Last night The Lad was delighted to see his Master, Brunel, star in the 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony.
Danny Boyle, the film director, was the guiding spirit of the ceremony. While some of it was somewhat eccentric, at least, none was PR, journalistic or political boiler plate. There was a true artistic intelligence in charge. At least, that is, till Sebastian Coe and Jacques Rogge shouldered their way in for a drone. Any way, you could see where the £27M went.
One of the set-pieces, seeking to show something of the UK self-image, was a giant coup de theatre representation of the whole Industrial Revolution. It included fiery furnaces, steam engines and full height factory chimneys and a cast of, truly, thousands.
And there, marching through the throng, came Isambard Kingdom Brunel: or, rather, his avatar Kenneth Branagh fresh from his TV detective gig as the gloomy Swede, Kurt Wallander. It also seemed to The Lad to show the thoughtful spirit of Boyle to give a starring part also to the living Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web.
A couple of puzzles though. First, he was shown to be still wandering the earth at the same time as the Suffragettes. Second, Isambard’s only words were not his own but those of Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Artistic license, The Lad supposes
That led to the question of whether, with his education, would he have been familiar with or capable of quoting Shakespeare? Certainly The Lad thinks that, if any profession is capable of appreciating the great playwright, so too should the engineer. His dealings with forces in the real world will make him appreciate the way that the world is lubricated by great Art.