The Big Bang Games

The Big Bang Games
Photograph: Anna Gowthorpe/PA

London welcomed the Parallel Olympic Games with a dazzling display full of guts and gumption, and with a look-up-at-the-stars-and-not-down-at-your-feet message of hope. Only the commercial breaks and a plodding commentary marred a marvellous show. For the first time in Paralympic history, the gig is heading for a sell-out as ticket sales surge. Channel Four had its best viewing figures for a decade. As the tidal wave of cheer and goodwill continues to sweep over the realm like a benign Great Flood, this would not be a sensible time for the Government to benefit-bash the disabled. But then, there never should be a good time to bully the easiest of targets. Pick on someone your own size, I say. Like the filthy rich Fagins who squirrel their money away in tax havens. I’ve nothing against people earning a bob or two (If only I owned the copyright to the Union Flag at the moment) but I do expect everyone to pay their fair share. Here endeth the lesson. Let’s sit back, wallow in the joy and hope for a swag bag full of bling. 

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The Friendly Games

Thank You, Mitt Romney

The Friendly Games

When Winston Churchill (in the form of Timothy Spall) popped his head out of the top of Big Ben I knew we were in for a treat. More party and less politics (although John Lennon’s Imagine was a timely touch), the closing show rocked the ages. The stadium was bathed in the Union Flag. The iconic ensign is better suited than most for artistic interpretation and made a perfect backdrop and cat walk for the drama. Her Maj decided to stay at home and put her feet up leaving a decidedly nervous-looking HRH Harry in her place. She’s probably had quite enough of Brian May shaking his electric guitar around like a penis extension. Do cut that hair, Brian. It’s not 1975 and you’re not 20. George Michael, who not so long ago was detained at Her Majesty’s Pleasure, sang Freedom. His voice held up well considering he was recently on nodding terms with the Grim Reaper. Other highlights for me included Elbow performing One Day Like This, ushers in blue bowler hats with light bulbs stuck on top and skating nuns in Union Flag knickers. Eric Idle’s rendition of Always Look on the Bright side of Life from the Life of Brian dressed as a bacofoil angel must have both puzzled and pissed off the pious. It was a real crash, bang, wallop of an extravaganza. Below is my favourite naughty but nice image from the last few days. What were your best bits?

 

The Spirit of the Games

As the sun sets on the Friendly Games (bring on the Paralympics), I bring you an accidental guest post from an ancient friend and co-host of the Olympic Opening Ceremony knees-up we attended. It’s accidental because it’s actually an email he sent to the good, the gobby and the inebriated who graced the penthouse pad party and emptied his wine cellar.

Hit it Ian…

Following on from the AMAZING opening, this last week just seems to have transformed London from the mildly aggressive and pushy city we all know and usually love, into something rather special. Just wanted to share some of my ‘all warm inside’ moments of this historic week.

One was my fairly usual 9am-ish District Line ride to work. Alongside the 2012 tracksuit wearing larger men and womenfolk who look like they could only win Gold in a pasty eating competition, 2 Austrian Olympians joined the carriage at Mile End in their matching white tracksuits complete with Austrian team logo and dangling Olympic passes. A young lad in his twenties and an older (well mid-thirties) tall guy with cropped hair (very Teutonic). As I glanced up from my Metro (could that paper be any duller?) the young lad had his arm around cropped hair and when they looked into each others eyes, they had that look that only people in the honeymoon period of a relationship have –  a mix of lust, anticipation & hope. Of course no-one batted an eyelid in the carriage, and it was as normal as delays on the Central line..I bet they didn’t do that in Beijing.

Another transport trip earlier in the week saw us sharing a Docklands train with a mass of nationalities returning from the Greenwich Park Eventing. a middle aged Irish guy was using the blarney on some loud and tipsy New Zealand wenches and telling them that Ireland’s 5th place result was the best ever and to celebrate he’d been asked to a drinks reception at the Irish Embassy. Now that’s how to impress tipsy Antipodeans.

Then the most heart warming happening of all followed on the next day. A morning trip to Boots in Piccadilly Circus on the way to work to get some essentials (no, not those…). As I was perusing the men’s toiletries aisle a smart young lad with suit and badge asked me if I would like some help and then not only took me to the item on the shelf, he picked it for me and offered it in said basket all with some witty banter and winning smiles. He signed off by wishing me a nice day. I was momentarily stunned.  Normally you could have collapsed in the feminine hygiene aisle in this Boots and been walked over for ten minutes before Security’s arrival to remove you. I almost skipped to work.

Add on to the above the smiling and funny volunteers who guided me through security at the North Greenwich Arena (02 to us) within ten minutes from tube to seat, the mix on the streets and shops of Olympics bods, fans and tourists, the genuine (and noisy) fans filling all the fantastic stadia even at 10am in the morning..and the fact I seem to be permanently glued to Claire Balding or Gabby Logan on the magnificent BBC (abuse it at your peril Jeremy *unt) and it all completes my warm glow for this beautiful city I call home.

Even the weather has been on our side.

Arise London for you are putting on a winning performance as I always believed you would, from the energy of the Olympic stadium, the noise of the Velodrome, the beauty of Hyde Park and the majesty of Greenwich. And you and your welcome are the true star of this 30th Olympiad so far.

Not like me to be effusive. Must be the warm glow (or the onset of senility). Back to Gary Lineker and Sue Barker’s helmet hair…

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Let the Games Begin

Rainbow Sporting Heroes

Jack on Future Radio

I managed to stumble through the interview on Future Radio without too many pregnant pauses or tripping over too many ums and aahs. MC Di was warm and engaging and witty Nick was a gently inquisitive host. Adding to the splendid blend was roving reporter Nick C, a young man reading history at Cambridge, no less. Just before the show, Di offered me an ice cream to calm me down and warm me up. I had a dribble of chocolate on my chin throughout the interview. No one mentioned it. Liam waited in the car park and recorded the gig, balancing his laptop on one knee as he jammed it up against the car speaker. He needn’t have bothered. Di provided me with a link to the podcast.

I’ve added my star turn to my Jack Scott Website. Click here or on the radio image to have a listen. The future’s bright, the future’s perking pink.

If you prefer, you can listen to the entire show on Future Radio’s website (click on Pride Live 06 08 12).

I chose Mika’s ‘We Are Golden’ for my playlist of one. The boy’s a genius. The track speaks to me of youthful hope and independence, and Blighty’s golden haul at the Olympics.

Rainbow Sporting Heroes

Gareth Thomas Likes Perking the PansiesAs Olympic fever goes into hyperdrive, I was thinking about homophobia in sport, particularly the beautiful game. Even though the likes of David Beckham are in touch with their feminine side and Eric Cantona is prone to writing a poetic line or two, there are no fairies in top flight football, apparently. Why is this, I wonder? Even rugby, the butchest of sports, has the wonderful Gareth Thomas quietly waving his rainbow flag. There was Justin Fashanu a few years back, of course, but his revelation led to excommunication by the soccer establishment, misery and his eventual suicide. It was a shameful episode.

Despite a campaign by UEFA to stamp out homophobia (as well as racism), the footie fraternity still thinks of itself as the last bastion of traditional machismo, both in Blighty and across this soccer-obsessed world. Nowadays, these obscenely overpaid dandies are preened, pressed and waxed to within an inch of their lives. They also drive too fast, drink too much, brawl in public, chase empty-headed bottle blonds with assisted tits and visit prostitutes old enough to be their mothers. Well, not all of them do, but you get my drift.

Imagine, therefore, a startled Gallic nation that witnessed Olivier Giroud grab teammate Mathieu Debuchy’s face and land a big French smacker* full on the lips. Debuchy did not squirm or resist. This heat of the moment intimate encounter occurred just after Giroud scored for France in an international friendly with Germany a few months ago. Shocking, but then, that’s the French for you.

This French kissing malarky seems to be infectious. A similar incident in Mexico caused outrage among the big wigs and hacks. Femexfut (The Mexican Football Association) El Presidente, Alfonso Sabater said:

‘A gay kiss is not a good example for children and vulnerable people. We must censor this behaviour.’

Get the madam!

*2014 Update: There used to be a YouTube video of the French kissers which has since been removed. I wonder why?

 

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I’m a Lady!

Sisters are Doing it for Themselves

Norwich Pride

Sadly, we missed Norwich Pride. As novice Norwichians, we hang our heads in shame. The event was held the day after the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games. The greatest show on Earth or the best show in Town? What’s a boy to do? We chose the former. Sorry. Had we not been nursing a hangover of Olympic proportions, we might have made it to march and mince with the rainbow people. Next year we’ll be there. Promise.

I hear the affair was a great success. Here are some pictures (courtesy of Steve Adams and the Norwich Evening News).

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Thank You, Mitt Romney

We leapt off the train from Norwich at Stratford (the main gateway to the Olympic Games). It was busy but not uncomfortably so. There was no sign of the much anticipated transport gridlock that has dominated the news for months. We jumped on a bus to the penthouse pad overlooking the stadium and took our seats for the biggest show in town. As I had hoped, it was a mesmerising salute to British polish, quirkiness, individuality and diversity – funny, moving, creative, self-deprecating, inclusive, mildly subversive with tongue jammed firmly in cheek. The eccentric cultural cabaret was infused with subtle (and not so subtle) political messages to the great, the good and the incompetent both at home and away. It mattered little to me that much of the humour might have been lost on the globally bemused. It was worth all the money just to get the first lesbian kiss ever broadcast on Saudi TV. After much reticence, all but a few diehard cynics now seem to have risen to the occasion and finally taken the Games to their hearts. There’s a real buzz in the air, a buzz you can feel, taste and see. I think we have Mitt Romney to thank for this. His ungracious remarks about London’s readiness to stage the Games have galvanised opinion. No one likes a bad-mannered, bad-mouthing guest in their house, do they?

I give you one of the many highlights from the show – HM becomes a Bond girl. I hope our German friends weren’t too miffed by the Dambuster’s theme. Naturally, Her Maj was as inscrutable as ever.