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The Olympics 2012

This ought to be filed under “not exactly a surprise really”.

Now, I am recalling this figure from memory but I have a vague idea that the Global Sports Day (and undoubtedly a Mecca for terrorists – especially if we join the Septics in Tomahawking Persia to no discernible effect other than to make those fuckers more Irate than Iran – is set to cost 20 billion quidlings.

But it’s an investment innit? And the first pay-back is that sports fans from the entire globe shall descend upon London. Now call me silly but I have lived in London (Stepney E1) and during the summer London is packed to the rafters with tourists. My wife did her MA at the University of Westminster and her flat over-looked the epic, nay Biblical, queue outside Madame Tussard’s. My point is that there is more than enough stuff in London to keep Herr Hamburger of Hamburg and Fukushima-san of the Japanese Radiological Wastelands occupied. Hell’s teeth Dr Johnson (of dictionary fame) once said, “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life”. Exactly. London is the finest city on the planet (of those I’ve been to anyway) and I love it dearly because I honestly can’t think of anywhere else with quite the vibe.

But…

a survey by the European Tour Operators Association (ETOA), which suggested the UK capital could suffer a slump in visitors next summer.

The survey of 28 of its leading members, responsible for two million tourists a year, indicated tour operators to the UK were experiencing an average 90% downturn in bookings during the London Olympic Games.

So where is the payback on this “investment”? The big stadium (a snip at half a billion – a couple of destroyers at least surely?) is going to be partially dismantled after the month-long caper is over. Or given to West Ham or something equally ghastly (thanks Tessa!). Of course we now have Jeremy Hunt riding the noble steed that is Culture, Media and Sport. Oh, what epic wank! I mean if the Tories really wanted to be different they would have chucked that cabinet post on the scrap-heap. But it’s terribly important Nick! Yes, it is, and that is why government ought to have nothing whatsoever to do with it. Anyway Newcastle are third in the premiership and that has nowt to do with anything other than scoring more goals than the opposition. Jeremy Hunt scored none of those goals. Jeremy Hunt is his own rhyming slang.

But let’s face facts. When London won the Olympics Jonathan Pearce of Samizdata (and a Pimlico resident) summed his feelings over this Great Privilege up in two words. I think they were, “Oh fuck!”. A hit, a palpable hit. Now the linked article is of Scottish origin and our jockulent cousins see London 2012 as an opportunity. Well, fair play to them! Certainly I am more likely to go North than South next year. Or possibly to Croatia (or maybe a “Dracula trip” to Romania and Bulgaria. I have kinda a Euro tick-list and I have seen most of it. I have actually been to Croatia but that was commie at the time and extremely dull. Though the ice cream was good. General principle of communism – 95% of everything sucks but 5% is done extremely well.

11 Comments

  1. Ian B says:

    Well, I’ve been in the “oh fuck” category since they first started up on the whole thing too. I was living in the area at the time, on the Eastern hinterland of Hackney Marsh, and at the declaration that this would “regenerate” the area, my heart sank like a stone, and I wasn’t even officially a libertarian back then.

    Where I was living was pretty much the last cheap area in London within a shouting distance of the centre. Full of foreigners, particularly Turks, nice little local shop that sold lovely cherries I liked to make into crumbles; the kind of place I wanted to and needed to live in, because it was, as the saying goes, “affordable”. Kind of place infrastructural workers for central London could live in. Oh, and a nice walk up along the Lea past the reservoirs, and the boat club, to Tottenham Hale, if I fancied some shopping or an acquisatory riot. I think I read they’d kicked the boat people out already, to make room for the Olympic rowers.

    So, the ruination of a “real” community to replace it with more “development”, that is, places only richer people can afford to live in. (Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against development. I am against State managed “development” when you spend a trillion pounds on a white elephant, kick everybody out by compulsory purchase orders, then tell everyone it was a bargain).

    The whole thing is a calamity on a Titanic scale. I pity those who are still living there, and especially those whose homes and businesses were there and are there no more. All for Lord Seb Coe’s folly. He’ll do all right out of it, no doubt.

  2. RAB says:

    The fuckin Govt bastards have trousered £750,000 worth of tickets for themselves and their VIP mates too. The women’s Beach Volleyball appears to be particularly popular, bet Boris Johnson has front row seats for that.

    Add that to the Zil lanes getting the fuckers to and from in style, and the complete clusterfuck the rest of the transport system will be in, no tourist in his right mind would want to be there. I certainly won’t. Thank god I live in Bristol.

    Let’s really go for in England! Let’s see if we can run the biggest disaster of an Olympic games since, oh I don’t know, Rome?

  3. Ian B says:

    I don’t know why, if they must have a regular sports jamboree, they don’t just build a bunch of stadia in Greece and hold the fucker there every time. I really don’t.

  4. Sam Duncan says:

    “set to cost 20 billion quidlings.”

    Yeah, ‘cos it’s not like we’re short of money or anything. (I’m thinking of doing a post with that as the title. “Cuts”? Hah!) It’s not as if the government’s borrowing 3 billion a week.

    It might be an opporchancity for us next year, but we’ve got the Empire Games in 2014 (because it’s not like… etc.). They’ve started on the Zil lanes already, but they’re being sneaky: they’re calling ‘em “bus lanes”. New bowling greens in Kelvingrove Park, too. They look exactly like the old ones. And they built them over the summer; I suppose there’s a good reason for that (well, let’s give them the benefit of the doubt), but it meant the old blokes couldn’t get a game this year. Money well spent.

  5. Angry Exile says:

    Seem to recall reading something similar a few months back. Going from memory, so I could have details wrong, some study or other found that fewer tourists went to Olympic cities while it was on because they expected the place to rammed with sports fans, every hotel for miles around to have long been booked to capacity of beyond, and for locals to be ripping the arse out of the prices for the whole time it was on. So they think sod it and go somewhere else instead. The tourists aren’t supplemented by Games visitors so much as supplanted by them, and sometimes it puts off a greater number of tourists than the number of Games visitors who’ll come instead. None of which I’d find all that objectionable if the businesses and people who hope to gain, but probably won’t, were paying for the bloody thing. Probably I shouldn’t moan, not being a UK taxpayer and all, but we have the Melbourne Grand Prix here and it costs Victorian taxpayers about $50m each and every year for four bloody days so I can sympathise with everyone who’s being shaken down to pay for the Olympics.

  6. RAB says:

    Don’t be daft Ian mun! Having a perminent site is way too logical.

    What would those poor International Olympic Committee members do all day if they wern’t allowed to jet around the planet first class, staying in the 5 stars, picking up bribes, backhanders and solid gold prezzies from prospective hopeful host nations?

  7. mike says:

    “Though the ice cream was good. General principle of communism – 95% of everything sucks but 5% is done extremely well.”

    Or… 1% ice cream, 99% flake.

  8. NickM says:

    Angry,
    Exactly. As I said, much though I love London wild horses couldn’t entice me there during the Games. I will though take you up on one thing. The accomodation situation isn’t so much the planet’s sports fans turning-up as IOC liggers as RAB said. Anyway, the IOC has been conclusively out-done in recent years by the epic corruption of FIFA and UEFA. My wife knows Russia well and reckons the World Cup there shall be a disaster (and as to Qatar…) and next year’s European championships in Poland and the Ukraine… Well the word on the Polish street is Poland is pretty set for it but the Ukraine has done nowt.

  9. wiggiatlarge says:

    Ian,it was seriously suggested at the time of the Athens games that a permanent site (Athens as the home of the Olympics) should be considered ,as all the previous had lost money big time and it was a solution.
    No joy of course as that would have meant the IOC losing out on all sorts of largesse and the worlds sports bodies likewise ,so Athens facilities lie rotting and join all the ,well nearly all,stadia around the globe in the same state with some of them still i believe being paid for by you know who.

  10. RAB says:

    To broaden this out a bit here, the Olympics seems to me, to be a 19th Century noble Utopian dream that, like the United Nations and the EU has got totally out of hand, and is no longer fit for purpose.

    It was supposed to bring nations together under the rules of sportsmanship and show them that war was no longer nessessary to achieve their aims. Politeness and good manners would prevail.

    Spectacular Fail there then!

    The Olympics has now decended into a kind of Sporting X Factor. It doesn’t matter who wins the most medals (china and Russia used to do and still do largely, because they spend so much money and effort on these sports that nobody actually wants to pay to watch, oh and they cheat like buggery! to prove how “Superior Communism is da yadda…). Now it is all down to who can put on the biggest spectacular opening and closing ceremonies, to win the biggest qudos.

    Look folks, if you want to put on a spectacular rock concert or King Arthur on Ice with parachuting clowns and prancing Unicorns ridden by dwalves, then go to it. But can we lose all the pointless subsidised sports please?

    Let’s face it, like I said last time this topic came up, nobody but an idiot or a politician would cross the street to see 99% of whats on offer at an Olympic Games. Daley Thompson is a nice charismatic guy, but would you waste 5 days of your life watching him do things that he is rather less good at, like running, the javelin, pole vaulting etc than the bloke who just concentrates on the one sport and is world champion at it? Would you even bother to go see the world champion? I seriously doubt it.

    If it wasn’t for this ludicrously expensive jamboree every 4 years, all these sports would have died out long long ago. Nobody really gives a fuck about them, that’s why they are sponsored.

    The ones we care about and want to watch make money, fuckin shedloads of it. Football, Cricket, Basketball, Ice Hockey etc etc.

    I play Golf. I love it. It is like no other game, in that you are playing yourself and the course, not your opponent, who has no way of interacting on your game (except psychologically) at all. It is a kind of physical chess against yourself. But I pay for the privilege of playing that game, and pay to watch the masters of it in Tournaments like the Ryder Cup and the British Open. No fuckin sponsorship needed for me!

    The world is in flames, the dominos are falling, every western nation is broke and getting broker, let’s make this the last and worst Olympic games ever, shall we? We just don’t need these fatuous grandeous statements anymore!

  11. Sam Duncan says:

    Amen to that, RAB. The Olympic Games are fatuous, corrupt, and pointless. If they can carry on without state subsidy and their own bizarre semi-statehood status, then good luck to ‘em. But I don’t give a flying wank.

    Sport? Fine. Encouraging kiddies off their fat arses and out into the great open spaces? Great. But there are better, cheaper, and more effective ways of doing that than a quadrennial subsidized politicians’ clusterfuck.

    I almost switched banks when took my new debit card out of the envelope and saw the Lisa Simpson blowjob logo. I still might. There’s only one way to teach them that for a lot of us, it’s very far from being a selling point.

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