Orbital perform Ian Dury’s ‘Spasticus Autisticus’ at the Paralympic Games opening ceremony

UK singers Birdy and Beverley Knight also appear at London's Olympic Stadium

A live performance of Ian Dury‘s 1981 track ‘Spasticus Autisticus’ featured in the Paralympic Games opening ceremony last night (August 29).

The song – which was written by the late Dury for the International Year of Disabled Persons – was performed by dance duo Orbital and the Graeae Theatre Company and featured a sample of Professor Stephen Hawking’s voice.

The ceremony, which was opened by Hawking, kicked off with a simulation of the big bang followed by a remix of Rihanna’s ‘Umbrella’, which played whilst acrobats danced to the track, brandishing umbrellas.


Music by Florence and the Machine, Chemical Brothers, Pulp, Kaiser Chiefs and Friendly Fires soundtracked the procession of athletes around the Olympic Stadium in Stratford, East London, whilst Team GB came on to David Bowie‘s ‘Heroes’.

The Paralympic flag was then taken around the stadium by the British men’s under 22’s wheelchair basketball team to the strains of ‘I Vow To Thee My Country’ before the Paralympic anthem was played as the flag was raised.

In addition to the Dury track and a piano and vocal performance by teenage British singer Birdy, who sang ‘Bird Gerhl’ by Antony Hegarty, Beverley Knight sang ‘I Am What I Am’ as made famous by Gloria Gaynor, whilst Elin Manahan Thomas performed the classical ‘Eternal Source of Light Divine’ by Handel and Denise Leigh sang the operatic, specially commissioned ‘Spirit in Motion’.

Coldplay will play the closing ceremony of the London 2012 Paralympic Games on September 9 at London’s Olympic Stadium as part of an event named the ‘Festival Of Flame’.

Coldplay singer Chris Martin said of the show: “Being asked to play at the closing celebrations for the Paralympic athletes in London is such a great honour for us. Kim Gavin and Misty Buckley are working hard to put on a spectacular Paralympic Games Closing Ceremony for the athletes and spectators in the stadium, and everyone watching around the world, and we are so happy to be involved.”