One moment in time……... I've got this song going through my head as I stroll, sun blazing, towards my south circular vantage point for the Torch. It is so nice to finally see the sun, it really is. I walked in to work, worried that getting into the car park would be a nightmare, and that all the roads in the locale would be marshalled by burly outriders roughly blocking my passage and manhandling me at every turn, but unfortunately all was normal, and If I'd had a blue badge I could have even parked right outside the Town Hall if the fancy had taken me. But there were loads of people around, and the Torch route was satisfactorily lined with kiddies and old people alike, and they all seemed quite cheery even though it was far too early and they hadn't been given anything free yet. Quite a few of them had union jacks (or union flags as we now call them), and a couple had stuff with Lisa Simpson committing a sexual act on them.
So before you actually see the torch (and I'm not sure I did actually see the Torch mind, one photo came out black, and the other had a big head in the way) there's all sorts of tomfoolery. First of all there are a number of support vehicles. I'm not sure whether I'm allowed to use the word vehicle - I'll check with LOCOG. Some have got tea ladies in, some have got people with puncture repair kits in, then there's one with all the lovely torchbearers being bussed to their drop off points in the next borough - very much like the shopping service we run for old ladies. Then there's another one, not sure what that one was for although it says 'Your moment to shine' on the side of it which chimes in well with my humming. My moment to shine... well today it's all about my new tie - gorgeous, certainly the smartest tie this side of Dulwich. Then there are sponsor lorries. Like pride, but with fewer homosexuals. All the 'extras' are doing their best to channel a carnival atmosphere by waving pom poms, swishing their hair playfully to over loud Heart FM stylee music, smiling stage school smiles, and someone, someone even said over a megaphone…. 'Lovin' the noise'. Somebody shoot me - at least if it had been ITV I could have turned over. So there is a Samsung lorry, then a Coke Lorry and then a Lloyds Lorry, then there's another van carrying spare grey shorted security people in case any of the running ones pop a vein. Then there are some more lollipop ladies, then a film crew and then, then the shell suited flamer (and I've known a couple of them in my time) themselves. Apparently they were stood just near me for a couple of minutes lighting up, but I missed all that as I was busy enjoying the sunshine, the roar of the greasepaint and avoiding getting touched by anyone in the crowd.
And the low point? Well for me, apart from the strong urge to take my own life when the man shouted 'Lovin' the noise', it was probably not getting a free Frisbee.
Although not wild about the outfit, I'm surprised I wasn't asked to be a torch bearer, and now that I know that you get to keep the torch, and you were allowed to nominate yourself, well, it seems like a lost opportunity if you ask me. And maybe if not a torch bearer then perhaps a volunteer. I said to my brother at the weekend, that's not his name, it's a calendar identifier, that we should have applied to be dream catchers, or dust makers or whatever they are, and then we could have had a lovely contrast trimmed trilby (could be a new euphemism) and a coordinating fleece with NEXT on the lapel. I really could have had my moment in time then, my moment to shine, new tie or no new tie?
So up west it's all about union jacks and things on lamp posts - a lot of them let over from the jubilee I know, but the Queen doesn't mind and it's cheaper not to have to take them down betwixt events - much like my Christmas decorations. All sorts of artistic japes and hoots going on in the name of T'Lympics festival - painted phone boxes, people in hats, and lots other things like that. Many of the dust catchers look a bit churchy and over keen though, which did put me off a bit. If you're going to be sharing a mini bus with someone from zone 3 you need to be able to rub along and like the same sort of sandwiches. But I suppose a free big Mac's, a free big Mac, whether or not the Lord's (Jesus not Coe) work is affected by your additional time commitments.
I'm not sure these Games Lanes are going to work though, although I am very taken with the name, 'Games Lane' - perhaps my favourite bit of the programme so far. I was traversing adjacent to the Olympic Village yesterday evening, and behind a Hungary support BMW if the truth be told - just to check on things for you and wink at the armed police, and it's all games lanes this, games lanes that. And they swap over from the left to the right and back again, so staying in the correct lane could increase the chances of travel sickness for a young or an invalid if you ask me. You're allowed to use them until Wednesday, but I wasn't taking any chances as I didn’t want to get a ticket on a school night and the last time I swerved that much I closed the M40 for half an hour. But by George, I'm not going out in my car once it all starts. London roads are going to be a frigging nightmare. I'm tellin' you. Lovin' the noise? Maybe, Lovin' the traffic - not on your Nellie!
So to conclude, I only have one remaining question and that is 'do the Athletes from London have to stay in the Olympics village or can they stay with their mum and just get the bus in for their races?' I think we should be told.