Live: Olympics closing ceremony
Five girls spice up the closing ceremony
The who's who of Britain's music scene - past and present - rock the Olympic stadium for one seriously celebratory closing ceremony.
Time to douse this flame. The Games of the XXX Olympiad are at an end - but not before an almighty party featuring featuring the greats of British music. Join the conversation with our rolling coverage from the Olympic Stadium.
And that's a wrap. London 2012 has ended in style as the Brits celebrated a Games of which they have every right to be very proud. Not only has the competition been astounding but an entire region of east London has been given new life. Leave your thoughts and memories below.
And on behalf of the Fairfax team in London and Australia, thank you for taking the time to read our writing, watch our videos and take in our photographs. We've worked around the clock to try and encapsulate the drama, ecstasy and occasional heartbreak of the Games for everyone at home. It's been a privilege and a pleasure. For me, like a few of these athletes, it's time for a quick pint.
12.05am Fireworks exploding as The Who finish this Games with My Generation. Nice pyrotechnics - better than the Ekka? Jury still out.
12.02am Roger Daltrey in the midst of See Me, Feel Me and will finish with their biggest hit, My Generation. Reckon even the kids will know that one.
Midnight The London flame is out. But we're not done. It's The Who baby. This is going to be a big finish. They are on top of their game as they launch into it from the opposite end of the stadium.
11.55pm So, you don't just turn off the gas. A big production going on here before the fire is extinguished. Prima ballerina Darcey Bussell leads the performers as they slowly make their way over to the flame, which has fanned out into all its prongs, one of which was almost ripped out of the ground by rogue discus thrower Robert Harting after he won gold. And after he ripped off his shirt and jumped over a heap of hurdles set up for Sally Pearson's final.
11.50pm The flame that illuminated the heroics of Bolt and Farah is about to be extinguished. Take That (minus Robbie) will be the soundtrack as they perform at the other end of the stadium. And before you make any Take That gags, their lead singer Gary Barlow has done an incredible job to even be here tonight after he and his wife lost their baby daughter Poppy only a week ago. We've seen courage on the field of play at these Games but I call that real courage.
11.45pm It's Rogge. Will he say it? Will he? Festive spirit, yes we get it. Shown the world the best of British hospitality, yes we know that bit. Dedication to fair play, yes (that boxing referee an obvious exclusion).... nope. No 'greatest games ever' for London from Rogge but to be honest, he doesn't need to say anything. They were bloody good. He officially closes the Olympics and calls on the youth of the world to meet in Rio in four years time for a bit of running and swimming.
11.50pm Coe thanks the builders, the police and army. He thanks the IOC - only warm applause for them. Rogge looking a bit nervous. Coe thanks the vounteers. They get a massive ovation. Rogge claps three times. "They have the right to say tonight 'I made London 2012'," Coe says.
11.38pm The Brits wheeled out David Beckham - Brazil just countered with Pele! How about that! The great man embraces the street sweeper, fireworks sound and the planet is happy for one, serene moment.. And now to the Rogge Rat. Seb Coe first. Will this be... the greatest Games of all? I'm listening.
11.35pm Is samba taught at school in Brazil? Does everyone in the country know how to dance? What I can tell you is there are some very nice moves on display out there. It reminds me of my colleague Chris Barrett's moves on the dance floor of The Shaft nightclub. It's something to behold. We're getting a nice insight into Brazil here - it's going to be loud, fun, happy. Sounds my my kinda Games.
11.30pm Brazil has begun. Street sweeper Renato Sorrisa, who shot to youtube fame doing this, is doing it in the middle of an 80,000-seat stadium with millions watching around the world. He's joined by a Carnival parade on stage and now the mystical voice of Marisa Monte floats across the stage. Still no sign of Tina Arena or Vanessa Amorosi here tonight. Must have been touring.
11.22pm Some formalities now as we hear the national anthem of Greece, a tradition to honour the history of the Olympic Games. We have the Olympic Anthem, from the London Welsh choirs, before the Olympic flag is lowered and handed back to the Rogge Rat by London mayor Boris Johnson, who in some photos also looks like Beau Robinson from the Queensland Reds. Then the road to Rio begins.
11.03pm Some human cannonball stuff coming up. If I was a betting man - and I am - I'd say this has disaster written all over it. But there might be a nice little surprise. You just never know your luck in the big city. Here we go... fuse lit... and wheels fell off. Our cannonball is no more. Instead, we've upgraded. It's the one and only Eric Idle popping up surrounded by angels and bursts into Always Look on the Bright Side of Life. Could be the tune of the night. And my, aren't those lovely angels. And how about those angels? Lovely. Plus, nuns on roller skates. And Bollywood dancing. Why, Mr Idle looks perplexed!
10.59pm Well, this is going down pretty well, even if the Brittany Broben's of the Games probably have no idea who this lot are. Wait until The Who arrive. And lookout everyone.... it's Liam Gallagher! If he's had a few pints and someone gives him a funny eye, anything could happen. I think the 218kg judoka from Guam, Ricardo Blas, might be safe. At this point, Liam is happy to sing Wonderwall as the crowd joins in. Where's Noel? Oh that's right - they hate each other. Not very Olympicy, is it?
10.53pm Spice Girl O'Clock. Let me just watch this for two minutes. I want to see if I can remember the dance moves to Stop. Bet I Can.
10.50pm Taio Cruz smashing out his track Dynamite and the crowd is on its feet. The athletes are grooving, Prince Harry is already thinking about the after party and it's fully kicked off. Brilliant atmosphere to farewell these London Games. I wish I could hear what inappropriate things the NBC commentators are saying. Sure someone will package it up all nice. What do you reckon folks? Thumbs up or down at this point?
10.46pm Jessie J has borrowed an outfit from one of the Hungarian gymnasts but she looks very decent. A giant inflatable octopus has been unfurled in the middle of the stage. There's a gag about the IOC and long-reaching tentacles somewhere but I'll keep that one in the pocket. Or did I just make it? Hey, look at those athletes getting down to Tinie Tempah!
10.40pm We've gone all trippy. Rusty Brand singing I am the Walrus on top of what looks like a Scooby Doo bus. And now the athletes have something to sink their teeth into. Here's Fatboy Slim in the house! It's Right Here, Right Now and Rockefeller Skank. Jessie J, Tinie Tempah and Taio Cruz all arrived. No James Blundell?
10.38pm Finally, some sense. Martin from Newcastle, I can get you a meeting with Coates. Something must be done. You are a true visionary.
So my expectation of Hungary beating us for gold came true. I believe it's the salami factor. Athletes should comsume vast amounts of Hungarian salami with a little sauerkraut if they want to get more gold at Janeiro.
10.34pm UK artist Ed Sheeran now singing Pink Floyd's iconic Wish You Where Here. Among the band is Mike Rutherford from Genesis. There's a businessman tightwalking high on the wires above the stadium, to meet another who isn't moving quite as much. They are about to meet. If you've ever seen the album art to this song, you'll know this isn't going to end well. And there he goes. Phwoar.
10.30pm We just had a parade of British lovelies headlined by Kate Moss and her band of fellow supermodels, getting around in something a little nicer than a tracksuit. And a 'ghost galleon' it's called is entering the stadium carrying one of the greats - it's Annie Lennox! Maybe it's because I grew up in the 80s but I'm flat-out loving this bit. She's too good and sounds sensational. That's for all the Scottish medal winners on Team GB. What a bonny lass she is.
10.22pm Ricky Wilson from The Kaiser Chiefs is ferried in on a mod scooter covering The Who's Pinball Wizard. Sounding great from my seat. Any good on the tele? You'd be a harsh marker not to like this bit I'd say. And, er, fellas, I'd stay tuned in for a little while if you are watching live on the box (nudge, nudge, wink, wink).
10.17pm George still going strong. The LED light sets on every seat in this stadium make for a dazzling show. And Sonny, doing my best but typing as fast as I can in a pitch black stadium. But I will do my very best not to be too sloppy. Thanks - buddy.
10.14pm Ladies and gentlemen, Mr George Michael! No fluoro hot pants at this point. Or any sign of Andrew Ridgeley either. But Freedom has the place rocking and George has come up with a dramatic moustache for the occasion.
10.10pm Rolling out the hits now. The choir singing Imagine, now John Lennon joining in via the big screen. His vision gets an enormous cheer and the 80,000 here have joined in with his most famous song. Note: I can play about six bars of this on the piano.
10.06pm The athletes and volunteers now being honoured. The volunteers here have been wonderful. Many of them have worked around the clock to ensure this Games has gone off like clockwork. Irish boxing heroine Katie Taylor is one of those handing out the flowers. She was one of the moments of the Games for mine, among so many. There are the chosen representatives from the volunteer brigade, in their natty purple kits. Take a holiday - you all deserve it. Which was to the bus, before you go?
Bohemian Rhapsody time. Party time. Excellent.
10pm Here's the victory ceremony for the men's marathon. This is some sort of moment to get your medal in this setting, with none other than the Rogge Rat handing them out. And after all of that work, they've taken the lego pyramid apart and it's sinking into the ground. Presentation now, Stephen Kiprotich taking gold and Kenyans Abel Kirui and Wilson Kipsang Kiprotich silver and bronze.
9.57pm The soundtrack to this Ikea on EPO is Kate Bush singing Running Up That Hill. By the looks of things, she didn't make it up the hill. She isn't here tonight. And now the white pyramid is complete. What are they going to do with it? Only I know, because I have the cheat sheet.
9.55pm The performers are now assembly a giant pyramid of constructed of white blocks in the middle of the arena. It's like a giant lego set. I just hope they clean it up when they are finished, not stuff it under the couch like my kids.
9.51pm BTW the stage is a giant Union Jack, in case you hadn't noticed or aren't watching, while the flag on the ground is an interpretation of the flag by celebrated artist Damien Hirst. That would have been worth a bit before everybody stood on it I'd imagine.
9.50pm Just saw a few American swimmers out there without gold medals. I covered eight days of swimming and left thinking every single American had won a gold medal. My mistake. I'm sure Phelps has a few spare to share around.
9.43pm The Brazilians and Australians really should have had that conversation about what tracksuits to wear. Maybe we should gone for the green top and gold pants, not the other way around. It's just one big clash out there. Athletes still streaming in to the stadium now as we prepare for the victory ceremony for the men's marathon, traditionally presented at the closing ceremony. Uganda's Stephen Kiprotich is the surprise gold medalist.
9.39pm There is a great deal of athletes biting gold medals as they walk around and wave. As soon as a camera gets near, providing you have the bling around your neck, then bite. Compulsory. IOC regulations. No wacky clobber tonight, mostly tracky dacks and the odd cool hat. Oh, apart from Spain, who have endured wacky clobber for 16 days. And again this evening.
9.33pm To Sour of Melbourne, the music isn't over. This thing goes for three hours. Just hold tight. Get up on the wrong side of the bed, did we? Elbow performing Open Arms and One Day Like This as the athletes - you remember those guys - flood into the arena. I'd trade places with them if I wasn't exceedingly average at a whole variety of differing sports. They look ridiculously happy and proud, as they should.
9.25pm Ray Davies knocks it out of the park, even after a little false start on Waterloo Sunset. Emile Sande serenades us into the parade of athletes. The gold medal winning sailor Malcolm Page will have the honour of carrying the Australian flag into the stadium. It's certain to be a night he never, ever forgets, as it will be for all of the flag bearers. Another sailor, Ben Ainslie, will be flying the Union Jack tonight. Some cut scenes of the events that have unfolded over the past 16 days being shown on the big screen. Tears galore. For the record, I only made one athlete weep during an interview. And I wasn't being mean - promise. I was speaking to synchronised swimmers about AC/DC. It's just emotional over here.
I promised myself I wouldn't cry.
9.18pm A bit more Stomp has given me the cold shower I needed there. One Direction. Phew. That was epic. A bucket lister ticked off right there. A few rubbish bins being banged together now (glad it's not outside of my joint at 5am as usual). And now this is going to be cool. The great Ray Davies from The Kinks is about to his perform 1960 ode to London town Waterloo Sunset. Before that, gymnastics set to The Beatles.
9.13pm Pet Shop Boys! I didn't see many West End girls over here but sadly got very familiar with East End kebabs when I was trying to get back to the hotel at 2am. And I was eating them sober. It's different. Full marks for the start so far. Crowd is right into it and the stadium looks magnificent. Pet Shop Boys look completely bonkers.
And what's that... it's.... it's ONE DIRECTION!
9.10pm Oh ellllllo Guv! Michael Caine counts down to the appearance of the the Robin Reliant from Only Fools and Horses. And now Madness are getting trucked around singing Our House. The crowd would appear to know the words to this particular tune. Oh yes indeed we are under way ladies and gents. Mash-up time as the Household Division Ceremonial State Band lurch into Blur's Parklife. Tune.
9.08pm Anthem inbound. Winston says 'STOP' to welcome Prince Harry and IOC boss Jacques Rogge. I know who has more say around here. I also know who has more fun.
9.05pm Good lord. Winston Churchill just popped out of the top of Big Ben. I wonder how much that set them back.
9pm We begin with a scene from working London, as the city wakes up and surges into motion. Many of the wonderful landmarks are visible - Big Ben, the Eye, The Gherkin, the Tower Bridge, the Covent Garden Walkabout - and they are all covered in the famous Fleet Street rags. The headlines reflect prose from the great British writers and poets, from Byron to Shelley to Dickens to Piers Morgan. At least it's better than stories about how rubbish we are at sport, which have been the order of the day over here of late.
So back to early-morning London. Let me guess what happens next - the Northern Line breaks down. Sorry folks, the Ceremony has been delayed by 20 minutes. Mind the gap. Hold on... that's not it at all. Instead, we have Emeli Sande on the back of a truck singing Read All About It. And now people are attacking the buildings with blunt instruments! They are trying to smash them into tiny pieces! Stop this madness! Whoa, just checked the notes. It's members of Stomp providing some industrial percussion to pump through your stereo. That's quite good really.
8.54pm From this point on, if you're going to post comments about bad sportsmanship or just be a plain old troll, save your fingers. Just about go time here. Can't wait until this place comes alive. The wave going around, which is code for "hurry up we are bored". Only a few minutes to wait.
8.50pm NatUK -spot on there brother or sister. No need for the negative vibes on this blog tonight. Time to celebrate of a wonderful Games - and a rousing effort from the hosts. Just brained it over the past 16 days they did. Have a read of the retort to THE BEST: Come on, this is not the time for negative comments at the expense of other nations. Team GB did incredibly well, for which I am so proud. Let's be proud without demeaning athletes from Australia. From what I can remember Australians in Sydney were proud of their athletes and were also able to cheer on excellence from around the world. Let us show the same attitude. Being magnanimous after a triumph (organisational and in terms of medals won) is surely the epitome of the Olympic ideal.
8.36pm We're just 25 minutes away from a start here. The stadium is looking an absolute treat and the music about to hit us is off the charts, or on the charts, or was on the charts at some point. It's all sensational in any case. I wonder why they don't have someone special to put the flame out? Not quite the same I suppose.
8.24pm THE BEST from London chimes in: "Highlight of the games has got to be poster girl Jess Ennis winning the Gold and the Aussie sailor falling off the boat in the Gold medal round."
Come on - let's not be like that. Olympic spirit and all.
8.21pm It's starts 6am AEST for all of those waking up early on the other side of the planet.
8.20pm We have some music to entertain us out in the middle of the set right now. In the meantime, here's Greg Baum's take on the Games. Sorry Sydney, he writes, you may have just been upstaged. A British Games had a very different feel than an Australian Games but having seen both, I'd have to say this was, at the very least, 2000's equal. Happy days.
8pm Good evening everyone (British time), good morning everyone (Australian time) and good morning to everyone in between. It's my absolute pleasure to welcome everyone to our coverage of the closing ceremony here at the Olympic Stadium. It's been a hot day in London and it's turned into a warm night. Performer's Comfort levels a little high for my liking but having seen the media notes, trust me - you are in for one hell of a show. The line-up of acts is brilliant, with a little something for everyone, including the teenagers who are a 100 per cent chance of getting on twitter and asking "Who are the The Who?".
I'm hoping the rogue German discus thrower Robert Harting can wreak glorious havoc out there again as he did in one of the true gold medal performances of the Games and the athletes let their hair down to celebrate all they have achieved in this grand old town.
The ceremony proper starts at 9pm local time. In the meantime, hit me with your highlight of the Games, your left-field highlight of the Games and where you're reading from.