What did Great Britain ever give the world? Well, if you were lucky enough to watch last Friday’s Olympic opening ceremony that was essentially the question we were probably all asking. What really is great about Britain? Danny Boyle’s extravaganza attempted to answer that question: it was a celebration of everything great that this relatively small, yet influential nation has bequeathed to the world. Even if you didn’t manage to pick up on every little nuance, we’re sure you were probably blown away by the spectacle like the rest of us and were left feeling proud to be a part of this great country.
So, what did we give to the world? Well, in no particular order: the industrial revolution, democracy, the Suffragettes, trade unions, the NHS, CND, the swinging Sixties, Punk, the internet, Brit Pop, and perhaps best of all self-deprecation and an ability to laugh at ourselves and not take life too seriously.
We also saw the Queen become a Bond girl. Now we’re betting that’s something you probably never thought you’d ever see. If there was one small disappointment for us, one minor omission, it would simply be that there was no sight of a chesterfield sofa anywhere in the proceedings. Now, that may seem picky, but the traditional chesterfield sofa is a great British product. It is to British furniture what Churchill is to British politics and history – quintessentially British and we should rightly be proud of it.
Granted it might have proved difficult to stage, but we think it would’ve been worth the effort. Perhaps the Queen and Bond could’ve parachuted into the stadium on a chesterfield sofa? We certainly know that Churchill used to own a traditional leather chesterfield settee, so maybe his animated statue could’ve been sat on one? How about Rowan Atkinson sat at the keyboard on a chesterfield sofa as he played along to Vangelis’ Chariots of Fire theme? There were countless opportunities to squeeze in the most-British of British products at the weekend, but sadly none of these were taken.
Still, in our own minds we know that the chesterfield sofa encapsulates everything that is truly great about Britain: tradition, craftsmanship and quality. We’ll have to content ourselves with that for the moment, and hope that our celebrated sofa gets a look-in at the closing ceremony. Maybe the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh can sit on one as they turn off the lights?