Thursday, 14 June 2012
Let's get the Olympics out of the way shall we? Catherine Johnson
Ok, I know many of you have already yawned, or worse clicked your mouse and moved on. But they are coming, and living as I do, a hop and a skip from the massive new entity that is the Olympic Park I really can't ignore the games.
Of course I can't help mourning what has been lost, the island of allotments where we had summer barbeques, the mountain of used fridges that soared higher than a house, the acres and acres of empty, ignored space. And actually I am going to make a brief digression here. Poor old London is worn out, every bit of her used up these days, I don't know how many of you saw the Punk Britannia documentary on BBC4, but there was footage of Covent Garden in the late 70s, empty and derelict with grass, yes grass, growing up through the cobbles. I can just about remember it.
But back to the Olympics. I am not a fan of crowds or sport - much - but the London Olympics are special in my family. In 1948 my Dad arrived in London. He had spent almost a year in disembarked in Liverpool after travelling from New York and Florida and Jamaica, but Liverpool in 1947 wasn't the friendliest place for a Jamaican, there were race riots and he thought he'd come to London, find some work and watch the games. My Mum still has his programmes, annotated with who won what in how many seconds. If he was alive he'd have loved tickets for the athletics, what's more he'd have told me off for being such a curmudgeon about the cost and the impact and the horrible commercialism.
Enjoy it, he'd say, like everything else, they'll be over soon.