The (mostly) able bodied Olympics has ended and been pronounced a wonderful success, a statement, here in the heady Limpix after glow, there is no need to argue with just yet. Amidst the media trying to ring the last drops of feel-good factor out of the thing there has been much talk of legacy. Obviously it will take a little while for West Ham’s crowd to be swallowed up within the main arena and thistles to grow through the cracks in the wall of the Velodrome. It will presumably take less time for Londoners to go back to being less welcoming and helpful to foreigners and the last of the volunteers to have their benefit stopped for not being available for work but what else?
I sat down before the opening ceremony, connected via Twitter, to some World Class cynics waiting for the scoffathon to start, expecting it to be my favourite event. Having mocked the diamond jubilee for the irredeemable boring farce that it was and having kept a moribund and predictable European Championships interesting by making snippy comments about the awful furniture in the ITV studio and the pathetic unsuitability of Robbie Savage, I was expecting much from our cynics.
“It goes on until nearly one in the morning,” Wifey told me as I snapped open a couple of cans of lager for us. I gaped at her before beginning to bluster, “What? Who the f… hang on, that’s Frank Turner.” And it was Frank Turner and I was instantly reminded of the vital information I had reckoned without. “Danny Boyle and a great big f*** off budget.” By one o’clock we had cried and clapped so often that I lost the urge to count, as Danny and his cast of thousands battered the world with British mentalness and brilliant music; Prodigy, Sex Pistols, Stones, Arctic Monkeys, Underworld, one of the great joys was the idea of Simon Cowell and Gary bloody Barlow watching it and thinking “I’ve been airbrushed out of history.” Not until Macca turned up squawking through an abominable version of Hey Jude did the pace slacken and by then it was way past our bed time anyway. If the opening ceremony was for “us” then the closing ceremony was for “them” which was fine because, as a whole, it was also beautifully inclusive.
The worry of the ‘Limpix turning into a great big corporate whorefest was sorted by the BBC swallowing it all up and spitting it out at us advert free and the idea that Boris Johnson would try and steal all the credit for his Tory mates was undone by the silly sod getting stuck on that zip wire like the World’s Most Suitable Piñata.
All the other highlights have already been montaged to death but I must say the Russian 8 in the synchronised swimming was astonishing. No really. I know synchronised swimming has been shorthand for “Stupid Bloody Waste of Time and not Even a Proper Sport” for years but youtube it if you didn’t see it. They made synchronised swimming brilliant and scary and brilliant and brilliant. Now the shorthand has to read, “Stupid Bloody Waste of Time and not Even a Proper Sport except for the Russians who are brilliant.”
I was briefly concerned that my Limpix fever had crushed my love of football, which would have been an awful legacy, because I couldn’t be bothered to watch Man City v Chelsea in the Community Shield. Then I remembered that Chelsea and Man City have always bored the crap out me and went back to hoping Cabaye, Coloccini, Tiote and Ben Arfa will all be available (for NUFC) at the start of the new season – so not much change there then.
No, the real legacy is twofold – first the success of the Limpix, by being exactly the opposite of what the Tories have been telling us the country needs, has made this whole austerity nonsense look as absurd and ill-thought out as it is. (Austerity doesn’t work if everybody does it at the same time, that’s why nearly all the shops in central Newcastle are shut) and secondly I shall be taking the claim that the Olympics was under budget to my own beer budget because it looks like fun. Basically every time you approach the budget limit– increase that budget limit enormously, spend some more and still claim to be under budget. Nice one team GB – cheers.