Glasgow 2014: Reaction to the Commonwealth Games opening

John Barrowman emerged from a giant kilt Image copyright PA
Image caption John Barrowman emerged from a giant kilt at the beginning of the opening ceremony

Pipers, tartan, Scotty dogs, dancing teacakes, a gay kiss, self deprecating humour, a history of Scotland in song and a successful appeal to raise cash for children around the Commonwealth.

These were just some of the strands to the colourful and exuberant opening ceremony at Celtic Park for the 20th Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Was Glasgow kissed by Caledonian Cool or did it deliver Tartan cringe amidst a haze of Scotch myth?

Here's what others thought...


Writing in The Australian, Wayne Smith said: "Name a Scottish icon, it got an airing, be it Nessie, the Loch Ness monster, Susan Boyle, tossed cabers or Rod Stewart, pumping out his signature "The Rhythm of My Heart".

Not that the Scots were showing their dour side, not on this night, even parodying their own weather in a cute takeoff of Men at Work's "Land Down Under".


The Times of India online edition said: "Scotland rolled out a spectacular opening ceremony on Wednesday with dazzling and colourful display of their unique culture and heritage on a breathtaking night, which also had some Indian flavour to set the stage for the 20th Commonwealth Games."


Image copyright PA
Image caption Rod Stewart was among the performers at the opening ceremony

Writing in the Toronto Star, Rob Harris said: "The Loch Ness Monster, tartan-clad bagpipers and giant pieces of shortbread took the place of footballers on the Celtic Park pitch as the Commonwealth Games began with a celebration of Scottish mythology and traditions on Wednesday.

"Scotland is hosting the 20th edition of the games for former British colonies as its own future as part of Britain could be coming to an end.

"With an independence referendum coming on September 18, the issue of Scotland's national identity is in sharp focus, and organizers made light of perceptions of the country with a self-deprecating start to the ceremony attended by Queen Elizabeth II."

New Zealand

Writing in The New Zealand Herald, APNZ senior reporter Rebecca Quilliam said: "The 20th Commonwealth Games in Glasgow has opened today in Scottish style.

"Bagpipers, dancers and kilt-clad singers welcomed a packed stadium and millions of television viewers to Scotland...

"Hundreds of performers packed the stadium in a colourful display depicting Scottish life and the country's history."

United Kingdom

Image copyright PA
Image caption Team Scotland were the last to enter Celtic Park and end the athletes' parade

Writing in The Telegraph, Jim White said: "On a beautiful, balmy evening, in weather apparently borrowed wholesale from the World Cup host Brazil for the occasion, Glasgow produced a vibrant, joyous opening to the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

"Taking the lead from Danny Boyle's magnificent ceremonial launch of the London Olympics this was an event rich in humour, jollity and self-deprecation.

"Plus the magnificent Londoner Rod Stewart, warbling gleefully in the football stadium he cites as his spiritual home."

Image copyright PA
Image caption Hundreds of dancers brought a splash of colour to the ceremony

The Guardian's Lyn Gardner took a different view: "London 2012 got Danny Boyle; Glasgow 2014 got a clearly nervous Susan Boyle singing Mull of Kintyre and forgetting the words, and John Barrowman in an eye-watering haze of purple tartan.

"Those hoping against hope that Sean Connery and the Queen would parachute into Celtic Park in a cheeky Scottish nod to the James Bond sequence of the London Olympics Opening Ceremony were always going to be disappointed.

"The budget was never going to run to that kind of grandstanding, but there were times during David Zolkwer's oddly lacklustre and unfocused production when you wondered whether someone - maybe all those people who should have been sitting in the glaringly empty seats in the stands - had scarpered down the pub with the entire budget.

"Or maybe they were just hiding under the seats in mild embarrassment that this was how this great, gritty, glorious city was being portrayed to the rest of the world."

Image copyright PA
Image caption A huge fireworks display closed the opening ceremony at Celtic Park

The Independent's Jonathan Brown said the opening ceremony gave an "exhilarating start" to the Games.

He said: "From the moment the giant kilt lifted to reveal pantomime star John Barrowman, it was clear that the wit as well as the famous wisdom of the Scots was being showcased. So too the irrepressible spirit of the people of Glasgow.

"Where else would the disfigurement of a national symbol (albeit an Anglo-Irishman) - the traffic cone which has repeatedly and drunkenly been used to adorn the head of the Duke of Wellington in Royal Exchange Square for the past 30 years - be celebrated as part of a national story before a billion-strong television audience?"

Referring to the ongoing Scottish referendum campaign, The Daily Mail's Robert Hardman said: "After the fractious introspection and months of angry debate about what it means to be Scottish, the people of Scotland enjoyed a well-deserved break from it all last night - as they welcomed the world.

"And by the end of an exuberant, good-humoured, periodically chaotic evening - starring everyone (and everything) from a giant haggis, cabers, golf clubs, a gay wedding, 41 Scottish terriers, Rod Stewart, rousing cheers for the Queen and lashings of self-deprecation - Scotland seemed to have answered her own question.

"All of the above, we can safely say, encompass what it means to be Scottish. Quite what last night's opening of the 20th Commonwealth Games in Glasgow means for that referendum campaign, on the other hand, is anyone's guess."

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