Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Grumbling for Britain

In the past, the Olympic Games have included demonstration sports as well as the usual events.

Boules was one of several demonstration sports in 1900, in Paris, rather unsurprisingly. There was Finnish baseball in 1952 in, err, Finland, and roller hockey in 1992 in Spain.

It seems to be a great opportunity to spread the word more widely about a national activity that hasn’t made it globally.

Well, roller hockey aside, since that’s played in far more countries than Spain (nearly 60) which indeed, is also far more than American football (18).

I can't help feeling that British organisers have rather missed a trick on this score. We could have done grumbling as a demonstration sport. We’re really rather good at it.

In fact, we’re so good at it, that columnist David Arronovitch has recently been complaining about the rest of us complaining about the Sporting Event We’re Not Really Supposed to Name – which feels a tad like unfair practice for our demonstration event.

Of course, one of our most popular topics for complaint is the weather, and since the last few months seem to have provided us with deluges of Biblical proportions, there’s been plenty to feel peeved about.

After all, we’ve not had much of a ****** (word banned by Locog), so there’s been little opportunity to get out in the sun and working on giving the skin a ****** (another word banned by Locog) glow.

It’s been enough to turn your hair an elegant shade of ******.

Such an event would best be carried out with the aid of a beer – we do like to moan over a pint – and since Heineken is the official beer of the Sporting Event Which Must Not Be Named, this might be useful, since it would give competitors an additional reason to whinge.

It seems a fair bet (there are no official bookies, it seems) that we’d claim ****, but certainly a ***** of some colour.

And all this would be happening in the city of ****** in the year **** – brought to you by Samsung and Panasonic and McDonalds, timed by Omega and with hair washed (before the event) by Head & Shoulders, courtesy of Proctor & Gamble (which is presumably the bankers’ branch of choice too).

Because we can, we’ll fly in on British Airways, drive to the event in a BMW, wear an Adidas kit and sugar load, courtesy of Cadbury’s and Coke, before the starter pistol sounds.

And when we’re all pissed on the official beer (which is perfectly pleasant to drink when sitting outside a cafĂ©, alongside the Prinsengracht in Amsterdam), we’ll suddenly suffer a fit of tourettes that would make the gods on Mount ******* blush, and we’ll start saying the words we’re not allowed to say by edict of Locog – only to be disqualified from the competition.

Distraught and bitter, we’ll be escorted away by squaddies with a limb or two missing, multi-tasking as guards while they wait to compete in the **********.

We’ll stagger out of the arena, wheeling through the glossy new shopping centre that’s next to the ****** Park, and on towards Stratford station to catch a train back into the centre of ******.

We’ll be back in town before ****, so in excellent time to further drown our sorrows before last orders.

But that’s where it’ll all go further awry. We’ll slip and be permanently injured on the detritus left by people feasting on the products of the corporate ********; detritus that hasn’t yet been bagged and binned by those being housed nearby in a temporary shanty town and paid peanuts to clean up.

And this will thus ensure that we’ll be able to do it all over again in September – this time not as ********* ordinaire, but as ************, in the ********** *****.

Who could have known that the BBC’s sitcom about the ********, ****** ******, would have got so much so right?

Truly, my friends, this will be a year when the ******* motto, ******, ******, ******** will need changing to Slower, Lower, Weaker to describe our own situation in the face of the exploits of William Hague's bag carrier, Seb Coe, Locog and the *******, their corporate friends, in the pursuit of ever-expanding profits and stomachs.

What a bunch of ******* *******.