Being part of the crowd watching the Olympic flame make its way through Tooting this week, I reflected that Salix has been something of a feel-the-Olympic-experience-of-a-lifetime freezone. Not in an Eyeore-ish, lemon-lipped sort of way. Rather that we had more of a buzz around the Euro footie and even the Grand National. Why?
Perhaps it’s not being located in the West End, which, if my experience of visiting it yesterday is anything to go by, is a merciful relief. It was noticeably more crowded and Olympic branding (the official ones obviously) are everywhere. Perhaps because we have valued clients in Stratford so have seen the quiet revolution that has taken place in this forgotten corner of London over a period of time.
And perhaps it was experiencing first hand how commercial these games are – the flame was a minor side show compared to the sponsors’ pantechnicons that preceded it.
Ah! But there I go you see? I’m guilty of competing in what is turning out to be the biggest whinge-fest of all time.
It’s hard not to be pulled into this negativity. The media seem confused about their stance on the whole Olympic thing. While every programme filler is hugely gung-ho, isn’t it great, hacks reporting the G4S mess could barely stop themselves saying “well – there’ll be plenty more where that came from…”.
And, sure enough there was. Some poor, wee jobseeker pushed the wrong button and brought up the South Korean flag instead of the North Korean one on the display screen at Hampden Park. This prompted an Olympic-sized huff and mass walk out by the offended North Korean women’s team. (Or did I see them goose step?) Get over it! Which was pretty much the wearisome tone, Paul Deighton, LOCOG’s Chief Executive, took when he dismissed it as “human error – plain and simple”.
OK. One major cock up and one, er, unfortunate one. But the BBC and others just keep on digging for dirt.
The national TV news last night had a tedious and rather lazy piece about how many slum landlords there were operating in the shadow of the Olympic stadium. What? Poor people in the East End? I don’t believe it! Frankly, national news it ain’t. Any more than interviewing hacked off plumbers who couldn’t get to work because of the Olympic Road Network hold up. It’s carping that is both predictable and lazy journalism.
What will they find next about which to grumble? I predict something about appalling conditions that our brave lads have had to endure while undertaking the frisking G4S should be doing. Or, that the beautifully landscaped gardens in the Village actually contain genetically modified plants that could threaten local people’s allotments. Imagine that!
Yup. It’s a right shame that we finished building the Village before time and on budget. And it’s appalling that the sun has finally come out and may even stay there for the opening ceremony. And we haven’t even started on the competitors’ performances yet.
Oh well, as too many people seem to be saying, it’s not the whining that counts, it’s the taking apart.