Like a lot of people we entered the ‘lottery’ to buy London Olympics tickets. Hopefully we won’t win them because it costs around £1500 to watch synchronised ferret racing. Worryingly, we bid for the athletics so it may be cheaper to enter the actual events. I don’t think the Swizzers do stuff like running or jumping so I might make the team.
Unlike a lot of Londoners I am stoked that London won their Olympic bid, even though hosting the Olympics is going to turn London into a medieval moshpit. London is already a crowded, traffic blighted, urban monstrosity patrolled by slap-happy policemen (who are gagging to kettle up some modern pentathlon fans) and neo-nazi parking attendants – just imagine what it’s going to be like with an extra half a million sports tourists? The infrastructure begins to creak when The Chelsea Flower Show is on, god help London when the Olympics start.
But my worry is not that the cycling will not go according to plan or that the television coverage will be amateur or even that there will be some kind of human congestion catastrophe – I am quietly confident that London (the great city that it is) will soak it all up and host an Olympics to remember. What I am worried about, in a deep spiritual way, is the opening ceremony.
Why they can’t just fire a cannon, light the torch and blow some trumpets is slightly beyond me but the organisers of the Olympics feel the need to give jobs to
waiters dancers – who must lead a tough life. Dancing for living? Really? All that effort, time and expense for a short lived, badly paid career in which you have to wear leg-warmers and / or a tutu and you’ll probably end up in McRonnies at the end anyway? Really?
So I reckon the organisers meeting – around five years ago – went along the lines of this:
Sebastian Coe: Well, ladies and gentlemen, I think it’s time we thought about the opening ceremony. [collected event organisers moisten at the mention of the words Olympic. Opening. Ceremony.]
Event organiser #1: Great idea. I think that because Bejing put on possibly the most spectacular and extraordinary opening ceremony ever we need to ‘raise the bar’ – to use Olympic imagery [guffaws all round] – and be utterly original; do something that has never been done or seen before.
Event Organiser #2: Exactly, they have handed the baton [more titters – those Olympic wags just can’t help themselves!] to us and we have more talent in this one city than they have in their entire country -
Sebastian Coe: Well…that’s not strictly true…but I see your point. Okay, let’s get to it – hire the best. Remember folks, our key words are original, innovation and spectacular.
So, fast forward a couple of years and the hapless event organisers (after all the hard, under-paid work has been done) have been summarily fired and replaced with a government panel of experts, two branding gurus, a guerrilla marketing supremo, a lifestyle advisor and a figurehead celebrity or two. I can’t remember what the collective term is for a bunch of people like this is called…oh, what is it?…oh yeah!: a bunch of wankers.
Sebastian Coe: So, the opening ceremony. The plans we have look fantastic, unbelievable – if we pull this off the world will remember this ceremony as the best ever. Any comments?
Government Expert #1: We are, I’m afraid, going to have to lose the fireworks…blah, blah, blah…the skydiving fire-eaters…the stilt-walkers and the acrobats – the Health and Safety Executive is adamant about it -
Government Expert #2: – and the dwarves in jetpacks are not only a health and safety issue but offensive to our vertically challenged
electorate community…blah, blah, blah…
Branding Guru #1: I also think there is not enough brand London in here, nothing that is identifiably England…or English branded…blah, blah, blah. There is a huge stock of English and London branding begging to be used and then
exploited sold later as branded souvenirs.
Guerrilla Marketeer: Yeah, yeah…and we need to communicate the diversity and multiculturism of London, innit? The energy and the anarchic nature of the capital, innit? Blah, blah, blah…
Lifestyle Advisor: We need to reinvest in the capital’s history and heritage whilst being inclusive and sympathetic…blah, blah, blah…and reflect the changing cultural roadmap…
FANFARE – THE OPENING CEREMONY BEGINS
A battalion of rollerblading Chelsea Pensioners, walking bulldogs emerge to The Archers theme tune played on steel drums by Asian lesbians. Meanwhile from the centre of the stadium emerges a giant scone, opening to reveal in the jam and clotted cream centre Cheryl Cole and Adele singing a mash-up of Any Old Iron and My Old Man’s a Dustman to Bangra techno. Then, Dizzie Rascal and Plan-B grime their way through We’ll Meet Again dressed as Beefeaters while a contemporary dance troupe re-enact The Blitz using the medium of graffiti, street-dance and cockney rhyming slang. A huge stick of rock would then land in the middle of the arena ridden by the cast of Eastenders which unfurls into a humungous tea cosy which splits open revealing Paul McCartney and Jamie Oliver dressed as Pearly Kings, on top of a double decker bus eating chips to the sound of Chas ‘n’ Dave played by Elton John as Damian Hirst saws a badger in half with an Oyster Card ready to pickle in Formaldehyde. For the finale The Red Arrows scream above skywriting the word ‘ponce’ as a giant teacup, filled with Marmite, carried on a tube trains and pulled by black taxi cabs enters the arena. A Harrier Jumpjet lifts out two figures from the Marmite who, once licked clean by 2012 corgis are revealed to be Duke and Duchess of Cambridge wearing Union Jack spandex.
(a fireman, clad entirely in asbestos – surrounded by eighteen firefighters, a fire-engine, a foam extinguisher unit and Red Adair – lights the Olympic torch using a 20ft match)