Motivated by a drive into Manchester along Mount road in Gorton (and being struck by the impact of London 2012 on the area) and a memory of the dismissive attitude our metropolitan friends towards Manchester’s commonwealth games, I felt I had to write something about the Olympics before the opening ceremony this evening.
I have been thinking about this post for weeks and it will still come across as grumpy. But no, wait, the media, especially the BBC, led by the Olympic station Five Live, has now decreed that we should stop being cynical, its time to celebrate this “Once in a lifetime” event. Could it be that legions of BBC presenters and their armies of underlings have now received their Access All Areas passes and tickets and are getting giddy?
So just a few thoughts on some aspects of London 2012:
The Olympic Committee; like FIFA but more corrupt and for a longer time.
Those Olympic traffic lanes:how many athletes will be actually using them, if they are all in a purpose built Olympic village in east London close to the venues? Or are they just for the convenience of murderous Bahraini princes and Serbian ticket touts staying in expensive West End Hotels? Part of me hopes for mass civil disobedience, convoys of plumbers vans and milk floats clogging them up, where is facebook on this?
LOCOG’s jobsworths: hardly bull terrier attack dogs, more like a cross between a Jack Russell and Deryck Guyler from On the Buses, bullying butchers in the Midlands over Olympic ring sausages. Trying to stop businesses actually combining words like London , Gold, silver, Olympics etc… Read more here
The all powerful sponsors: or “partners” We are such poor negotiators with these companies. Amongst many other things , they have too many places on the torch relay. I watched TV last night as one young torch bearer stood on a stage in Hyde Park and spoke about “what an honour, inspirational journey AND THANKS TO COCA COLA for giving me such an amazing opportunity”
The torch relay itself, basically a good thing that has brought these Olympics to millions, but then we have Jedward, Will.I.am and Paloma fahking Faith (Have you heard that woman speak rather than sing? A human cheese grater !) in the vanguard of so many pointless celebs participating – almost 5000 of the 8000 allocated places were controlled by Lloyds TSB, Coca Cola , Samsung and other commercial partners
Strikers: Border guards, Bus drivers and Underground workers wanting £1000 extra during the Olympics. You should be glad you have work.
The endless ticket scandals and distribution cockups, shock horror… foreign agencies in some countries are basically touts, while the close families of our swimmers, cyclists and gymnasts who have devoted their lives to supporting them can’t get tickets to see them compete.
G4S security, how can you award a contract to any company whose CEO’s hairstyle was inspired by 70’s pop band Chicory Tip? The short answer is that there was probably no-one else.
That bloody tower; The AccelorMittal Orbit. It looks like Blackpool tower after a thermonuclear attack but not as high and costing more to ascend.This heap of scrap cost £20 million (fortunately £16 million of which was a vanity buy by an Indian Steel magnate) and then that logo, a year to create and £400,000….
The Cultural Olympiad , also known as WTF 2012, from Shakespeare in over 100 languages to synchronised bell ringing. The vast majority of the events naturally within the M25.
The concept of Legacy, 2012’s addition to The Dictionary of Verbal Evisceration. A word as overused today as Inspirational, Absolutely, Amazing, Like and Journey. Isn’t a legacy is something that follows a death?
Although, to be even-handed, yours truly, now Mr Grumpy, was not complaining in 1992 as he was lucky enough to spend some time at the Barcelona Olympics; saw Derek Redmond and his Dad in the ill fated 400m race, watched Colin Jackson in the 110m hurdles final and later walked down through the Olympic park from Montjuic with loudspeakers playing Barcelona by Freddie Mercury and Monserrat Caballe. Met people from all over the world on the Ramblas and swapped those little souvenir pin badges before returning to the privilege of staying on Xerox’s specially chartered cruise liner in the port.
One of the most abiding memories was the first live medal ceremony I saw in the stadium, it was for the men’s hammer and on the podium were three Russians, during their anthem, with the Russian flag being raised I recall wondering how would it be if it was God Save The Queen was playing, if the Union Jack was moving up the flagstaff , how would it be if that was your son up there…?
So at it’s real core, the Olympics remain a fine thing , capable of arousing honest admiration and wonder. We need, though, to retain our sceptism to stop the corrupt from taking over.
Enjoy Radcliffe’s finest, Danny Boyle’s production tonight.