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May 06, 2012

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Charlie W

Ed Howker at the Groan puts things quite nicely. Ticketing and security remain the two large and indelible stains on what could be a decent sports festival.

I had tickets for a 'test event' on Saturday: got them by chance since someone at the office has a family member who works for a Tier 1 sponsor. It wasn't a popular event, so they got passed on. This is how many, if not most of the Olympics attendees are going to be getting in: they'll happen to know someone. If you're really favoured (unlike me and my partner) it'll be the 100 metres, or the opening ceremony. And thus is an antique, non-transparent, anti-egalitarian, anti-market way of doing things planted into our society's core.

On a lighter note, Twenty Twelve was great. Wish they'd make more. Head of Deliverance is pretty close to the mark.

Charlie W

Also, am struggling to see how it's a good idea to sell the Olympic Village at a loss (£275M, reportedly) to the Qatari sovereign wealth fund. Couldn't the taxpayer just rent the place out for thirty years? No DSS - even - if the taxpayer is feeling especially mean. Are there just no private renters in that part of town?

Richard J

Qatari Diar (who bought the Olympic Village and Chelsea Barracks)<> Qatar Holding which are equal to Qatar Investment Authority (who bought CSFB's HQ a few months back), which is entirely unrelated to Qatar National Bank (50% owned by the State of Qatar) who are financing the Shard. But Qatari Diar have particularly close links to the prime minister. It's all a bit incestuous.

guthrie

I do like the idea of the hundred metres suspect device smuggling. Perhaps also the electric fence pole vault, the throwing the molotov or whatever else people can think up?

chris williams

Old cold war gag: yesterday the east german pole vault champion became the west german pole vault champion. I thank you.

dsquared

Ticketing and security remain the two large and indelible stains on what could be a decent sports festival.

In fairness, ticketing and security are always the problems with any kind of festival.

Charlie

They'll be issues, it's true. But I'd like to see the Glastonbury organisers announce that they've reserved half the tickets for sponsors. And their friends. And their friends. So as to be able to afford fancier stage lighting.

ajay

Saying that the Olympics are unpleasantly elitist in spirit is like complaining that everyone involved with London Fashion Week is obsessed with clothes. Look at the motto for heaven's sake. Citius Altius Fortior is not Latin for "I'm OK, you're OK". Competitive athletics is inherently nasty and the Olympics are the essence of it.

ejh

Perhaps also the electric fence pole vault, the throwing the molotov or whatever else people can think up?

Private Eye did this gag about a year ago. They got something wrong though, can't remember what.

Saying that the Olympics are unpleasantly elitist in spirit is like complaining that everyone involved with London Fashion Week is obsessed with clothes.

Well no. That would be like complaining that everybody at the Olympics was obsessed with sport.

Also, the motto doesn't necessarily mean "faster (etc) than other people". (I don't entirely disagree with you, I have all sorts of issues with the Olympics, but I think the specific points you're making aren't all that Fortius.)

Charlie W

In a reformed Olympics, the flag raising / national anthem playing would have to go. Also: a medal for the most improved athlete.

ajay

In fairness, ticketing and security are always the problems with any kind of festival.

Well, they're always important issues that deserve attention but that's different from saying that they're always problems.

In a reformed Olympics, the flag raising / national anthem playing would have to go.

Absolutely. And the ludicrous/creepy torch ceremony. And the IOC in general.

ejh: well, I think the motto thing is arguable. But it's the spirit of the modern Olympics, Latin or not.

chris y

And the IOC in general.

This surely is the heart of the matter.

ajay

Yes. I wouldn't mind the Olympics nearly so much if it was a low-key, low-budget event run in a spirit of woolly benevolence and mild ineptitude by some committee of well-meaning Scandinavians. At the moment it looks and acts like an American right-winger's idea of the UN. (Run by corrupt unaccountable foreigners, infringes your civil liberties, bosses your elected officials around, etc)

chris y

In the short term the whole thing should be put into the experienced hands of the good citizens of Much Wenlock.

ajay

Splendid idea - I'd never heard of that before. See, that's what I'm talking about.

dsquared

Bollocks to Much Wenlock - the citizens of Chipping Campden have much more experience in running Olympick games, and still remain the world's major centre for at least one Olympick sport (shin kicking).

I am very happy to discover the website "shinkicking.com", and its epigram, written by HJ Massingham on watching the traditional competition at Campden:

"There is no imbecility nor barbarity that human beings will not practise and even exalt, so long as it be sanctified by custom"

ajay

New title text?

Barry Freed

The mascot for this Olympic games, Wenlock, has got to be one of the creepiest I've ever seen. I guess they all seem that way but the cyclops camera eye thing really takes it to new levels.

Chris Williams

He's a Vermicious Knid.

ajay

Brr, those scared the hell out of me when I was a kid. Especially the fact that you never actually found out what they would do to you if they caught you. (As Grandma Bucket points out, they can't bite your head off - they haven't any mouths.)

Barry Freed

So was that your second greatest fear, ajay?

1. Nuclear annihilation.

2. Vermicious Knids.

[apologies for crossing the blog streams here]

ajay

Centipedes, actually, but I'm dealing with it.

Phil

The storyteller on Jackanory who said that infinitesimally tiny shards of the Snow Queen's mirror were flying through the air, all around us, right now. HCA may have meant this metaphorically, but it scared the crap out of me for days.

Phil

Although IANA.

Barry Freed

IANA

I Am Not A...?

(I just know this is going to be blindingly obvious).

Phil

jay

Alex

Internet Authority for Numbering Assignment?

ajay

ejh: yep, if I'd come across that book when I was a child, I think it would have broken me.

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