It’s sometimes very bad to realise you are wrong: George Osbourne must be going through hell of late; and sometimes it’s not so bad. Case in point of late has been my attitude towards felines: I’ve gone from antipathy to a worship that would make the Ancient Egyptians appear indifferent. Possibly facilitating this is my friend, and the sublime illustrator for The Beestonian, Lottie, who has converted me over the past few years; and my two new 10 week old mini-moggies, who are so charming and adorable I really am getting concerned about my sanity. Is it right to replace the wallpaper on your phone, which has for a long time been of Lady Beestonia, with them monkeying around? Is it right to nearly wee yourself while lying on the sofa cos you don’t want to move as it may disturb their slumber? Is it?

But the reason thing I was wrong about is the Olympics. I have been reminded on many occasions of late, when I have thrown superlatives galore to describe them at Twitter and Facebook, that I once was quite anti them. I’d like to therefore make an official qualified apology: they’ve been great. I say qualified because I still think LOCOG were stupidly heavy-handed with protecting the sponsors (although the rumour that Chilwell Olympia was forced to change it’s name to Chilwell Multi-Use Sport and Leisure Complex proved to be untrue); I still think the whole use of G4S proves how crap out-sourcing to profit-only greedheads; I still think that Boris ‘Tiny’ Johnson and Seb Coe are irredeemably terrible nobs. But everything else: blimey.

I even went there myself, last Friday, to see GB Men’s hockey thrash Pakistan in a qualifier. I was stunned how easy it was to get to the park: the Tube was quiet and I even got to share my carriage with the Gabon Olympic Squad:

The journey from West Ham to the park was excellent; the volunteers bright, chatty and friendly; and in no way false, or cheesy, or with that plastered-on smile that oozes insincerity. Heroes, the lot of them. I whizzed through security faster than Ursain Bolt in a Ferrari, and we were in.

The match itself was a corker, with great views. Here, have an obligatory photo:

The rest of the day was spent wandering around, clocking famous athletes and wishing we were in the actual stadium. When the sun went down we jumped on a train to where we were staying in Kent, and bizarrely ended up sitting next to Tony Britton, star of eighties sitcom Don’t Wait Up, with Nigel Havers, who was in Chariots of Fire…which is a tenuous, but nice little coda to round off the day.

The effect on the country has been tremendous. True feel-good, in a way that I never feel with Royal Weddings and suchlike. Jubilee, Schmubillee. I don’t even really enjoy football tournaments, as there is always that feeling of latent xenophobia: plus, the players are generally disinterested gits, only there to expand their sponsorship portfolios to a wider corporate base. And they consistently underperform, which cannot be said for Team GB, who have excelled so much in  the past fortnight the Government were close to announcing a superlative-drought, and sourcing archaic thesauri for extra supplies. It’s like someone has spiked the water system with gallons of raw MDMA. Maybe they have. Doesn’t matter. I, like millions here, have worked out how to love being British without all the bollocks Empire baggage that idiots such as Aiden Burley MP and Piers ‘Morgan’ Moron would prefer we roll around in, like bulldogs in cow-shit.

But how do we sustain this, how do we ride this wave of euphoria? Is it transient, an illusion, and by October we’ll be back to the usual morose griping? Well, bizarrely, my application to become Head of Legacy was rejected and Seb Coe got the gig, but my five-point plan is still worth an airing.

  1. MAKE ‘CHARIOTS OF FIRE’ THE NATIONAL ANTHEM: simple really: the present anthem is a droney dirge, with weird lyrics about a non-existent supernatural concept protecting an anachronistic octogenarian millionairess who has round the clock protection and the best medical care (our) money can afford. Scrap it, let’s have a bit of Vangelis. Yes, he’s Greek, but so is the Olympics and the aforementioned Monarch’s consort. Plus, if we pay a small royalty to the Greek Exchequer each time it’s used, they’ll soon bounce back. We should also make it compulsory that when it’s played, instead of standing stock-still and pretending to sing, we have to mime running in slow motion. I’m working on the lyrics. Watch this space.
  2. MEMBERS OF THE BNP/ EDL  BE FORCED TO WATCH MO FARAH WIN HIS SECOND GOLD, ON A LOOP, FOREVER: well, until they explode with a loud bang of confusion as their feeble minds overload at the thought of a black, Islamic refugee making a nation salute in his sheer heroism.
  3. PEOPLE WHO BANG ON IN NEWSPAPER LETTER PAGES ABOUT HOW DISGUSTING IT IS THAT THE UNION JACK IS HELD UPSIDE ON OCCASION TRANSPORTED INDEFINATLY TO THE ISLES OF WIGHT: plus, you utter jingoistic, pedantic cock-cheeses, its the Union Flag, for god’s sake, unless it’s flown at sea.
  4. CLARE BALDING TO BE MADE HEAD OF STATE: she’d be good at it, and she’d piss off AA Gill. Plus, she’d be ace on a horse at ceremonial processions. We could have a few fences at Changing of the Guard.
  5. PERSUADE RIO DE JANEIRO THEY DONT REALLY WANT TO HAVE IT IN 2016 AND LET US DO IT AGAIN: come on Rio, play fair. You have Mardi Gras, Copacabana Beach and a RAIN FOREST, we have mardy sods, Skeggy Beach and RAIN. Go on.  We have the stadiums and everything. We’ll give you a few tickets. For the handball, and stuff. Plus, you don’t really want it. It’s nowt but trouble. You’ll only get gobshite bloggers moaning about it for the years running up to it….

I’m off to watch the closing ceremony. There may be tears, and not just at the sight of Geri Halliwell trying to wring a few more quid out of the dirty rag of her career.  Tarah!




  1. Gill says:

    Weeing yourself rather than disturbing sleeping cats – nearly made me ‘wee’ laughing! Welcome to the ‘Cats Rule’ club!
    I was a bit of a grumpy old bat in terms of the amount of money being spent on the olympics…..but I take it all back. Was fantastic and would have been even better without any politicians showing their faces!! Hope the paralympics gets the same enthusiasm…..

  2. Colin says:

    Everyone I know enjoyed the Olympics and I’m a bit like you in that my cynicism melted when faced with the actual event. But we have to be ware of so many people ”reading’ it in their own way. So for me and you it was a vindication of multi-culturalism, one in the eye for the BNP but others, like Mad Boris see it as the triumph of capitalism and market forces and still others the justification for private education. I’m loving the mess Gove and Cameron seem to be in over their treatment of school sport but let’s not get carried away with ‘legacy’ which for some seems to mean “can we win even more medals in Rio?” Can I also ask readers of this blog to take every opportunity to rubbish Cameron’s attempt to revive the myth of teachers and schools who are antipathetic to competitive sport. Can anyone point to a school where such an ethos prevails?

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