Closing Ceremonies: The Live Blog

ANDREW COYNE with the minute-by-minute commentary, some of it respectful

As we wait for the closing ceremonies to start, CTV, for one, is anxious to show you that they are very mindful of the bilingual character of Canada, via a two-handed rendition of I Believe….

And we’re off.

Cool: don’t hide the opening ceremonies malfunction: celebrate it. Takes moxy to make fun of yourself. And Catriona gets to light the flame already.

And Catriona descends into the gates of hell…

It’s the march of the dancing white people! With, a band that looks a lot like Coldplay.

And now they’re moving into formation as .. a lot of people with snowboards. No, it’s Olympic Rings. No, it’s … well now they’ve broken it up again. As we go to commercial.

The Official Party! I was waiting for that to begin. Oh, they mean dignitaries. I see the native chiefs’ bus didn’t break down this time.

The Prime Minister in an Olympic team jacket. Some debate here whether it suits him. I say it’s slimming.

The anthem. Is there any country on earth, by the way, that breaks into the national anthem as spontaneously as Canadians? My theory? It’s easy to sing. It has a particularly beery quality to it, if you’ve noticed: that last chorus of O Canada seems almost made for slurring.

Joannie Rochette! The right choice, on balance, for Canada’s flagbearer. Yes, Charles Hamelin won two gold, but Joannie was … incomparable.

And the athletes parade in, en masse, all the nations of the earth mixed together.  So why is it all Americans? Oh here dcome the Germans, in their licorice Goodies outfits.

I have to say, all cynicism aside, when you see the athletes all together, the pressure of competition passed, you do start to believe in the whole Olympic ideal thing. They look so happy and relaxed, and you can imagine the friendships that have been formed. Right,, now back to the cynicism.

… Okay, I’ve just missed the last 10 minutes thanks to WordPress. But it was fine, wasn’t it? Lots of Canadians.  Melissa Hollingsworth looks quite nice when she’s not crying. And Jon Montgomery, looking decently sober.

Canadian musicians I’v e never heard of! It’s like a 1970s Juno Awards!

Is it just me, or is this the tune to Since You’ve Been Gone?

A salute to the volunteers. Seriously well-deserved. Everyone I know who had anything to do with them has universally positive experiences to report.

The Greek national anthem, on the other hand, you couldn’t really belt out in a bar. Unless you’re Greek, I suppose.

Ben Heppner rocks the Olympic anthem. Another moment of Canadian pride: if he were an alpine skier, he’d have nailed the downhill, oh, .34 seconds off the Austrian.

Mayor of Vancouver hands off the Olympic flag to Mayor of Sochi. Okay, you can let go of the flag now, Greg. Let go of the flag. Let – Greg! Ah, at last. International incident averted.

Russian anthem next. Turns out it’s still the Soviet anthem. As in: Greatest. Anthem. Ever.

You don’t belt this anthem out in a bar. You rent a concert hall.

I’m guessing the Latvians and Estoninans aren’t singing along, however.

Russian supermodels! Followed by wraithlike figures in glowing giant gel-like snowballs. Yes, the opening ceremonies in Sochi promise some advanced Russian weirdness.

Where ARE we? First we’re in Red Square, with a Russian orchestra, then we’re back in Vancouver, with the Russian ballet, nw we’re  in Sochi, figure-skating by the sea (which is a mega-cool idea.) Now we’re back in Vancouver again with a floating opera diva dressed like a butterfly. Which is actually an Italian idea, but who’s counting?

Which leads naturally to … Alexandr Ovechkin. And several small children. Question: Would you let your children near Ovechkin? I don’t mean he’d do anything improper or untoward. Just eat them.

Oh GOD NO: John Furlong speaking French!!! That’s Diefenbaker French. Worse. National unity set back 30 years.

Question: what’s worse? No French, or Furlong French? Moliere dying several more deaths.

Patriotism broke out across the country. Give ‘er!!!

“You are the wind beneath our wings.” Did he really say that? A Bette Midler song?

Score: Blue Jackets 1, Cypress weather 0. Mad cheers in the Whistler village for the volunteers.

Tribute to the deceased Georgian luger. Furlong’s Georgian is better than his French.

A big shout out to the concept of the “right to play.” But not, strangely, to Right to Play, the Canadian-based organization dedicated to promoting sporting opportunities for disadvantaged youth. They were shut out of the games, on account of an unfortunate choice of sponsors: Mitsubishi, rather than Games sponsor GM.

IOC chief Rogge speaking now. The Best Games Ever? “These were excellent, and very friendly games.” I think we’ve been dissed.

Neil Young. Looking remarkably like Jimmy Fallon, doing Neil Young. You know what would be cool? If he started doing an imitation of Fallon…

And Neil Young disappears into the bowels of the earth, where Catriona Lemay Doan had gone before.

Now its’s Canada Geese flying through a blizzard.  And from their midst comes… William Shatner! Okay, so this is the self-deprecating part of the ceremony. Waiting for him to do Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds.

“Canadians, with four beers inside them, can successfuly proounce Straits of Juan de Fuca, without being censored.” Seriously: is there ANY other country that could pull that off?

Catherine O’Hara. “Hurry hard.” Fuckin’ A! Oh lord, I’m about to be overtaken by an attack of Canadian pride. “Guests, like fish, start to stink after three days. When you pee your name in the snow, we know who you are. Canadians say sorry 10, 20 times a day and we’re sorry it’s not more. We’re sorry you thought Canada was one big frozen tundra.” I don’t know if the rest of the world is getting this, but my God she’s killing here.

Michael J. Fox with another oddly Canadian moment. “I know I’ve been living in L.A. for 30 years, but…”

Michael Bublé as a Mountie, singing the Maple Leaf Forever. It’s a great, great song — but isn’t it banned? “Wolfe the dauntless hero came?” Bloc MPs, to your microphones!

Leading into masses of dancing Mounties. This is getting seriously campy. Followed by hordes of hockey players who can’t skate. But no: it’s a giant game of table hockey! This whole ceremony is a giant in-joke. Outstanding.

Dancing maple leaves, followed by giant inflatable beavers, Disnelyand lumberjacks, bears, etc. I don’t think I’ve ever been so proud.

I’m serious: no other country could pull this off. No other country would even think to do it. You think the French have this kind of sense of humour about themselves? The British? The Germans?

OH GOD: Just when things are going so well, they bring out Nickelback. Cancel last half hour’s posts.

A colleague has a theory: Nickelback is still part of the whole self-deprecating thing. “The joke’s on them.” Uh, no: way too meta.

Avril: Is she meta, or meta-meta? Is she making fun of the whole concept of making fun of yourself?

Alanis!?!? Of course, the thing you have to realize is, half these athletes are 19-year-olds from Eastern Europe. They’re probably only getting Alanis records now.

All these cool Canadian bands – Arcade Fire, High Dials, Hot Hot Heat — that we’re never going to hear.

Simple Plan, doing Nickelback? Am I right? There’s self-depreating, and then there’s just lame… squared. Oh God, make it end. Next we’ll have Paul Anka doing Simple Plan doing Shania doing Avril doing Trooper doing…

Now, from Toronto: K-OS! Nothing says street cred like fame American rap! Not to mention Canadiana…

That’s it? That’s the end? Bad rap, acid-wash jeans, and giant purple spheres? This is a joke, right?