Militarising the Olympics


The arrival of the head of the British armed forces

It can be no mystery to followers of Talking Bollocks that I abhor sport. Sure I dabble at sailing but mainly for the fresh air and pretty colours. If truth be known, the sound I find most irritating is that of an overexcited football commentator bawling his stupid head off because a man in shorts has kicked a ball into a large net.

Last Friday I arranged to meet some friends at a pub in London and was told that we had a table and could watch the Olympics Games opening ceremony starting at 9pm. My heart sank. The installation of TV in pubs is a disaster to rank alongside the invention of marketing and I anticipated an evening watching boring people do boring things.

I arrived early and we had a few drinks. The ceremony started with a lot of silly shepherds and I mainly ignored it. I shall not bother you with the cliched story of how my interest was, at first piqued, and then enthralled. Early commentary had contrasted the London extravaganza with the opening ceremony in Beijing four years earlier which was said to be a very militaristic affair. I applauded the difference. I loved the anarchic, individualistic, irreverence of London. In short I ended the evening in a state of over-sentimental patriotic idiocy as was, no doubt, the intention of the now God-like Danny Boil.

I am not now converted to the cause of sport but I have been paying more attention than I would normally have done and it seems to be going reasonably well. If nothing else it has achieved something I have long wished for which is the eradication of the surfeit of tourists in our capital city.

I have heard that many Olympic events have left numerous seats unoccupied and and that the army have been called upon to fill the seats. I guess this was inevitable after they were called in to handle security. It does seem to be setting a pattern though especially as The Queen is head of the British Armed forces and was escorted to the opening ceremony by a (fictional) Royal Navy Commander.

I wonder……since the failure to supply adequate refreshment at several equestrienne events, why not get the army in to do the catering too? In fact…..after today’s banning of several badminton players, perhaps we might even start replacing individual competitors with soldiers? Danny Boyle and Sebastian Coe could be given honorary ranks in the SAS and, by the time of the closing ceremony, we might achieve a 100% militarised Games?

The British have a general tendency to drag up The Second World War at the drop of a hat and, now I think back, didn’t I hear the strains of either 633 Squadron or The Damn Busters during the opening performance? Perhaps the contrast with the Beijing games is not so great after all?



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