Postmodern Idiosyncrasies vs. The London 2012 Olympic Games
I deny sport, I hate and abjure it, and I cast it from my sight to crawl and wither and decay alone on the bleakest abyssal plains of Tartarus where the rotten corpses of statistics bores and their neglected household pets will gnaw ceaselessly at the raw nerves of sports’ exposed flesh… So I went to the first day of the London 2012 Olympic games which, due to scheduling constraints and a general cultural apathy towards the event in question (women’s football), had been dragged forward to two-days before the opening ceremony and shunted north-west to a sleepy little hamlet known as Cardiff. The whys and (linguistically redundant) wherefores of how therefore I came first to have in my possession and then, once having, steel myself to use, tickets to such an event are trifling matters of trivial importance. So I’ll try to bash through them in fewer than 500 words (no promises):
I am, in which I am blessed and accursed in somewhat similar measures, afflicted of a common condition; a symbiotic proto-humanoid, an imperfect homunculus mixed and made of qualities for which one might care (those aspects in which it most closely resembles oneself) and others which are nauseatingly distasteful (those aspects evincing the twisted genetics and inept enculturation contributed by its progenitors). These less-than-desirable traits are buried bone-deep and are as dull as fossils, but we nonetheless persist in our attempts to root them out so we might see some amelioration in the conditions of these strange beings sometimes known colloquially as ‘younger siblings’. The ideal solution, of course, would be some form of retroviral gene-therapy and an intensive regime of psychological deprogramming but, in the absence of the financing and legal rights which might allow such unfettered improvements, we instead spend our time and energy in pursuing their company, hoping that our beatific presence will save them from ill.
So the idea, originally, was that I would take this ‘younger sibling’ to see the very first events of the London 2012 Olympic games, possibly to quash its interest in sports and fill this void with art and culture and other of my self-regarding/-aggrandising interests, and that we would be accompanied by a friend of mine who straddled these two worlds and would know what the hell was going on and where the fuck we were supposed to be going. Plans made but tickets not yet booked, a fairly significant temporal inconvenience was revealed; the ‘younger sibling’ would be at some remove. Attempts to “borrow” (a term I have been told to stick to, pending legal proceedings) the TARDIS from Cardiff’s Doctor Who Experience resulting in both the aforementioned legal proceedings and some harsh lessons in the distinction between bland-reality and awesome science-fiction, I had to yield to the inevitability of causal progression.
The friend in question, being a considerate sort, called to confirm our requirements prior to booking but, being an inconsiderate sort, called at the break of bastard-dawn (for which read 9am or earlier). Addled, and only-present in adumbrated form, I passed on the sad news of the spatiotemporally awkward ‘younger sibling’ then made the small but key mistake of insisting that we, being the friend and I, should still go. That it would be “fun.” I hung up the phone then passed out for another three hours, waking in a confused fugue of ontological and teleological uncertainty to a world in which I had insisted on going to see, on paying to go and see, not one but two games of bloody football, back to back. I’d never even seen more than ten random-minutes of football before, usually while waiting for the news to come on. I tried to sleep off the panic, failed, and then resigned myself to my self-imposed fate.
Four-hundred and seventy-five. Nailed it.
So, absent brother but present friend, I found myself at the Millennium Stadium in the early afternoon on July 25th slightly bemused and far too hot. I’d rationalised it to myself in the weeks leading up to the day: “Well, it’s in Cardiff on the very first day of the London 2012 Olympic games, and getting there is about as effortless as going to the Olympics is ever going to be… Plus in terms of a ‘first live sporting event’ it’s as close to a home-run as you can get without it actually being baseball…”. I turned out to be lucky; the first match was Great Britain versus New Zealand, so my contrarianism was delighted to be able to show off as a relatively lone voice. I do not, usually, give a single solitary shit about football, but I chose to care about New Zealand and, quite soon, I did.
This hadn’t been on the agenda, I was there to stoically ignore proceedings with my cool disinterest and my copy of Paradise Lost, I’d grown my beard and affected to look especially non-Caucasian specially (the only result an atypically involved patting-down by security delivered alongside an overly intense line of questioning as to the specifics of my professed familiarity with being frisked). I took fun, encouraged by my friend whom I must have embarrassed with my non-standard chants and shouts (“Stop playing like the men’s team Britain” “Show them you deserve your own flag New Zealand” and other, vaguely parental encouragements and admonishments), and road it like a drunken mechanical bull. I was knackered by the end, hoarse from shouting and genuinely saddened by New Zealand’s defeat, but I still wanted to go back and watch Cameroon versus Brazil. I have no conclusion to this disappointing post-amble, but I enjoyed myself more than I was comfortable with…
Still the streets and transport were a nightmare, and I won’t be going anywhere near Cardiff until the Olympics are an odd, brightly coloured memory whose truth cannot be established by testimony or artefact. Except I have to go in on Saturday… But after that I won’t be going anywhere near Cardiff until the Olympics are an odd, brightly coloured memory whose truth cannot be established by testimony or artefact. Except if I get an interview for that amazing job I’ve applied for… But after that I won’t be going anywhere near Cardiff until the Olympics are an odd, brightly coloured memory whose truth cannot be established by testimony or artefact. Except I might get said job, then have to go in five days of every week. But after that I won’t be going anywhere near Cardiff until the Olympics are an odd, brightly coloured memory whose truth cannot be established by testimony or artefact (on my days off).