QUICK! RUN AND HIDE
24th July 2012
QUICK! RUN AND HIDE; the Olympics are coming! DO NOT attempt to leave your house and may Boris have mercy on your soul if you even think about wanting to use public transport.
How are you feeling about the Olympics? Excited about the wonderful display of muscle, spandex and determination? Thrilled to know that East London is having a face-lift worthy of the sunshine state? Totes emoshballs about showing off our beautiful capital?
Well it seems, for the majority of people, the answer is NOPEBALLS (last one I swear).
Last month I asked both twittersphere and actual real live people about how they were feeling about the looming Olympic games. Approximately 90% of the responses were between total apathy or abject hatred. When I asked my director he just made a noise like a balloon losing it's air and shrugged his shoulders. I think he summed up beautifully how many people are feeling: a bit 'Meh'.
Why have so many of us turned into Olympics grinches (try saying that without your teeth)? If only there was a medal for grinchiness - there would be some stiff competition this year.
The run-up to the Olympics has felt a little like pregnancy: slowly moving towards something you formerly thought you wanted only to gradually get that sinking feeling that you are in for a rough ride. Not only are you going to pay through the nose for the privileged but you are about to experience severe logistical torment.
So what is going on?
First impressions are notoriously hard to shake and our first encounter with the Olympics was the logo. Some may say that it is a charming, I say it's messy and the colours don't go - it looks like one of my outfits from the 90's. This is a mild compared to some of the more creative likenings. Someone particularly creative noted that it looked like Lisa Simpson giving London a blowjob. And with a £400,000 design bill it was not a good start to our relationship with the 2012 games.
Moving on. When asked which issue most concerns people there is a clear winner: transport. It's hardly surprising. Playing the daily game of sardines on the Central Line in 40 degrees heat is an exercise in zen-like calm. So the thought of adding an armageddon-like sea of tourists to the mix is mind-boggling. When I typed 'Olympics Travel' into google the first hit is 'GetAheadOfTheGames.com: Considered your travel options yet? Perhaps try walking or cycling." Ta.
But I am going to try and exorcise my Olympics Grinch because I don't want to become like the Notting Hill Carnival Party-poopers. Every year a gang of residents call for the carnival to be stopped because it disrupts a whole weekend. Well, unless you moved there before 1966, the carnival was there first. It is also an amazing (and rare) opportunity for a great big mega-mish-mash of dancing, horn-blowing, bum-wiggling fun. Of course it is sad that a small percentage cause disruption but the good that comes from it far outweighs the bad.
Here are a few factoids that make me warm to the Olympics:
1) Porridge. The Olympic stadium was officially made on porridge. With 28% of the stadium construction workers classed as obese, 41% considered to be overweight and the majority of the work-force living off takeaways, the management decided to dish out free porridge to encourage the work-force to be healthier. The result was a drop in pre lunch-hour fatigue and therefore a decrease in accidents. Gold medal to the oats.
2) 100meter-long catwalk. Stella McCartney designed the Team GB kit. Nuff said.
3) Culture. The Cultural Olympiad is a great way to discover new bits of London and the ‘Secrets: Hidden London - Nothing is Set In Stone’ project is so unusual that I gotta see it with my own eyeballs. http://festival.london2012.com/events/9000961934
4) Holly Bleasdale. The choc-ice-loving, pole vaulting 20 year old from Wigan. Because pole-vaulting has got to be the kookiest sport there is and she is bloody brilliant at it. Must be sooo useful in the January sales.
5) Bums. British volleyball players Zara Dampney and Shauna Mulin are going to capitalise on their toned assets and have a Quick Response code printed onto their derrieres. I'm looking forward to how this new style of advertising progresses - perhaps we could ask the men's 100 meter sprinters to follow suit on their front bottoms....
A little bit like hearing the drunken confessions of your boss at a Christmas party, these personal nuggets of information are helping me to warm to the Olympics. I’m not going to give up on them until we’re at least on speaking terms. I may not want to hug the mascots or wear the t-shirt but I do wish all the participants, attendees, tourists and tube drivers all the best as I tuck into a delicious new box set.