Thursday, 26 July 2012


With the opening ceremony one day away, my thoughts have turned Olympic. The torch relay skirted the borders of Epsom last week, passed through neighbouring towns and villages: Guildford, Leatherhead, and Reigate. Epsom and Ewell notably absent from its scheduled route, so I boycotted it. Did I want to see the flame held aloft? A torchbearer's jog, slow-motion running? No, it wouldn't have raised a flicker of interest, I'd walk straight past it. The route just another farce, to be added to G4S and public transport. I'm enjoying these digs: bus drivers getting lost, security staff failing to show up, the military called in to check the ticketing and sandwich rationing. I celebrate the 2012 Olympics for its Fawlty Towersness - for being reassuringly British.

I remember the moment London won the bid; huddled round a TV screen, slaps on the back, loud cheers, and whoops of joy from my work colleagues. Seven years ago, I said the outcome would be this, but my prediction then is now only semi-gratifying. Chaotic project management is what we do and we do it well. The build-up reads just like a Fawlty Towers plot: misunderstandings, cross-purposes, meetings missed, and accidental occurrences, and like this fictional hotel, Britain is filled with demanding, tense, and put-upon eccentric residents. We've written our own Fawlty Towers script for the Olympics and hand-picked our own Basils, Sybils and Manuels.

Am I smug about this? Is this the Olympics legacy - farcical situations and hapless staff? Yes, and probably. But why not? Qué? What!? Yes, I'm admitting it: I'm proud of this laugh-out-loud comedy. It's priceless! I think we should be incorporating this more into the games: a global School Sports Day with competing events and fun races. Beanbags balanced on heads, hula hooping and going under nets; an egg and spoon race or rolling pin relay; and guess the combined weight of the GB team. I admire athletic prowess, but for the rest of us it's a stretch imagining ourselves doing any of it. Attempting such sports after consuming the official Olympic sponsorship of chocolate, fries and burgers would come with a health warning anyway.

As you may have surmised, I'm not a fan of the Olympics, but then I take a while to warm-up to any mass flag-waving event. I don't like being told to do it. I'll do it in my own good time thank you, which usually means two years behind everyone else, but by then our views will be united: London 2012, the greatest improvised comedy the Brits have ever provided.