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And so the madness begins…

Exactly one year from now the London Olympics will start. Oh, how I look forward to it. I’d really, really be looking forward to it if I lived in London. Well, I’d really be looking forward to getting anywhere else on the planet. “We’ve only got self-catering in Mogadishu left sir”. “I’ll take it!”

I saw Seb Coe wittering on about it on the telly box this morning. He was on about how it was already helping everyone. He noted it was currently employing 12,000 people. Lord Coe or Lord Keynes I wondered? Quite frankly they could employ 12,000 people to clean the highways of Britain with toothbrushes to much the same effect. This is not productive work as such. Indeed most of the facilities will be at least partially dismantled after the sports day is over. Seeing as the total cost of this caper is allegedly £12 billion to the taxpayer my modest proposal would have just to have given 12,000 random Brits a million quid each to do with as they will. Some undoubtedly would spend it on slow horses and fast women and the rest would squander it (maybe settting-up businesses and such). That’s a stimulus I can believe in! Oh and we could have tossed the ball over the Channel. Paris really wanted it. I guarantee whilst our humble pie might not taste as sweet as the cake they’d be eating it would ultimately be more nutritious.

But what about the regenerative effects for the local area? Well, Olympic 400m gold medalist Christine Ohuruogu who hails from that neck of the woods doesn’t seem to think it’s engaging the interest of local kids which is a shame because getting kids into doing sport was a primary stated aim of the whole boondoggle. And then of course if you are a local water-borne resident you’re out because you make the place look “untidy” and might upset the “dignitaries”. I seem to recall hearing something like that happened just last year in South Africa for the World Cup in case Mr Step Ladder got upset and became Mr Slack Bladder.

I hate the way the Olympics is conceived. It is pure bread and circuses (without the bread) run by and for the air-con, 5*, Learjet elites. It is quite simply the most absurdly top-down thing. It’s like the circus coming to town, demanding you pay for the big-top and the wages of all the clowns whether you want to see the whole ghastly spectacle or not. I mean is it even possible to enjoy watching the 10,000m? A load of folks going round and round and round whilst Brendan Foster drones on interminably about “tactics”.

I’m maybe being unfair to circuses here. They, like the Olympics, promise the “Greatest Show on Earth” yet do it off their own bat don’t they? Surely if that Olympic promise is true then the games could be run at a profit?

P T Barnum managed it.

25 Comments

  1. Kevin B says:

    I was listening to Talk Sport in the car this morning and they were going large on the whole ‘only one year to the Olympics’ bit. Trouble was, nine out of ten of the texts, e-mails, tweets and calls they were getting ranged from cynical to downright hostile to the whole useless thing.

    Most of those correspondents from Birmingham, Liverpool, Newcastle and other points north of Watford or West of Slough were of the opinion that it was a London thing and would only benefit the soft southerners who get all the perks anyway, whereas those who live in the nation’s capital felt that it would be a load of disruption and that the cost would fall on their wallets since they pay for the whole bloody country anyway.

    Talk Sport wheeled on some English Olympic champion bird who gamely wittered on about the ‘legacy’ and how the cheeldren would cease being fatty couch potatoes and turn into super fit athletes, while the presenters waxed lyrical about women’s beach volleyball, but I could sense their hearts weren’t in it and they couldn’t wait to get back to rabbitting on about whether Arsene had lost the plot or Fergie had something up his sleeve in the transfer market.

    Me, I’m already pissed of that I won’t be able to get to my golf course ‘cos some load of ponces in lycra will be riding their push bikes round the area.

    Still, once the disruption has died down and the expense has been re-mortgaged to China, I shall eagerly await my portion of the legacy.

  2. razorbacker says:

    *P T Barnum managed it.*

    True, but P.T. had an edge. In his day, the freakshow was not on every glowing screen in every hovel on earth. In his day, you had to go to the circus to see the freakshow.

    I’d like to see him compete today.

  3. “My modest proposal would have just to have given 12,000 random Brits million quid each to do with as they will.”

    This is a brilliant idea and would actually do some good.

  4. Did I really hear today that they spent £269m on a swimming pool? :-0

  5. NickM says:

    razorbacker,

    P T Barnum would merely sell the TV rights D’oh!

  6. Ian B says:

    It really kind of sums up everything wrong with our world, all at once, doesn’t it?

  7. I recall being stuck in a jam on the M1 when the decison was announced over the radio, and I was crestfalled and everyone around me was punching the air (presumably in celebration?) Since then the highlight for me was Tessa Jowells announcing that the cost had increased slightly because, you know they had forgotten to include VAT on the first figure!

    I work in construction and if a graduate quantity surveyor made such a howler on a hundred grand project, first, he wouldn’t because it would be checked, and second he would be sacked. But old Tessa plodded on. Given that the government received the VAT anyway it struck me as all a bit odd.

    Just a jumped up sports day ~ at least the Romans got to see meaningful competition. Who cares about the hop, skip and jump or the womens shot-put, or the 200 metres backstroke, or the diving etc etc ad nauseum……

  8. Stonyground says:

    I have to say that I will enjoy watching fit women wearing tiny scraps of lycra on my television.

    Were I to be in receipt of the hypothetical million, my response would be to cease productive work instantly. Many workers would, no doubt, benefit due to me spending some of the windfall, particularly those who work in Hinckley.

  9. PT Barnum says:

    As my namesake said, ‘The noblest art is that of making others happy’ and the roll call of happy people is pretty short with these Olympics: Coe, Boris, fans of beach volleyball and the IOC for all the freebies.

    £12 billion would have built a lovely colliseum and bought some nice weaponry for the disgruntled citizenry of this nation with which to test the mettle of their elected representatives who would present themselves for a public meeting with their constitutents. Now that would raise morale no end. And no one would complain about it being in London.

  10. RAB says:

    Hands up all of you who have actually attended a Track and Field event that wasn’t your school’s sports day? Swimming and diving Gala then?. Water Polo or Hockey match ? No, thought not.

    Now how many of you have been to a Football match (all discipines including American and Australian Rules) Cricket match, Golf or Tennis Tournament?… Yep thought so.

    See the stuff we want to watch, sells! The stuff we wouldn’t cross the road for has to be vastly subsidised.

    Now I won’t detract from the actual athletes themselves, they are highly disciplined and skilled (possibly doped to the eyeballs, but that’s bye the bye ;-) ) But who the fuck actually wants to watch someone throw a Javelin, Discus, shot, jump a long jump, pole vault etc? And I speak as someone who did all those in my youth (whichever teacher put me in for the Shot though, I feel must have been taking the piss bigtime!). Nobody is going to say at the end of the nine plus seconds of the 100 metre sprint final that that was the best £100 they ever spent are they???

    As to all the add on sports, well fuck me sideways! Squash? how do you actually see that live? ok glass walls, but even so, reminds me of the Two Ronnies sketch. Synchronised swimming?? What can you actually see there? The judges are only allowed to judge what they see above the water not under it (which might actually be interesting), and what they see is a bunch of birds flapping their legs about as if to say… Help! we’ve got our hands stuck in the outflow vent!

    The Olympics was reinvented in 1894 for Nation to mingle with Nation in a spirit brotherhood and healthy competitiveness, not war. Been a wonderful success so far hasn’t it?

    Now it is Nation shall boast, and speak wank unto Nation, about how fuckin cool their opening Ceremony is, no matter how many medals they fail to get, at punitive cost to all the poor fucking Taxpayers of the host country who really couldn’t give a toss for any of it fuckin fireworks and all.

    And it’s not just the pointless sports, there’s an Arts and Culture element built in too! There are fatuous events going on up and down the country, that are costing millions all on their pointless own.

    I kid you not folks, but if you live in London and you are woken up sometime soon at 6am by some very strange etherial sounds coming from the sky, don’t reach for your shotgun (or please do!) thinking the aliens are coming, it’s just six hot air balloons from Bristol, cos some twat thinks it’s Art, is a cool idea, has a fuckin grant for it, and deludedly somehow thinks it has the remotest connection with people in shorts, trainers and sweaty jockstraps.

  11. oop north says:

    I will not watch the high jinx unless it interrupts Slebs Cum Dancing Underwater on Ice or something, so the event clearly leaves me cold.

    In the meanwhile, an architect praised for a bold design of swimming pool fielded a question on radio today about how the cost had skyrocketed (or bellyflopped?) but smugly pointed out the original cost was just for construction. It was all the other things that added to the cost.

    Like, er, filling it with water?

  12. Cascadian says:

    Let the games begin, I don’t mean the boring crap the freeloading government employee athletes compete in.

    I want to see the squirming and hopping competitions as politicians realise the final cost of construction, security, and infrastructure upgrades-whoopsadaisy how did it get that high. I want to see the gridlock as honored IOC members us the near empty zil-lanes and the peasants cannot get to work. I want to see the gridlock at all airports and the frustrated bike lane users. I want to see the assembled throngs trying to get into stadiums three hours before events for security checks, I want to hear about the famous British ineptitude at providing edible foodstuffs. I eagerly anticipate the headlines of “brave” UK athletes as the tumble out of the medal competitions. I want to see the announcement that “sadly games revenues fell short of expenditures” by several billions.

    Oh yes I am going to enjoy this, the “games” are going to produce some world-class apologising and excuse making.

  13. Laird says:

    Great rant, RAB! So true. I’m certainly glad that Chicago lost its bid for the [2020? whatever] Olympics. We’d all (US taxpayers) have gotten stuck with the tab.

    But I have to say that watching a flock of hot air balloons float by is kind of cool. And they’re really not at all noisy.

  14. RAB says:

    No no Laird, these aint yer ordinary Balloons, they are artistic balloons! Bristol is the hot air balloon capital of the world. When I have guests they sometimes look out the window and get very excited….

    Look at this!

    Hmmm I say, balloons. No big deal. They fly all year round here, weather permitting.

    No these have loudspeakers on them playing Whale music or the theme from Close Encounters or some such shit like that, and what the fuck it has to do with Lynford Christie or Daly Thompson and their ilk is beyond anyone’s understanding.

    Glad you liked the rant though. ;-)

  15. Lynne says:

    Bringing the 2012 Olympics to the UK and lying about the outrageous cost (which fooled no one but themselves). Just one in a long, long line of taxpayer punishing crimes against common sense and fiscal decency Blair and his muppets should be brought to book for.

    Not content with felching our wallets, they compounded this particular crime by foisting that fucking embarassing logo on us!

  16. Has anyone seen a more pitiful spectacle than some drone who has tried and failed to get tickets, you know, finite number, excess demand, some people unsatisfied due to laws of mathematics, so complain to the Beeb?

    I saw this one dunderhead who had applied for athletics and somehow due to what I understand is a lottery type allocation system (but have not been paying close attention) ended up about £200 wrong for four basketball tickets and he was actually quite pleased?

  17. Roue le Jour says:

    I love circuses, me. (Circii?) Especially the trapeze girls. As there are none of those in the Olympics I guess I won’t be watching.

    Hey, RAB, my sports master made do shot put coz I was useless at footie and it kept me out of the way. I must have been seven or eight stone at the time. Obviously I didn’t need a lot of room, a couple of yards in the corner was fine.

    Last time I was in Oz, me and the bird went for a swim in the Olympic pool. We parked in a deserted car park and I’m like, “Is this actually open? There’s no one here.” Full staff for four customers it turned out. “Investment” in the Brownian sense, I think.

  18. Andrew Duffin says:

    @Rab – Hockey match, yes.

    But then proper hockey is not played in a field, as you probably know.

  19. NickM says:

    “…that fucking embarassing logo”

    You forgot to mention “expensive”.

    also seeing as to any reasonable person it resembles nothing more than Lisa Simpson performing horatio and is therefore arguably illegal under the provisions of the section 63 of the Criminal Justice and Immigration act of 2008.

    SAOT,
    The ticket allocation scheme is a deeply indicative. They basically don’t care who sees what as long as they have bums on seats. They should have sold at market rates – maybe by auction. Now if that meant seeing the men’s 100m final would cost a grand and the early heats of the women’s shot-put cost tuppence then so be it. It is the way of things. And is at least as fair as someone who really wants to see the horse jumping winding-up with tickets for the 200m individual medley in the pool. It’s a bizarr form of equality which is iniquitous. I’m mean if you’re the third best women at chucking a cannonball in Kazakhstan you’ve probably still kept up the day job. Has Usain Bolt? I mean does he still have his paper round? Yeah, right. Having said that it would be the fastest paper round in the world. Possibly challenging the principles of special relativity.

    RAB,
    On that form you should have done the Olympic post and not me. Gold medal!

    In general though why have it in a city? Why not a country? If so then the excellent facilities Manchester* has from the Commonwealth Games could have been used. Including an aquatics centre, a velodrome etc… I mean if there is to be a “legacy” (other than debt) from such jamborees surely it is to re-use the facilities for other top notch sporting capers? But no, they have to have all the athletes together in an “Olympic village” which if you ask me is just a shag-fest. Fine so these fit, attractive, young folks want a couple of weeks of screwing they can book a Club 18-30 clap-tour to Ibiza off their own bat like everyone else.

    *And not just Manchester. They are/have built specially for the Olympics a white-water kayaking centre in Hertfordshire. Whatever happened to the National Water Sports Centre in Nottinghamshire.

  20. richard says:

    Feet slap, lungs wheeze, stuff gets thrown. So what? The point is, how many people will have their entire working lives taxed to pay for this overgrown sports-day? They (we) have no choice in the matter. It’s unethical.

  21. RAB says:

    You are obviously referring to the On Frozen Pond variety of Hockey arn’t you Andrew. Now that definately is worth paying to see!

    It’s a bugger trying to actually follow the puck though, but who’s bothered, it’s the body checks, slamming the opposition into the boards and the fights that we come to see innit?

    It’s become quite big in Britain over the last decade or two. I’ve been to see the Cardiff Devils a few times now.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cardiff_Devils

    Field Hockey is actually discriminatory you know, the Trevor Phillips Massive should have it banned. It is impossible to play if you are left handed, think of Bullying off for instance. It’s all a sinister plot against us lefties I tell you! ;-)

  22. @ Nick M

    “They basically don’t care who sees what as long as they have bums on seats”

    Of course, this had not occured to me. It’s so they don’t have to show empty arenas for crap sports (which in all honesty is most of the olympics).

  23. Sam Duncan says:

    “how the cheeldren would cease being fatty couch potatoes and turn into super fit athletes”

    This is always the excuse for tax-subsidised sports days, and I’ve always felt it was a particularly insidious argument because the idea that the state should be encouraging healthy activity is so hard to argue against. It’s like saying schools shouldn’t. But the rejoinder to this struck me just the other day, and it’s really quite simple:

    It’s bollocks.

    Absolute balderdash. A load of baloney. Simply and entirely untrue. The most powerful force in encouraging British kids to get up off their arses and run about isn’t state propaganda spots on the telly; it’s professional football, which, with the odd inexcusable exception of a “National Stadium” or two, is entirely un-subsidized. The country goes tennis-mad for a fortnight every summer because of Wimbledon. Again, unsubsidized.

    And the main reason football’s so big and so powerful (compared to tennis, which disappears again every July) is that it’s cheap. All you need is a ball and somewhere – anywhere – to kick it around. So the idea that even if the taxpayer doesn’t have to pay for quadrennial beanfeasts and televisual exhortations, he surely has to build sports centres and playing fields, is also a pile of horseshit.

    If Eurodave was serious about saving money, he’d hand the entire DCMS their P45s tomorrow. That he hasn’t already is proof positive that he isn’t.

  24. NickM says:

    Absolutely Sam, jumpers for goal-posts and the incentive of there being a very small chance of being a multi-millionaire by 20. Similar can be said for boxing. Yes, you need facilities but in terms of land area they are tiny.

  25. bloke in spain says:

    What I’d like to see is the documented evidence on the fat kid who hauled his arse off of the sofa & got some exercise because of a major sorting event. Just one fat kid. Just the one.
    Hasn’t anyone ever worked out the point of being a fat kid is that they’re incapable of any sports apart from darts & sumo. If they go try & do a 100m sprint or pole vaulting people piss themselves laughing. Not a big confidence builder for the flabby fifteen year-old is it.
    And why is sport supposed to be good for your health anyway? Back end of the news is always about whether some bloke or other has recovered from the groin-strain enough to play Saturday. I don’t know anyone who indulges in sport who isn’t carrying an injury. Visitor I had over here recently was trailing coming up the hill. Badminton injury he reckons. Badminton? That’s bloody shuttlecock. That’s not even a proper sport now is it? How the hell’d you get injured playing shuttlecock? Fall asleep during a rally & bang your head on the net post? (And I don’t need some all-England shuttlecock champion coming on & boasting about how tough he is. It’s not even a game for girls. It’s for the under 10′s on the back lawn over the clothes line.)
    Nobody needs to run round Central London in under 2hours something minutes whatever. That’s why we’ve got the bloody Circle Line.

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