The FIFA World Cup has opened in South Africa with a 'stunning and vibrant' opening ceremony which left players and fans 'pretty fed up already' with the constant exuberance of the host nation.
The opening ceremony, held in Johannesburg, featured a spectacular array of uplifting South African cliches, including dancers in tribal dress, African cooking pots, multiracial children's choirs singing gospel music, and video footage of herds of wildebeest sweeping majestically across the plain.
'OK, OK, we get it,' said England coach Fabio Capello, speaking after the lavish ceremony. 'It's a beautiful continent, everybody loves football, we're all welcome, well done Africa. Enough already.'
Archbishop Desmond Tutu was at the ceremony to remind the audience just how lovable and cheery Africans can be, while president Jacob Zuma was on hand to demonstrate that African heads of state, unlike Western and Asian ones, can dance.
But for most people the emotional high point of the ceremony came near the end, when a whacking great video was played of international statesman and global grandfather-figure Nelson Mandela delivering a predictable message about racial harmony and building a new South Africa and all that. 'I mean, come on,' said Greek captain Giorgios Karayounnis. 'When we hosted the Olympics, we didn't make everybody listen to Melina Mercouri going on about the Elgin Marbles, did we?'
The public mood in South Africa is one of celebration and pride at hosting the first World Cup on the African continent, and the singing, dancing and constant blowing of irritating plastic trumpets are expected to continue for several weeks, or at least until South Africa gets knocked out on penalties against Germany, which should calm them all down a bit.