richer, creepier, uglier?

 © not London 2012 – flagrant violation of 2012 brand parameters. So sue me.

There is plenty in the London 2012 Olympics for us to get angry about: The magical / mythical ticket chaos; sponsorship & brand fascism from Union Carbide to intimidation of cornershops; the rooftop missiles; the world’s least-engaging Olympic mascots Hemlock & Mandible – and no-one is without an opinion on that logo.

I remain alone in feeling that – whilst no thing of beauty – the 2012 logo did an effective job of what it set out to do: signal a fresh Olympic spirit to humans under 30 not engaged in sport. But the typeface is hideous, most applications of the identity weak (Otl Aicher it ain’t), and the enforcement zeal of Seb Coe’s brand police defies belief. My mother is helping to organize a sport-themed village flower-arranging competition this summer (‘The Blooming Olympics’) and I fully expect a LOCOG-ordered SWAT team ambush with helicopter gunships and a bloody showdown in the tea tent.

I gripe along with the best of them, but I am also a parent with thousands of hours logged in support of athletic offspring’s sporting hopes & dreams. I still recognise the value of sport –now almost buried under 2012’s 33-ring Olympic circus. We clocked up untold road/sea miles from East London to West and Eastern Europe supporting the GB minority sport of basketball (current FIBA rank: 43rd in the world after Cameroon. Yay!) and the sprogs done good: both captained their National Cadet teams, one of which briefly included NBA/Team GB Olympic star Luol Deng. But timing is all in sport and despite many years of intense teamwork, training & travel my children like the majority of athletes will not be on show back in East London amongst the best of the best this summer. Are we bitter? Absolutely not.

The monumental hoo-hah of this Olympics seems designed to distract from its purpose, which is not actually profit, nor simply winning (much as I enjoy Mr Seinfeld’s gag about the silver medal “…of all the losers you came in first.”). Ghastly soul-sapping Saturday night light entertainment cliché though it is, sport is also about ‘the journey’. I am no sportsman myself, but striving for quality in the purposeful, disciplined social/physical activity of sport develops no end of ‘transferable skills’ and I believe contributes to my young ’uns being decent human beings. To watch the Olympic events is to – by proxy – strive for quality and excellence. Nothing wrong with that.

Around about now may be time to avert the gaze from the industrial-strength BS-mountain of these Olympics and relocate its usefulness. London 2012 is here. It is happening. Mistakes have been made. Some of it may not work, some of it may be embarrassing – but some of it should be great. We have a lucky chance to briefly rise above the economic merde & misery to project some confidence and ambition. For a short while, our national excellence in the Whingeing, Carping & Self-deprecation events (still lacking official Olympic status, sadly) should be sidelined by some actual inspiration.





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