"..a bardy view!"

The Olympic Torch Relay and the Jedward Effect….

JedwardI wonder if many, like me, are getting rather bored with it all?

70 days is a long time to run a naked flame around the country (when it's not being carried on a bus), and every day on the news it's reported to be in someplace or other.

Each time I have difficulty stifling a yawn. It's not the sheer inanity of it all, but the controversy surrounding it.

From bearers flogging their torches on ebay, to z-list celebrities getting a greasy palm around it, and the sheer logistics of the process involving an entourage of support crew, sponsor promotion vehicles and security.

Was it really necessary to hold this over so long a period? Were 8,000 torches really required? By time the flame reaches the Olympic Stadium many of us will have been exhausted just thinking about it, and if the flame snuffs out at the moment of lighting the beacon – well, who could blame it after having suffered so much?

I was initially excited to learn that the flame would take a route just outside my house in London, but that's not for another six weeks, and to be honest, my enthusiasm has waned.

It's all jolly fun to hold a local shindig every time it appears, but we've only just finished four days of street parties celebrating the Queen's Diamond Jubilee with all the razzmatazz; more flags are flying because of the Euro 2012 Football Championships supporting England (not sure how long they will fly) and pretty soon there is the Wimbledon Championships; and all this before the Olympic games begin with a show that must somehow rival if not exceed the opening ceremony four years ago in Beijing.

Rest assured the flag manufacturers are having a field day (most likely based in China by the way).

Meanwhile there's a big hoo-hah that half those who want tickets can't get them because the vice-like grip on the allocation has virtually cheesed off most of the population who have been left with tickets for some of the more minor sports which they weren't interested in.

This is partly due to the organisers dishing out considerable tickets to the sponsors, which frankly makes a mockery of the spirit of the games. Hoteliers are cheesed off because they were asked to reserve a specific number of rooms for the invading hordes of tourists, and it turns out that they've been left short with bookings and now they are scrambling around to fill the vacancies.

The stories of sky high accommodation prices haven't helped, and the news that the humble cod and chip supper will cost an arm and a leg doesn't help either. Well of course there will be rampant commercial exploitation and a crystal ball wasn't required to foresee that.

What's happened here is that the British Olympic organisers thought they could run the show in a totalitarian fashion, but with a healthy nod to capitalist greed (sounds like China after all) and have exercised a grip around every possible element, and in the process got themselves into more twists and turns than a Russian gymnast hung-over on a pint of vodka – which in my opinion should definitely be an Olympic sport!

Back to the relay, its day 24 and the flame is in Scotland on the way from Stornaway in the west to Aberdeen in the east. Most of the bearers across the land are local and upstanding citizens selected for their worthy deeds, but why are minor celebs permitted to hijack the event and diminish it?

Even worse, the torch is being carried by the Games’ commercial sponsors and their employees. CEO's, directors and their offspring are all getting in on the act, and at every step of the way, their corporate branding and logos are prominent. It's an unedifying spectacle, and one in particular was the diminutive leprechaun pair known as Jedward carrying a torch through Dublin.

Dublin? That's in the Republic of Ireland isn't it? Ah, well, this is where the politics enter the scene. The torch travelling between Belfast and Dublin was a symbol of friendship between the UK and Eire. Fair enough, but couldn't the Irish have come up with someone better than a pair of Ken Dodd's Diddymen? An opportunity wasted methinks. Well, ok, they represented Ireland in the recent Eurovision Song Contest, but Engelbert Humperdinck sang for us, and you won’t see him carrying a torch through London (he could burst into a rendition of “Please Release Me, Let Me Go” – don’t worry Burt, we have!)

Let’s face it, the cult of celebrity is so invasive to the extent of brain-washing that there appears little that any right minded person with a sense of grounding can do to prevent the onslaught!

And all of this before a single javelin is thrown, a single arrow shot, or single shot put!

We'll all need a stiff drink before this jamboree is over. This brings me to Coca Cola. I've read that those chosen by them to carry the torch will be able to keep theirs for free. The rest will have to cough up 200 quid if they want to keep their own.

Well I won't be drinking fizzy pop. I'll be sharing a glass of harder stuff with one of those Russian gymnasts. I hear they're good for a tumbler!

Picture credit to


June 11, 2012 - Posted by | Culture, Current Affairs, Education, Events, General, Humour, London, Politics, Sport, United Kingdom | , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Riveting and entertaining read as always. Trust the Irish to show no good taste?


    Comment by Spook Moor | June 12, 2012 | Reply

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