Olympic fever has hit Britain. You cannot switch on your television, listen to the radio or look into the paper before being bombarded with the latest news regarding our great Olympic events. Yes, with the eyes of the world firmly fixed on our capital city for the next fortnight or so, it’s all hands on deck as we ensure our country is to provide an Olympics for us to be proud of. Yet the problem with Britain is that, unfortunately, when it comes to shows and spectacle, Britain is notoriously pedestrian, dull, and frankly average. Now, I want the Olympics to be the show-stopping representation of British culture as much as the next man, but sadly, I don’t see this happening. But this isn’t bad. This is actually, for the schadenfreuder-enthusiasts amongst us, setting out to be the beacon of hilarity we need to temporarily lift our spirits in this otherwise depressing period in history.
Let’s be clear here; I’d love to see the Olympics become the eye-popping demonstration to the world that Britain is wonderful. Yet, personally, there is nothing that can beat the double-dip recession blues quite like watching David Beckham repeat his 2008 closing ceremony mistake of kicking a commemorative Olympic football off of his stage with an aim of reaching a sparkling Olympic goal and instead violently taking out an innocent olympic spectator by slightly underestimating how much power he needed to propel the said football. The sight of this poor defenceless spectator being struck violently by David Beckham’s propelled football was enough to make even the most stony-faced individual cackle with laughter. Worryingly, we never did find out what happened to that poor soul; by the time the medic team had arrived to treat her injuries the cameras had cut to Leona Lewis being dangled in the air belting her little heart out to another slowed-down balled-cover, whilst Boris Johnson manically waved a flag around smiling in the specifically eerily way only previously mastered by Gordon Brown and the child catcher in ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’. A repeat of anything only as half as amusing as this at any point during our 2012 Olympics will result in my state of unadulterated bliss.
With one day to go until the official opening ceremony, and with so little time left, we’ve had some positive signs from the first scatterings of events that hilarity and manic hysteria is likely to ensue. So far, we’ve only had the North Korea women’s football team walk off in protest at the sight of their Southern counterparts’ flag being used to represent them as opposed to their own North Korean flag. Oh, and what about the London Transport system in East London buckling under the pressure of our heat wave, resulting in hundreds of performers arriving late for the opening ceremony run through? Even better were the tales of people being unable to see the events they’ve purchased tickets for because the venues haven’t been built for people in the back row actually being able to see. Imagine your disappointment expecting to see some breathtaking diving, and instead seeing the odd splash and a McDonalds billboard. Above all, however, the biggest ‘LOL-points’ must be awarded to the fantastic team who decided that the official olympic sponsors who decided that anyone who is advertising for any non-olympic sponsors in any capacity will not be allowed near events. So, if you’re wearing Nike trainers, or a tee-shirt advertising Pepsi, you may have trouble entering the arena of your chosen event anyway. Take a minute to remember the poor inhabitants of certain towns who were told they were to have black boards placed in front of their houses that are in close vicinity of certain olympic venues, so not to allow them to view any events illegally. Olympic fever won’t be gripping their households for sure.
That being said, I’m not a total scrooge when it comes to these sorts of things. The obvious benefits of the Olympics are undeniable, such as the countless regeneration projects across East London, including the frankly magnificent East London cable car that throws up some beautiful views of our capital from it’s position across the Thames near the North Greenwich Arena. It’s only a wonder why no one thought of it before. As the world’s eyes fall on London, it’s reassuring to know that there are some promises our government have managed to keep to; our London 2012 Olympics have had no expenses spared. For all the initial problems with the London transport system, and the issues with certain venues, all in all, London is still in a position to deliver a fantastic Olympics. I just ask for two final things. Firstly, all visitors and tourists should be openly humiliated and punished if they are caught standing on the wrong side of the escalators in tube stations. Finally, I need another example of an innocent spectator being taken out by a wayward football. Forget a British victory, or the piles of potential gold medals for team GB. That would be a priceless memory to treasure forever.