Saturday, 19 May 2012


Firstly, I should make my position clear. I’m not a fan of the Olympics. No one asked me if I wanted them inflicted on me. No one asked me if I wanted to be paying for them for the rest of my life. No one asked me if I was happy to put up with the disruption. No one asked!

This morning the 70 day Torch Relay kicked off from Lands End and the news coverage sparked the following text conversation………

Friend: What is the point of this torch thing? Why why why? And why are so many people enthused by it? What am I missing?

Friend: They are just talking about it but I have seen no actual footage of any actual torch carrying. Oh I am confused. It’s a PR exercise.

Me: The point is to try to drag in the needy, the misguided, the provincial and the indifferent into the Olympic Party. To unify the nation behind the Olympic ideal and to induce councils to spend money they haven’t got to prove what a great deal we are all getting out of this event. I think propaganda would be an appropriate word.

Mind you, the best thing about the last Olympics was Konnie Huq and the Torch Relay being attacked by Chinese dissidents in Ladbroke Grove. I can’t remember why the torch was in Ladbroke Grove in the first place but then again I DON’T CARE!

To be honest, my tongue did venture into my cheek during this statement but only to the extent that I wouldn’t have wished this  experience on Konnie Huq, or indeed anyone else, she seems to have had a tough time from both the Pro Tibet protesters and the Chinese torch guards. The rest of it really does reflect my opinion.

These are troubled times both with regard to the economy and the political situation. We are spending vast amounts of money on a few weeks of  “fun” and we are inviting those with an axe to grind to treat this event as a stage on which to forcefully present their views.

I’m not convinced by the legacy arguments. On the sporting front, history has shown that events like this do stimulate some people to take up some of these activities. Sadly, history also shows that it doesn’t take long for the vast majority of those people to fall back into their naturally lethargic state. As far as the social legacy is concerned, the basic fact is that if  “they” wanted to revitalise the East End, then “they” should have spent the money that has, suddenly and miraculously, become available for the Olympics directly in the area.

Of course we have gained a great deal from the Olympics.

Disruption to public transport.

Large payouts to transport staff for extra duties.

Disruption to local businesses.

Postal delays and surcharges on Parcelforce deliveries.

A proliferation of rather tacky imported Olympic souvenirs.

A confused and vastly overpriced ticketing system.

Sponsorship deals that are seemingly restricting the publics personal freedom to wear what they like, eat what they like and drink what they like.

Sponsorship deals that are seemingly in conflict with the spirit of the Olympics (burger and chips anyone?).

Sponsorship deals with organisations that some consider to be socially and politically incorrect.

Huge increases in private security including, according to many reports, the use of heavy handed and seemingly poorly trained operatives.

More armed police on the streets (and the river!) with heavy military backup..

Typhoon jets on standby.

Surface to air missiles on the roofs of residential and commercial premises.

Snipers on the ground and in helicopters.

The opportunity to pay through the nose for something many of us didn’t want.

The worst Olympic logo of all time.

……….and so much more.

Finally, I consider myself to be a tolerant person. If people want to support the Olympics, that’s fine by me, but tolerance goes both ways. I am tired of “personalities” and “celebrities” telling me to get off of my backside  to show my support for the whole show. I do have a mind of my own (after a fashion!) and am well able to form an opinion without their assistance and, although it’s too late to do anything about it, my opinion is……..

…….Not In My Back Yard!

I have no Olympic photographs to accompany this post.

No sportspersons, celebs, personalities, security operatives, military personnel, sports fans, games officials or politicians were harmed in the writing of this blog.

Other opinions are available.

I dedicate this post to the Grumpy Old Men of this fine nation.

That’s it, there is no more.


  1. Not to mention we won't be able to get into the 'legacy' Olympic park until 2013 and it won't be fully open until 2014 and it will cost £15 to go up the orbit tower and people are expected to pay £95 to travel by canal from Tottenham Hale to the OP and Russell Sq will be closed and full of portacabins and our eardrums risk being shattered by a sonic weapon and tfl are telling everyone that it's quicker to walk when we knew that already...

  2. I agree completely. There were so many things that I could have added to the list but, in the interests of my own sanity, I had to draw the line somewhere.

    If you pare it down to what it really is, a sporting event, then it probably does have some merit. It still wouldn't interest me, but I accept that sport is extremely popular, mostly with people who don't actually do any.

    The problem is with all the nonsense that goes on around sport these days. It has become a business, and more than that it has become show business, with vast amounts of money being thrown around and even larger amounts of money being made by those with their hands on the controls.

    The whole idea of the Olympics being a showcase for sporting endeavour, sport for sports sake, is completely undermined by the fact that most of the those at the top of their chosen sport are hardcore professionals, backed up by teams of trainers, therapists, sporting psychologists, technicians, agents and publicists. I don't begrudge them earning a good living after all, despite the above mentioned back up teams, the athletes themselves have to work bloody hard to get to the top. I don't really know where I'm going with this but it just seems to me that sport has evolved into something so far from its roots that perhaps it should be given another name. I think I'll stop now and go and have a lie down.

  3. My bugbear (apart from the torch thing!!) is the building of iconic buildings that will not be of much use after the event. I cannot fathom why we did not better play the ecology/sustainability card and erect more temporary venues, like the basketball arena, and the equestrian centre in Greenwich. Why does these venues need to be all bling? an Olympic pool needs to be a big shed with water and seats in it. That's all.
    Ditto, an opportunity missed re both opening and closing ceremonies which could have just been a speech ("in these days of recession etc we believe lavish shows are unnecessary and a waste of money....") followed by a rousing song and the athletes parade. After all, no one ever sees all the costumes and work that goes into these events except the people who made them. Even the TV cannot show every detail, and if you are 'lucky' enough to have a ticket for one of these event those same details will be hard to make out at a distance.
    Yes... a lie down... good idea...!

  4. Interesting fact; any idea who thought up the idea of an Olympic torch replay? The Nazis for the 1936 games.

    I have actually bought tickets for the paralympic games, I could only use my Visa credit card to buy them with as this is an official partner. I would have tried to get some for the Olympics today as they went on sale at 11, but we don't get paid until Friday and we have no money left this month.

  5. Oh good, we can now throw the Nazis into the mix.

    Although the Olympics are quite obviously firmly in the grasp of the corporate dollar, even I would be hard pushed to suggest that the dictatorship is on the scale of that notorious regime.........still, don't try to enter the Olympic Park wearing a Burger King, Carlsberg or Mastercard tshirt........and definitely don't try to use the rings or the 2012 logo for anything at all unless you've paid through the nose for the privilege. The reprisals could be ugly!

  6. We've got tickets for Paralympic Athletics - a fiver each. Free travel across London too. We went to to the synchronised diving in the London Prepares series. The venue was stunning and the performances - even from the losers was breath-taking. But you just take from it what suits you - free water on site and the rules say I can't take in a sword, but nothing about packed lunches. To write out such a detailed list of negatives it must be affecting you. Indifference is perhaps a better weapon. But do you know what worries me most - I'm begining to like that wretched LOGO - and I'm a graphic designer. Should I start a course of counselling?
    The torch nearest me involves bacon butties being served at a small riverside park at 7.30am in the morning. It will never happen again. Hungry already. I hear the torches make quite good cheesegraters.
    I raise a glass (or torch) to all GOM. My husband is one - ha ha! Well, sometimes.

  7. I don't do indifference very well LOL

    The water is free if you remember to take an empty bottle and fill it from one of the fountains onsite. Bottled water will be £1.60

    As far as the Logo is concerned, I'm afraid that the Lisa Simpson image is now firmly locked in my brain!...but perhaps that says more about me than it should LOL.

    I really do hope that the Olympics are a peaceful and successful affair, I'd hate to go through all of this disruption and expense for nothing.

    Enjoy your events, a fiver is a very reasonable price to pay for a couple of hours entertainment, sadly, I don't think that many of the tickets hit that price point.

  8. There are some advantages in being over 60!
    The free water at London Prepares was accompanied by beakers - our bottles were confiscated at security. But thanks for the warning.

  9. I'm also over 60, but not enough over to have received my Freedom Card yet but Boris has promised to rectify that. Let's hope that he keeps his promise...........and soon!