LUV - Oh shut up. I already know that you don’t like the Olympics, and I already know why. “But all the corporate sponsors,” you keep whining into your sleeve. And “But it’ll be so hard to travel around central London”.
Fucking GOOD. Have you BEEN to central London lately? It’s DREADFUL. It’s noisy, it’s dirty, all the tube stations play a loop of Boris Johnson repeating the word ‘obey’ again and again and there are arseholes everywhere. EVERYWHERE. Arseholes in suits. Arseholes with food blogs. Arseholes who don’t know how ticket barriers work because they’ve never been to London before. Central London is horrible. If anything, central London should be harder to travel around. Ideally it should be sealed off, set on fire and drowned in the sea.
And stop this corporate sponsorship nonsense, too. So the Olympics aren’t as inclusive as you thought they’d be. Oh boo hoo. What gave you the idea that the Olympics were about you, anyway? They’re not. They’re about the people who’ve spent four years training and stretching and adhering to ridiculous diets and sleeping in oxygen tents and painstakingly Veeting off every last molecule of body hair just so they can fling a fucking paperweight a third of an inch further than they’d otherwise be able to.
If the Olympics were about people like you, the 100m final would take 45 seconds to finish, the javelin world record would be about three inches and Thinking About Hoovering But Not Actually Hoovering would be an established event. But that isn’t the case. The Olympics aren’t about you. They’re about people who are much better than you.
Now that I’ve rendered your arguments powerless, let me explain why the Olympics are brilliant. You see, they give us something to aspire to. There’s no point wanting to be a footballer, for example, because it means a) spending 15 years of your life running up and down a muddy field while 30,000 dickheads call you a wanker and b) marrying a florescent orange dimwit called fucking Rotunda or something and never experiencing a single original thought in your entire life. It’s hard work.
But being an Olympian? You row a boat once for ten minutes tops and - unless you really balls it up - you’re automatically given a knighthood and a cushy job endorsing breakfast cereal. That’s the life everybody wants.
And, compared to Euro 2012 or Wimbledon, the Olympics offer something for everyone. If you like watching team sports then, fine, watch the football. But if you like your sport to be over in a matter of seconds, there’s the 100m final. Prefer impenetrable monotony? There’s cycling. What about furtive, shame-faced public masturbation? Beach volleyball. Bit of a paedo? Gymnastics.
There. The Olympics are (sort of) great. I’ve won this argument hands down, haven’t I?
- Stuart Heritage
HAT - Imagine for a minute that you didn’t enjoy the music of the artist Prince. Not that he offended you - he’s Prince, not Kasabian - just that his particular brand of high-pitched innuendo wasn’t quite your thing.
Now imagine that you come home one day to find that your landlord is letting Prince put on a gig in your living room. And that he’s inviting the entirety of Prince’s international fanclub. And that the gig will last three weeks.
Your landlord - a portly, flyaway blowhard - waffles on about how property prices in the area will sky-rocket, but you just think “But I rent”, and wonder sadly how you’re going to watch Wallander with a tiny purple man prancing in front of your television.
But you soldier on. You try to live a normal life, even though you discover one morning that Prince’s face has been stamped across all your coffee mugs, and has replaced your face in all your framed photos. The TV shows documentaries about the gig preparations and one night you glance at the screen to find yourself staring balefully at your own pale, put-upon face. The next day you’re told that your living room is off-limits.
You come home from work and all your bedroom furnishings have been relocated to the downstairs loo. A note taped to the loo door says that you’d be really getting into the gig spirit if you entered and exited your new bedroom via the tiny toilet window, as the hall is now reserved for gig-goers. During the night you think Prince visits you, stroking your face and whispering “I only do this because I love you.”
Was it a dream?
At work, the Prince gig is all anyone can talk about. Because you work in comms, you have to write about the gig, but Prince’s branding guidelines are so rigid that ██████ ███ your ███ ████ ██ and you can’t even ██ ████ ██ █ ██ ██ the ███ so you just ███ like a ████ing ██████keyfucker.
Finally you crack. “Fine!” You shout, marching up to Prince. “Give me a fucking ticket to the gig. I’ll come. I’ll dance to Raspberry FUCKING Beret even though it’s the most effete song in the universe. At least that way I’ll get to use my own hall.”
But it’s too late. As anonymous security staff tackle you to the ground for looking Prince in the eye, you learn that one gig ticket is FORTY SQUILLION POUNDS, and anyway they’re all sold out. You are hustled back to the downstairs loo, where you tearfully consider a last-minute city break, but then Stephen Fry comes on the TV and implores you not to holiday abroad, and you realise that it’s futile.
There’s nothing you can do.
Nothing except sit quietly in the toilet while strangers run around your house doing things you don’t enjoy, and wait for it all to be over.
THAT’S what being a Londoner with no interest in sports is like in the run-up to the Olympics and THAT’S why I HAT it.
- Robyn Wilder