How to be Cynical for the Olympics

In the wake of Occupy and amidst the Workfare debacle, you’d think that the Olympics would be a nice break from all things political. Well, no. No it isn’t. And not only is it not a nice break, but it’s hard to know what to be most scandalized by.The increased politicization of the middle classes in these dark days has been fascinating. Maybe we’ve all tipped into SHOCK mode because I am almost shocked at how shocked I am by every new revelation regarding something which i would normally be simply uninterested in. The Olympic Games.

I have a long history of not being interested in sports, from the period which appeared every single week in time for gym class, for which surely there should have been a concerned letter home, to endless suffering in the face of various boyfriends’ interest in men running round kicking a ball.

I expected to continue in this very vein this summer.

What went wrong? Well, weapons on the roofs of our homes, corporate high handedness, general militarization, rules against the use of WORDS for goodness sake… hard to know where to begin. I found myself interested in all of it. The whole thing has become sublime in it’s extremity and range.

For some reason there seems to be a lot of potato based trouble. First, we are told, the great British CHIP is now somewhat owned by McDonalds, and no one else within the Olympic Park may make or sell a chip. Which is a bit rude, since they don’t even usually call their ‘fry’ a chip, yet now they own ALL THE CHIPS?

And it doesn’t stop there for the potato. The police who are stepping in for beleaguered security firm G4S have been informed that they may not bring bags of crisps onto the job, that any such snack must be decanted into, well, not a ZIPLOC bag, clearly. (Oh, and don’t lose any sleep over poor G4S – they have decided to keep their £57M management fee, despite not having earned it.)

You can click through the pic to see more like this at

You probably already know all this, if you are as interested in these things as I am, so what may I bring to the party for your edification?

Well! Gentle reader! I have my back yard!

I live here:

This is the view from my garden, only without the giant letters. Olympic sponsors seem to be going to rather extreme lengths to monopolize branding at the Games, and I have found myself a little cynical about the VIP transport which will be sailing up the Lea. If you click through you can join the corporate bigwigs for any price between £45 per adult to £7,500 for a boat. And you needn’t lay eyes on any adverts on either side of the Lea. Possibly if you are a corporate drone your eyes will fall out if you see an advert for a competitor, I don’t know. I do know that primary school children who have been invited to the opening ceremony have been disinvited to wear any be-logoed trainer bar adidas. As if some kid’s NIKE swoosh will create an apocalypse. Who knew that brands were so fragile? Have the 1% all been reading William Gibson’s Pattern Recognition or, possibly more true to form Bret Easton Ellis’s American Psycho. I mean, what is up with them?

In conclusion, my friends, if you must be cynical about the Olympics you have plenty fodder. Even though I don’t care for sports or games much, I think it’s a shame that corporate and military shenanigans have thus far taken the play away from athleticism in in all it’s forms. Or is it? I must admit, I enjoy a bit of outrage. Surely having one’s blood boil has to be aerobic?

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