So here we are. The Olympic flame has arrived in London, and finally, in my capacity as a die-hard Londoner, I figure I should probably say something about the London 2012 Olympic Games.
I am completely divided. Really, I swing every possible way on this one. Let’s have a look at the list:
I am very, very proud of London. Proud of my city, proud that we have the Olympic Games. I’m proud that the venues look to be vaguely on schedule (this is something of a novelty for anything built in Britain ever), proud that there are events happening across the country, proud that people are proud.
I am, I think, potentially glad of any urban redevelopment to the East End, with a caveat – towit, if by building the Olympic Site people are being driven from their homes, then that’s a fail. But the East End has been poor for a long time, and generally speaking anything which brings money, people and opportunity to the area, I cheer for.
I’m personally excited by the idea of Danny Boyle directing the opening ceremony. Just saying.
If I had to chose between London never hosting the Olympic games, or hosting them, then I’d vote for hosting. Not necessarily here, now, but certainly, it’s the badge of a vibrant, exciting city, and that’s what I’d like the world to see London for. London is a hugely international city, and the Olympics are about as international as it gets; it seems like a good fusion of ideas, really.
The sports itself… I’m not a huge sporting fan, to be honest, but I can appreciate the huge skill that goes into Olympic athletes. Oddly enough, I find the Paraolympics far more exciting and stirring, as not only can you perceive a vast world of passion and skill that’s gone into, but passion and skill beyond and above the comprehension of most people is a genuinely moving sight to behold.
The cost. Is ridiculous. Obscene. Absurd. Particularly in these difficult times. ‘Nuff said.
The hideous corporatism of the thing is repulsive. Not only is it repulsive that branding is the word of the day on the Olympics, but that the corporations involved are actually in a position to avoid paying tax on their gains is utterly obscene. I fully understand that corporate sponsorship is useful, but this isn’t corporate sponsorship, this is corporate exploitation and it’s hideous. We are selling out a thing that Britain should be proud of, in favour of something McDonalds and Adidas can celebrate instead.
Our government appears to have gone mad. Surface-to-air missiles on residential estates in East London? Hiring private security which then can’t staff the games, forcing us to draft in the army? Banning artists for coming within a mile of the Games, just in case? In their determination to Get It Right, the government are actually violating much of the spirit of the Games themselves, but also many of the principals on which British law and ethics are founded.
On which note… the idea of Boris Johnson and David Cameron grandstanding just fills me with dread. I am proud of London. I am not at all proud of our leaders. The games are not for their glory, and god help us if they decide to get up and glom.
The hysteria on the London Transport system. For months now, we’ve been invited, essentially, not to travel during the Olympic Games. It’s an interesting approach… regular Londoners making regular journeys have been exhorted to find alternative means so that, presumably, all the people coming to London who have never used our transport system before can have an easy and stress-free journey, courtesy of the locals walking everywhere instead. And while London is a reasonably accommodating city, we’re not so patient, it turns out, during rush hour…
The Olympic Logo. Well whoops. (I would use it as the image attached to this blog post, but fear being sued for copyright infringement if I do.)
In conclusion… ask me in eight weeks time what I really think of the Olympics, and let’s see if I have more definitive answer for you…