Tonight is the night. China, the nation that makes everything, that owns everything and has bids in on the rest of the world’s garage sale, will emerge from centuries of “obscurity behind the bamboo curtain” and begin a second cultural revolution on the biggest stage of all. The future will kick off at precisely eight minutes past eight on 08/08/08. Today many ask how did the first cultural rev go? Well to paraphrase former Chinese leader Chou en Lai, “it is far too early to tell”.

We will know the future has arrived when the first tonnes of colourful gunpowder propelled fireworks are blasted into the smog above the Bejing Birds Nest. It will be a cracker night to end all cracker nights from the inventors of the firework. Australians will remember where they were, what they were drinking and who they were squeezing forever. It will be Kurt Cobain’s death and the launch of the Holden Monaro all over again.

It seems odd, but the smoggy foggy haze that gets into everything around Bejing will actually be improved with the detonating of 6.9 millions tonnes of cordite driven Catherine Wheels, Roman Candles and sky rockets. The 6.9 tonnes will merely be a drop in the ocean given the old-fashioned pea souper that engulfs Bejing at this time of year. Hopefully the heady, savoury stench of cordite will hang over the Olympic central for the fortnight of gold medal competition, reminding everyone how great the opening bang off was.

It will be the best Opening Ceremony ever. Recall that Korean SBS footage that indicated big whales will get a run? Well tonight real hump back whales will be featured jumping though hoops of flames held aloft by trained panda bears standing on the backs of crouching Tibetan monks. I hope the Japanese shooting team don’t go silly and holster their hardware.

It has been a perfect build up to the Games of the 29th Olympiad with smog giving everyone something to talk about.

Obviously there have been several personal bests put in already by the biggest and most glamorous team this nation has ever sent away. We will not be let down by this touring party.

For bronze it is a dead heat between Laurie Lawrence who got off the plane on the spray and looks ready to go off whenever they poke a stick in his cage and AOC supremo John Coates, who has been pleading with Australia not to expect too much at this wheeze, in a desperate bid to screw more money out of the Rudd gold mine.

Silver goes to Kevan Gosper, our First Lord of the Olympics, who has put in a blinder as Olympic media chief rescuing internet access for the whole of China after a recent kerfuffle. But Kevan is not finished yet. Look for him late in week two and don’t be surprised if he runs the final leg of the torch relay tonight.

But Gold and an early tip for the David Koch Medal for 2008, The Daily Telegraph’s Garry Linnell who lobbed in Bejing feeling peckish after the long flight from Sydney. He swerved past the snake and dog on the menu to tackle the glans penis.

Chef, Johnny Lim, China’s Kylie Kwong, tossed up the tossil in white sauce with a parsley garnish thinking this would get Garry on the chew. The D.T. man swerved past that option and stared at the penis tartare with a squeeze of lemon as the saliva ran. He rejected the pink mince and plonked for the sweet and sour trouser snake plated with a Golden Circle pineapple ring which chef Lim knew would remind the bloke with the large appetite of home. It is the wonderful thing about travel: it broadens the palate and the mind.

Incidentally, according to the wisdom of the east, today is an incredibly lucky day. It is a punter’s paradise. It is virtually impossible to loose. No matter what you plonk on, you will be a winner. Try the 8.

H.G. Nelson’s Golden Nuggets will appear in Crikey every day through the games.

Peter Fray

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