God knows, except in exceptional circumstances, I am lukewarm (to put it mildly) about most forms of spectator sports. My interest in the forthcoming Olympics is mostly political and sociological.
This time around I have missed the usual horror story of venues incomplete, transportation in chaos and money being thrown around as if all those involved had been Las Vegas winners.
Admittedly there have been the traditional scandals about the money and newspaper people have made much of the questions about “legacy” – but this is scraping the barrel compared to the lead up to the Athens Olympics. And, let’s face it, part of the reason that those Games took place at all is now coming back to haunt us because the money that the Greeks spent they did not actually have and now they are dragging us all down with the lies that they told about their finances! One hopes that this is not going to be the pattern for the present Games!
I have watched with delight the way that the venues have been built and the way in which the subsidiary aspects of the Games have been developed. I like the walkways and the art associated with them; the landscaping and choice of flowers; the steel artwork by Kapoor (though I am not convinced by the final outcome, I like the enterprise of its construction); I am interested in the housing which has already been produced for athletes and the people of the area and I love the lying rhetoric of everyone involved.
As far as I can tell the traffic chaos (which is inevitable) has been thought about in detail and firms have been informed of the best ways to deal with it. There is, however a feeling that I get from the press that it is only disaster that will be acceptable. This is normally my own feeling about this corrupt and corrupting sporting event, but I must admit that I do feel differently now that it is taking place in Britain – and if my information is correct, I understand that one of the first events will take place before the official opening takes place and will be held in Cardiff! How can I be openly cynical at such a time!
There is also the other nagging fear, and that is the one where we will end up without a single gold medal. This happened in Canada where the host nation did not pick up a single example of the yellow stuff. That cannot (can not) happen in Britain because a new stamp issue featuring Britain’s gold medal winners has already been scheduled!
In philatelic terms the Olympics has already been a success. From the remarkably elegant “Handover” issue to the various issues celebrating the range Olympic sports including, for the first time the paraplegic as integral rather than periphery, has been excellent. Credit where credit is due!
It is a pity that these games are four years too soon. Too soon for a world class (and world champion at his level) yachtsman that we have as a pupil in school who, in spite of my repeated encouragement to get rid of the couple of guys in his way, has settled for possible representation of Spain in Rio in four years time. I don’t think that he understands that I would have gone to Britain to watch him compete, but am loath to make the trip to South America in 2016!
I am writing this while watching the Irish v Wales game and we have just converted a try and are in the lead and now the Irish have a penalty kick. Toni has been noting the language used by a self-confessed agnostic as far as competitive sport is concerned. But I do get worked up when I actually watch it! And the Irish are now in front again. By a single point. With half an hour to go. The score has changed but with three minutes to go Wales are still a point behind the Irish.
It a totally melodramatic ending, with everything depending on a final penalty, Wales has WON! So there! And, even for someone like me with a limited attention span for this sort of thing, I considered this to be an excellent game. Not without its moments of controversy and, to add my five penn’orth, I think that the Welsh player should have been sent off and not given a yellow card and six minutes in the sin bin. However, we WON so I don’t care! And with three home games yet to come we are well sited for the Championship.
That was yesterday. Today, for the first time I had to scrape ice off the windscreen. I could see my breath! This was not what I wanted as I made my way to a supposedly virtually empty school.
During my school day I taught the first lesson to the 18 members of the first and second form who had not gone on trips; invigilated an examination I had written for my second year sixth; did a lunch time duty; marked a set of examination papers; started marking a second set – and even did a few minutes of the work that I actually wanted to do.
Tomorrow there is a scheduled meeting for the work on Heroes and Anti Heroes that we have been engaged on for some time. I have done my bits apart from a tedious schemata for assessment so I will look forward to my colleagues’ contributions tomorrow!
There are two other threats to my own work projections but I have dismissive plans for one of them and the other I will simply have to duck and weave with!
The Amazon delivery service always falls down when entrusted into the hands of the carrier of the last distance. Yet again, in spite of someone being here when they were supposed to have called, I found myself going to the central office of the company to get my goods.
Which are wonderful.
Having purchased a few cheap CD cases to contain them I spent a happy hour unpacking the goodies. My two major purchases are the box set of Mercury Living Presence recordings and the Decca box set.
These CDs are reissues of famous LPs of the past. I now have a CD of the Nelson Mass that I lost when I got rid of all my LPs. The original Britten Requiem is now part of my collection again. And the famous recording of the 1812 which I last owned as an EP! There is much, much more with famous dead musicians and conductors as well as those who are still very much alive.
I am slightly ashamed that all these treasures have been bought merely to keep me amused as I travel by car to work. Though I am looking forward to ploughing my way through a substantial tranche of quality music.
Tomorrow back to the limited work I did on The Bricks in the Tate – part of my proposed introduction to Making Sense of Modern Art. Something I want to do rather than the things that my school wants me to do.
It will be a battle of wills to see what work comes out on top tomorrow!