This summer it will be illegal for me to use the name of the town I live in and the year of the common era in which I am writing in conjunction.
If my 20-year-old self could have been told that later in my life I would live literally just round the corner from the Olympic games and would not even go to see the final of the 10000 metres, I would not have believed it. In those days, my performance at this distance was only about 10–15% slower than that of an Olympic champion, and it would really have mattered to me to see the best in action: like the difference between listening to a record and seeing the musicians perform live, so you can get some clue about how they do it.
But the corporate greed and paranoia which have overtaken the Olympics have dissuaded me from even applying for tickets. Indeed, I could only buy tickets if I had a particular credit card, which I happen not to have.
It is not necessary for me to list here the corporate insanity which the Games have brought about; these are well documented elsewhere (especially by my favourite blogger Diamond Geezer). Here is just one. I read today that the slogan of Team GB (the team which may include athletes from Northern Ireland, about which I doubt they will be pleased) is “Better never stops”. Apart from the fact that it contains an elementary grammatical mistake, I can only echo Alice’s comment:
If any one … can explain it, I’ll give him sixpence. I don’t believe there’s an atom of meaning in it.
Of course there has been some inflation since Lewis Carroll’s time, so I will actually pay 6p.
This may be a spoof; everything I read about this year’s Olympic Games seems like ill-thought-out parody. Since I won’t be there, there is no chance of seeing the UK athletes’ kit close up to determine whether it really does say “Better never stops”. Perhaps it is a misprint for “Betty and Neville Stokes”.
[Maybe it is correct. A Google search gave a company with the remarkable name of "Pyramid International", proprietor Allen Stanford (no, that is a joke) selling, not Team GB kit, but pictures of it (that is not a joke). It becomes more like parody the further you delve into it!]
I will take a holiday instead of going to the Games.