farm.
[10:55] Who's in the taxis? Oh lordy, I think I know...
[10:56] Did Victoria design these costumes? Enquiring minds want to know.
[10:57] Vickie certainly doesn't look like she's enjoying herself.
[10:58] Driving off in different directions symbolising the group's split? (Meow!)

[11:00] Just noticed the quote on the stage: "When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life." I prefer the Pratchett "When a man is tired of Ankh Morpork, he is tired of ankle-deep slurry."
[11:01] The Mancunian brothers are back: Noel and Liam's "Wonderwall" sounding as cheerful and upbeat as ever. I preferred the Mike Flowers version.
[11:03] Thank goodness that's over. Please, please something upbeat now.
[11:05] This is starting to get a bit trippy.
[11:06] Someone online just commented on the accident risk of the Spice Girls taxi-surfing. It might have a high risk of incident, but the worst-case impact was a complete loss of the Spice Girls. I wouldn't sweat it.
[11:07] Now this is upbeat - Eric Idle conducting "Always look on the bright side of life." Rollerskating nuns?
[11:08] We've had Idle - are we going to have Cleese and/or Palin? Pleaseohpleaseohplease...
[11:10] Many of the non-British audience at this point will be checking to see what they've been drinking.
[11:11] "We want to fire you out of a cannon with half a billion people watching - so if anything goes wrong, at least you'll be very famous."
[11:12] Muse, as heard in "Twilight". Nevertheless they seem quite good.
[11:14] One wonders how the TV commentators in Morocco, Azerbaijan, Mongolia and Malaysia (for example) are explaining this performance to their audience.
[11:16] They got Freddie to sing! I guess he didn't charge much of a performance fee.
[11:17] It's Dr. Brian May! After this jam he'll be asking for the stadium lights to be turned down so he can give a short presentation on the Perseids shower.
[11:20] Jessie J and Brian May singing "We Will Rock You". Well, Freddie's outfits were probably about as self-restrained as Jessie's...
[11:22] Was Freddie Mercury reincarnated into Jessie J, and did he mind?
[11:23] I hear the Greek national anthem is 10 bars shorter this year - austerity, you know.
[11:26] Looks like they have two Bootnecks carrying the Olympic flag, but no Paras. Odd.
[11:27] Is this Boris Johnson's moment?
[11:28] They have given the flag to Boris Johnson. What could possibly go wrong?
[11:29] The Brazilian athletes are celebrating the flag handover - wait until you see the bill, guys...

[11:30] Are we into extra time now?
[11:31] Aha, the famous Brazilian dancing street-sweeper. Nice touch.
[11:33] Wonder if they'll get O Cristo Redemptor into the performance.
[11:36] Ho hum, they need to pick up the pace a bit. They had quite an act to follow.
[11:39] Well, they brought out Pelé - that's a start... would have been nice for him to kick a ball around a bit, at least.
[11:40] Lord Coe and Mr. Rogue. "Brazil, it's all your problem now".
[11:41] Translation: "We didn't screw things up too badly, heaven knows how. Good job by the Army, good thing Group 4 screwed the pooch so badly that they made us bring the Army in in the first place".
[11:44] Translation: "Thank you to the people of Britain for keeping the cash flowing in even past the point where it ceased to be funny."
[11:45] "The spirit of these Olympics will inspire a generation" == "please keep the £120mm/year flowing to our prospective 2016 Olympians".
[11:46] Prince Harry is out with his sister-in-law this evening?
[11:47] I notice Jacques Rogges didn't try speaking in French - he'd have been thrown into the Thames, most likely.
[11:48] "You have shown the world the best of British hospitality" - with official catering by McDonalds.
[11:49] For goodness' sake, Jacques, try cracking a smile once in a while.
[11:51] This descending of the flame looks more than a little hazardous.
[11:52] Take That - of course. Good on Gary Barlow for appearing despite his awful loss last week.
[11:55] Probably wise to not attempt a Beijing-level fireworks display - it would have levelled most of East London. (Well, that may be more of a feature than a bug).
[11:56] Phoenix to the Flames - wasn't that a Robbie Williams number?
[11:57] Darcy Bussell is holding up well, though I notice she's quite restrained in her moves. Still elegance personified.

[12:00] I don't want to think about how big the Olympic stadium's gas bill from Centrica is going to be this month.
[12:01] All together now: "The Who?"
[12:08] I take back my earlier comment. We do seem to be trying to level East London.

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