Kenny G hits the spot
Aside from the redoubt-able Sarah Brightman singing the theme tune and the scores of heads of state due in town, including French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife Carla Bruni, the Olympics are a bit low on foreign celebs so far. People are wondering who the organisers will pull out of the hat. Some speculation is centring on the possible presence of the saxophone legend Kenny G – whose smooth horn is audible in every Beijing restaurant, lift, taxi or even park – emerging from some huge vat of foam, his lush curls quivering.
At rather short notice, today has been declared a public holiday in Beijing because of the opening ceremony, and people in some neighbourhoods have been told to stay in to watch the fun and not clog up the streets. Shops and restaurants have been ordered to close early, and people have been instructed to dress nicely. Behave! As a result, Beijing looked like it was being evacuated last night.
Some athletes fret about the Beijing smog. Others say relax and have a cigarette. While many Olympians meditate or listen to music to calm their nerves, several weight-lifters training in Beijing tried to lighten up by lighting up. "I'd say 70 out of 100 athletes in the Olympic village smoke," said the Italian weightlifter Giorgio de Luca, perhaps exaggerating a little.