We had... Jackie Chan kicking it off; scores of dancing children marshalled by the equivalent of John Noakes and Valerie Singleton; Li Guyi, China's first pop star, looking pretty good for her 60+ years; a full-on snippet of Chinese opera; endorsements from famous Xicheng residents (eg. film director Chen Kaige), "Nesum Dorma" sung by a student of Pavarotti; acrobats tossing & spinning those glorified yoyo things (Diablos?); stories about Xicheng's glorious heritage; the "Beijing Welcomes You" song from the Olympics; and - yes - Richard Clayderman performing with the leggy, conservatoire-trained, made-in-marketing-heaven, 12 Girls Band who play traditional Chinese instruments in knee-high boots. Clayderman, one of the first western musicians to perform and make it big in China, still has that haircut and smiles that smile.
So why was I invited? Buried somewhere in the full-on, tightly choregraphed spectacular, was a bit about a London-Beijing Olympics painting competition.