Of all the animals of prey, man is the only sociable one.
Every one of us preys upon his neighbour, and yet we herd together.
The Beggar's Opera: John Gay

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Olympics? Enough, already!

This morning, from the BBC news website :
LATEST: LIVE   Watch the Olympic torch pass through the North Wales countryside on day 11 of the relay
Er.. thanks, but I think I'll give it a miss; I have something I like to call 'a life'.

I'm starting to wonder whether all this fuss is some kind of national aversion therapy; are they actually trying to get us so sick of the idea that we stay away - or even leave the country - in droves and the prophesied traffic chaos in the capital is averted?

A trip up north at the weekend took us past motorway signs urging us to plan our journey wisely during the Olympics - 250 miles from London and 60-odd days before the event.

Meanwhile, even the GCSE papers are in on the act - in last week's PE paper, the multiple choice question, "Which of the following is a gateway to physical activity?"  offered, as one answer, "Volunteering to help at the London Olympic Games." It's being marketed to the young with a shocking degree of cynicism, given the startling  amount of commercial and marketing interest involved.

Don't get me wrong; I'm quite happy for talented athletes to enjoy a fortnight of running and jumping - though preferably not at my expense - but, for those of us who preferred to skulk in the library on gym afternoons, it seems a little excessive to expect us to develop a sudden enthusiasm out of the blue, even before you add in the irritation of all those dignitaries on freebies and junkets.

By the time the Olympics arrive, complete with toe-curling opening ceremony and draconian restrictions imposed on spectators by the corporate sponsors, I susupect much of the population will be so fed up that they just turn their backs and do something more interesting instead, leaving the authorities to rely heavily on the brainwashed.

It won't, of course, be a damp squib; as American political rallies depressingly illustrate, throw enough money and effort at whipping a crowd into a semblance of ecstatic hysteria and they'll be waving their little flags fit to bust, convinced they are having the time of their lives and providing that essential video footage to suggest unanimous public approval.

But I can't help feeling that, like 8-year-olds at a birthday party, those who do choose to get involved will have been worked up into such a frenzy of expectation in advance that the real thing may turn out to be a disappointment, ending in  squabbles, sick and tears before bedtime.


  1. Thank god! I thought it was just me...

  2. If the response to Gildas' post on the subject is anything to go by, there's a fair few of us about...

  3. My journeys are already planned in detail. They will be to and from the drinks cabinet and to and from the music CD collection for the duration.

  4. I like sporting events too, but not the ultra-competitive stuff and certainly not the Olympics.

    There's something not right about the Olympics, something political and sleazy.

  5. Well said, Demetrius! I hope you've built in some blogging time too.

    AKH, I've always had an aversion to organised sport (too much of people telling you what to do) and its implications; it seems bizarre - and more than a little creepy - to produce such an elaborate spectacle to celebrate one person or team's physical superiority over another.