Adrian in Character as a Working Man in Pandemonium
GUEST POST: ADRIAN MILNER
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1. What was your Olympic Volunteer Role and where?
I was a working man from the Victorian times. The Opening Ceremony in “Pandemonium“.
2. When did you volunteer?
I volunteered for 150 hours over 24 days starting at the beginning of May 2012 – mostly in the pouring rain. 1st at 3 Mills Studios – then at the old Ford Motor Factory in Dagenham and finally from June in the Olympic Stadium.
3. Describe your uniform
Distressed – grey corduroy trousers up to my nipples with belt – grey corduroy cloth cap – shirt covered in oil – cravat – black leather gloves – ripped black jacket – black steel toe capped boots and a sooty face. I was a working man from the Victorian times!
4. What did you do?
It varied – but all Working Men and Women in the Pandemonium sequence had to learn how to dismantle the “Green & Pleasant Land” set of the opening sequence. We needed to learn how to move fences – hedges – flowers – crops – and turf, LOTS of turf.
1200 of us were divided into counties from A-J. I was assigned Fife and we were located by the huge water wheel – in front of the press tribunes – near the mosh pit and the great bell (we called it the bell end – phnarr phnarr)!
We also had to learn choreography dreamed up by Toby Sedgewick the man behind all the choreography in War Horse. These moves were code-named: shovel pickaxe – sliding door – shut the boot – lever handles – chisel hammer. These had to be learnt and were quite elaborate – all had to be put together in a chain. We used this choreography during “Convergence” – when the Olympic rings were coming together.
5. What was your highlight?
Meeting so many wonderful people from London and all over the country and the world. It was such an honour being in the ceremony – to represent the country and this wonderful city of ours!
The day of the opening will remain with me forever - the walk down from our holding area at Eaton Manor (site of the Paralympic Tennis venue) to the Olympic Stadium and seeing the Red Arrows fly over the Stadium. The world’s press clapping & taking pics of us.The noise coming from the stadium and the anticipation of the spectators – all of us booing when there was a slight shower outside the BBC Studio (fortunately it cleared for show time).
Waiting in the bowels of the stadium for our big moment and seeing Kenneth Branagh rehearse for one last time and then being on the stage & all the animals coming off the field of play. The tumultuous cheers when the rings went up. The gasps of the audience as the Queen said “Good evening Mr Bond”! Finally the walk back to Eaton Manor and seeing all the athletes starting to queue to go into the stadium – was wonderful! One of the happiest days of my life!
6. What did you gain?
Meeting so many people from different backgrounds and learning that I can do things when I put my mind to it. Also learning that it’s great to volunteer – the feeling of a sense of purpose.
7. Are you inspired to volunteer further?
I would look at it again but it is exhausting when you have a full-time job – I had no weekends for nearly 3 months!
8. What’s your lasting memory of the Olympics and Paralympics?
Joy – happiness – smiling faces – London and Britain putting on the best Olympic Games ever. Team GB inspiring the nation!
The proof that if governments invest long-term - we can still be a great country (take note Cameron and Osborne). Realising that even though we are a tiny country we still have an influence in the world that outweighs our size and that we can be a force for good in the world!
Finally – the smell of the stadium will always be with me (akin to new carpet)!
Adrian Milner is my 4th Guest Post. He was a Performer in the Opening Ceremony. Over these coming years, I am featuring a number of Games Volunteers and Games Visitors talking about their experience of London 2012!
**Lord Sebastian Coe in his closing speech at The Olympics Closing Ceremony said all the Volunteers had the right to carry the phrase ‘I made London 2012′ as a badge of honour.