In this country we’re good at being cynical, but also at putting our principles aside in the name of ‘not making a fuss or being negative’. So with the budget-busting, school/education/younameit-costing Olympic Games coming to London, we’ve all had to take off our thinking caps and Back the Bid. No, that was before. Now we have to Get Ahead of the Games. Behind them? Whatever.
Yesterday the games came through Tooting. We live on the main road so had front row seats, as it were. So there we stood by the road and watched things unfold. Before the legitimately moving sight of a young lad with the torch we saw some representatives of Samsung handing out blue rumble sticks. It was as if Jesus was back feeding the five thousand with a loaf made by Heston Blumenthal: people shoved and pushed and screeched, all so they could pick up these inflatable pieces of plastic, plastic that when inflated said nothing about the Olympics at all, merely housing the word SAMSUNG.
So all we idiots stood there in anticipation, waving our Samsung adverts.
Next came a Samsung lorry, filled with the kind of people you would do anything to avoid at school (or anywhere else in fact), the vacuus outgoing rahrahrahwe’restandingonanirrelevantlorrywithsamsungwrittenonthesideofit type. The music got louder, like they do at the rugby sevens to mask the fact that the sport is rubbish and being watched by people who go to one sporting event a year. We were all, as is the way these days, invited to be excited by the loud music.
Then a minibus with Tim Lovejoy in it (note that there are many high windows on this route, very book depository like in some ways. These thoughts occurred to me when Lovejoy went by).
Then a Lloyds TSB lorry, whose compere initially seemed to have a little self-awareness; I could sense that he felt slightly absurd up there, although he spoilt it all by asking “it anyone here from Tooting?!” to which everyone below, from Tooting, shouted “wooooooo!”.
Finally came the main event, some lad with the torch, and to this I shed a tear. A magic moment for him, somewhat akin to what the Olympics might be meant to be about, and no obvious sponsor in sight. He really will never forget this.
After all this we went to the local pub but it was full, so we took Stanley to the playground behind St George’s hospital instead. Here we found one of the greatest things ever, a lad, perhaps two years of age, hurtling after a pigeon at extraordinary speed. The thing was, though, that this was no ordinary lad – he was massive, built like a space hopper, with two extraordinarily bowed legs splaying out sideways in surprisingly graceful movements. It was hypnotic, this giant of a lad with crazy posture, hurtling round and round after pigeons. I’d seen nothing like it before, nor will I again I don’t imagine. Unless he makes the Olympics in 2030, which is highly likely if the rugby people don’t get to him first.
Then we came home. A lovely evening that made us all very happy indeed. Thank you, Olympics.