It may have escaped your notice, but London was recently host to a fortnight’s worth of partying, or of bread and circuses for the plebs, if you’ve been watching The Borgias on the television. And with all the sexing and bloodletting and Jeremy Irons-ing, who hasn’t?
Like any host, London was pretty worried that between the weather, the corporate sponsors, security concerns, the creaking public transportation system and what we laughingly refer to as ‘food’, we might drop the baton. Tension grew as the ‘ting approached, the question on everyone’s lips – would we be the ones to put the ‘limp’ into ‘the Olympics’?
As an aside, and to mix another metaphor or even risk a pun, I found it grimly amusing that certain un-named-for-reasons-of-libel corporate parasites insisted on referring to London as the host without the slightest hint of irony or self-awareness.
The Olympics was the perfect occasion for doublethink London to host – both professionally cynical and naively joyful, ruinously expensive despite what certain politicians with, dare I say it, an idiosyncratic approach to facts, might say. Revenues have been down on what the tourist trap metropolis normally expects for August. The budgetary woes have been written about to such an extent that the words used have lost all meaning. Suffice it to say, a money spinner this was not. Well, except tangentially for, like, all the corporation-ey people and, like, the International Olympics Committee and that and probably FIFA or sumfink, but that goes without saying.
But none of that really matters.
Before the games, the British public had the opportunity to do what we do best – grumble for months on end about what a disaster it was going to be and then throw ourselves into it with reckless abandon like your dad on the dancefloor. And throw ourselves in we did – even hipster twats forgot to affect an ironic disposition about the whole thing.
And all things considered, the whole thing went off pretty darn well, even public transport was a relative frolic. It goes without saying that the medal haul for Team GB was a welcome surprise, particularly given the slow start. The circus proved a welcome distraction and we feasted on that bread, starved plebs that we are.
Auntie BBC’s coverage was excellent, even if some of the commentary was a touch purple. The editors contrived to give the highlights packages a sense of narrative cohesion that Sir Ridley Scott’s last few efforts have notably lacked. I’m not entirely convinced that the nation has in fact arisen butterfly-like from the chrysalis of our post-imperial slumber, but it made for good telly. One hopes that the Channel Four team was taking notes for their Paralympics coverage, which, lest we forget, is soon to commence.
In the short term we’ll remain a nation of dressage experts, connoisseurs of fencing. We’ll even talk semi-seriously about how we’ve all gone off football for about five minutes until the season kicks off in earnest and we can all have a good laugh about how much money Chelsea spunked on Eden ‘can’t do a backheel without falling over’ Hazard. Until he embarrasses your team, or mine.
It’s probably too much to hope that all those people who talked of plastic Brits might apologise, but at least the rest of us can sneer at their embracing of Mr Mo-bot as one of their own. Yeah, we get it, you’re not just a bit racist, you just think that Team GB should be for the Great British. Incidentally, I’m pretty sure that Mark Cavendish is from the Isle of Man.
Will the achievements of our athletes galvanise the nation to forge ahead as one and battle down the economic travails arguably being exacerbated by George ‘Hooverville’ Osborne and chums? Not likely. Will it encourage the nation to get exercising and battle the bulge? For about two weeks. Will the Spice Girls reunite to release a new album? I hope not. Will anyone ever again want to hear that bloody Chariots of Vangelis song? Doubtful.
Will we even be able to maintain this feeling of goodwill? Maybe until the next Eurozone crisis, in about half an hour’s time.
But until then normal service is suspended, we can forget our reserves of reserve and allow ourselves a collective smile of self-satisfaction. All in all, we done good.
Obviously when I say ‘we’ I exclude you and me both, because we just watched it on the box like the lazy, nay-saying buggers we are.