Elsewhere we witness the piss-awful spectacle of sponsors cutting up rough in order to protect ‘their investment’ and suing the fuck out of anyone who dares even to come near encroaching on their territory. I can’t remember which credit card company it is who has ‘won the franchise’ to do whatever they were bidding to do (piss in everyone’s cup of tea, I should imagine), but is seems if you are unfortunate enough not to have one of their cards, you will be unable to pay for anything using your credit card and I read somewhere that you will also be unable to use one of the many cash machines which are being installed on the Olympic site.
One measure of the dishonesty which pervades the whole sorry exercise - which, incidentally is costing the country a cool £12 billion, several billion more than we were told it would cost - is that the 2012 Games are being billed as ‘great for Britain’. Bollocks. No one outside London is going to benefit in the slightest economically, and a great many people in London will be at a disadvantage - I read the other day that tourists not interested in the Games are giving London a miss this year and hotel room bookings are down, although that might also have something to do with several greedy hotel chains upping their room prices substantially to make extra moolah from the number of Games visitors expected. You can find more info on that particular piece of heartening news here.
Here in Britain, we are being entertained by a number of Games-related cock-ups ranging from outrage that the British Army is insisting of parking tanks on the top of residential tower blocks beside the Olympic stadium in order to deal with a terrorist attack, to looming chaos on London’s streets with attendant misery for commuters as all roads leading into to London will be partially blocked to non-Olympic traffic (overnight many roads have had the seven Olympic rings painted on them to reserve them for Olympic traffic along with the warning ‘Fuck off this lane if you know what’s good for you, squire’).
There was talk (and a debate in the Commons) on whether capital punishment should be temporarily introduced to deal with all and sundry convicted in Her Majesty’s law courts of not showing due and sufficient deference to ‘Olympic traffic, athletes, officials and all others connected, however loosely, with the 2012 Games’, but the idea was knocked on the head when the authorities realised that they would be unable to have made, test and commission the necessary number of gallows before the end of October, by which time all Olympic-related hoo-hah would have died down and by then popular support for the measure could be expected to have fallen. (Incidentally, Britain abolished the death penalty more than 40 years ago for murder, but you could still be hung, drawn and quartered for treason as late as 1999.)
The good news is that rather late in the day Transport for London (aka London Transport) has discovered that parts of the elevated section of the M4 leading into London are crumbling and has had to shut the motorway from Junction 3 all the way to Junction 1. They promise the work will be sorted out by July 29 when the Games start but, fingers-crossed, that’s just so much whistling in the wind and just so much hooey.
Adding to the irritation of the closure of almost all the roads leading into London is that whereas every January and February colleagues come in and bore me rigid with their war stories about how they they were caught up in traffic chaos because of
snowfall (or what passes for snowfall in this gentle island nation), they are also coming in and boring me solid with their war stories about how Olympic road closures are causing chaos and a commute which usually doesn’t take them more than an hour is now taking them up do two days, that although they might be here and now, they are, in fact, only just staring last Monday’s shift.
There was a great deal of fun and games over the allocation of tickets which was due to be done by lottery. Absolutely no one is pleased with the outcome, especially as some ticket prices for the less popular sports are being slashed to drum up the numbers and, for example, those who paid several hundred pounds for a ticket to the ballroom dancing quarter-finals are very put out to find that similar tickets are now being flogged off at a fiver a piece to avoid the embarrassment of rows and rows of empty seats. Adding insult to injury, loads of freebie tickets are doing the rounds and can be obtained depending on who you know. A friend has obtained ten tickets for the opening ceremony simply because the chap down the pub he got them from has a gay brother who recently gave Lord Coe’s hairdresser a blow-job. It simply isn’t funny any more. Give me a break, please.