Tuesday, 6 December 2011
Fun and games
I’m doing an interview by phone on Friday for BBC Radio Berkshire (Team Talk), and they want the topic of the Olympics to be the main subject of discussion. I’m not sure how to approach this. I can’t remember hearing anyone recently say anything positive about the Olympics – anyone I would trust, that is. I’ve overheard people on the tube worrying about the transport disruption, people complaining about the exclusive bus lanes, people saying that Stratford is being ruined by the shifting of attention and resources onto the ‘Olympic’ side of the railway line, people saying they don’t want any part of it.
Last week brought the news about the school in Hackney, Mandeville Primary, that cannot afford to pay the £600 for a visit from the Olympic mascot with the same name as the school (Evening Standard, 2nd Dec 2011). There’s a lot of money flowing around, but it all seems to be flowing away from those who are constantly being told how we are all going to benefit from the games. According to news reports neither of the bizarre Tellytubby-cum-Cyclops figures (Wenlock and Mandeville are named after earlier rural English forms of Olympic games) have to date visited any school in any of the ‘Olympic’ boroughs.
Perhaps these schools might like to do a bit of research into the sports practised at the earlier games. They might come across a sport called ‘purring’, in which two players hold each others' forearms while trying to kick their opponent's shins. We used to play it in the playground ay school; it was fun, if painful sometimes, but we used to call it ‘kickback’. Those quaint old English customs.