Tell Your Friends, Enemies and Casual Acquaintances. Census Results!

The results are here.

Actually, they’re there:

http://thewebways.net/2012/08/25/mcrmy-census-results/

Thank you to everyone who supported me though this! Tell me what you think!

**Edit 27/08/12**

There’s a follow-up post here.

Isobel and I Found Tom Daley in the High Street.

This too.

It was that or Fifty Shades of Shit, which is probably less fun to read (insert note about eroticism that I can’t bring myself to type), and EL James never signed Fifty Shades, so…

Olympics III: the Blues, Boris Dancing and, Basically, a Review

The YouTube videos won’t load either because iPhone files are enormous, or because the Internet’s being slow, or both. So I’m going to talk some more about the Olympics while they load pathetically.

I’m really bummed out that the Games are over. Not quite ‘sad’ or ‘upset’… I feel kind of… ‘blue’. It’s not a phrase I use much, because I think blue is actually quite a happy colour, but I think it fits. Today I missed watching the morning session in my pyjammas, torn between getting dressed and doing exercise and hanging on while they interview Mo Farrah. We’re watching Jonny English this evening instead of becoming experts on a sport we’ve never heard of and will never take part in. The news was on at six. The actual news, not just Olympics 2012 Continued With a Bit About Syria At the End.

Roxy asked on Twitter if it’s too much to ask UK citizens to keep being polite and friendly, and continue on with the spirit that made the Olympics great. I really, really hope it isn’t; but I’m a realist, not an optimist. The weather in this country is usually shit. So is the government, the council, the traffic, the cost of living, modern music, etc. We find it hard to get out in the sunshine before a) It’s too hot for our wee internal thermostats or b) it rains. So how the hell are we going to continue inspiring a generation without winning a gold medal every Saturday night?

If someone mentions Simon Cowell or a dancing dog, I’m going to ban you from this site.

Seriously, though. Since the Jubilee I’ve had increasing pangs of patriotism. From the Queen nearly crying in June to the opening ceremony to athletes crying their eyes out on the podium to Freddie sharing a stage with the Spice Girls and a giant inflatable octopus… I’ve started saying ‘we’ when I talk about Britain. Me, who pretty much disowned the island when I got fed up with incorrect grammar in official documents and being mistaken for an Asian person by ignorant prats.

I think they missed a few capitals from names in the menus of the fish and champagne restaurant (hail modern standards!) and my grandmother pointed out that a volunteer saying “Goodnight, have a safe trip home,” as we left the park was probably because he thought we were foreign… But nothing’s perfect, and I took it as a testament to my suntan.

I’m off topic. Blame my Queen dancing into the small hours. My point is, the last fortnight has given these tiny grey countries something to be proud of. We don’t have to duck our heads in mild embarrassment when we’re abroad and can only speak to locals via hand gestures and nodding anymore. We can stand up (fucking) tall and remember that this is the nation that not only spawned David Bowie and Voldemort, but also the friendliest, brightest and most dramatic Olympic Games since Ancient Greece. Which is pretty damn excellent.

We just need to remember that.

So I’ve compiled a list of pros and cons of the 2012 Games, as a reminder that we’re pretty cool. I’ll start with the negatives, because there’s less of them.

Cons

  • The logo. I thought it would grow on me. It didn’t. I thought the branding was trying too hard to be hip and cool and would have been far nicer if the font had been old English… Or ledgible.
  • The mascots. Should have been a lion and a bulldog. Or perhaps a sheep for kicks. They should have been named things people immediately know, like Posh and Becks or Dellboy and Rodney.
  • The ticket system. Actually, it was great in that security was so tight. But it was a shame to see empty seats when I knew so many people who wanted to go.

Pros

  • The Mo Bot.
  • The volunteers were absolutely lovely and knew exactly what to do.
  • The BBC’s coverage was excellent.
  • So was the atmosphere. I can’t even describe how happy and excited everyone – from the spectators to the organisers to the athletes – was to be there.
  • I was surrounded by hundreds of thousands of strangers but felt safe. The Army, Navy and Air Force did a great job, and so did the behind-the-scenes team (I suspect there was a pretty large one).
  • While competitors from China were crying over a silver diving medal, Tom Daley leapt in the pool with his friends after getting a bronze.
  • The who Saudi Arabian runner got a huge cheer after finishing after everyone else because she was decked out in a hijab.
  • The food and merchandise wasn’t completely extortionate. The merch wasn’t cheap, but it was no worse than most band merch – and it was distinctly cheaper than a lot of crap we’re told we can’t live without.
  • I hate most sport, but I thoroughly enjoyed the athletics and have been really inspired to get out of the lounge and into my new shiny Team GB trackies.
  • Through an ‘Olympics 2012’ thread I created on MCRmy.com, I discovered this video and Zoe Smith’s blog And Zoe Smith, now I think about it.
  • This GIF (which I am so sad won’t load directly).

I’m sleep deprived again. When the YouTube videos finally load, I might add some more to this. Like a fancypants final paragraph. Or a picture of me in my trackies doing some exercise, holding up a sign saying ‘IF THE OLYMPICS CAN INSPIRE ME, YOU HAVE NO REASON NOT TO GET OFF YOUR ARSE’.

Oh, God, there’s a thought. I’ll link the Rwandan team at a bus stop, instead.

Olympics II: the Stadium, the Sport and Usain Bolt Being Nice

I have some video to upload and some more pictures to add to both posts, but my laptop battery’s running low and I have to get up for karate tomorrow. I’ll add stuff over the weekend. Anyway, enjoy!

6:15pm

Installed in our seats, Seb Coe and co. having rallied the crowd, the men’s decathlon high jump is underway.

When we did high jump in year seven, I nearly kicked my teacher in the face. I felt bad so went along to high jump club that lunchtime. I had one go and was told to sit out on a bench.

Inspire a generation, indeed.

6:30pm

Robbie Something, bronze high jumper, from yesterday, is interviewed while the long jumpers (?) emerge. The long jump pit looks tiny from up here. A wee sandpit.

There are a couple of volunteers playing with remote control Minis on the grass. It’s a tough gig this volunteer work, isn’t it? Never mind the sweating, uncomfortable spectators sitting right in the sun’s glare with not even a sea breeze for ease.

One of these guys is called Tré Hardee. Incidentally, his colleague reminds me of Mike Dirnt. [Incidentally, his name turned out to be spelt ‘Trey’.]

I was wrong, it’s the javelin that’s about to start. I was crap at that too. It’s just advanced spear throwing, isn’t it? I bet it came about because a bunch of Greek men couldn’t settle who was the big hog poacher.

God knows how discus was invented. [Javelin is actually derived from war… Similar.]

7:00pm

Play is paused for the long jump medal ceremony. Three bronzes, including Robbie Watsisface, who we are excited for, then a bloke from Qatar and a Russian with gold. I’ve never stood for the Russian national anthem before.

I’ve never stood for the British one either, come to that.

7:20pm

We are now deep into javelin and high jump decathlon and there was the men’s 110m hurdles qualifiers just now. We came third! Clark got a personal best. My personal best in hurdles was getting over a spongy one in year seven. In one lesson I had to put my hand up saying I couldn’t do it when we were asked who was struggling.

There were year nines in there and all.

7:25pm

More 110m hurdles. The Jamaican guy ran into a hurdle and was going so fast he ran into the next one too. Bless him, I think he hurt himself.

The javelin is interesting… It turns out the Minis are used to cart the javelins back to their owners. What happened to walking? Was that Boris’ idea?

The high jump’s still going. I still dislike it.

7:35pm

 Third 110m semi final. No one fell this time. New Jamaican record instead. British guy in the final.

  I never thought I’d want the sun to go away, but I’m so hot I’m sitting in a pool of my own sweat. Wear cotton, spectators. You’ll thank me later.

7:55pm

  I missed the woman’s 1500m semi-final – the first one; the second’s about to start – because I went to stretch my legs and go to the loo (still no sanitary towel bins. London, sort it). 1500m’s a bitch. Sod sport.

  The tracking camera’s interesting. I liked to think it was a little man running alongside the athletes, but it’s on a track. There’s also a maze of wires with cameras. Who needs big brother when you’ve got the BBC? I’m scared to scratch an itch.

  Now it’s the woman’s long jump final, and I can actually see these athletes.

  What’s the deal with athletes wearing bikinis? Especially in long jump. Sand gets everywhere after five minutes on a sun lounger, let alone jumping in it.

  Men’s 200m semi final! Usain Bolt! Wow, he really is tall.

8:20pm

  I’m going blind. That was Blake, not Bolt. Bolt just ran and it was like he didn’t even try, like he slowed down a little at the end to make the others feel better. To make national champions feel better.

  He really is tall.

  The Russian longjumper asked for no rhythmic clapping. The American did. They both jumped pretty far.

  Javelin’s still on. No officials have been impaled yet. Not even during practice when they hang out on the pitch.

  More 200m. I bet Usain Bolt’s got his feet up with a fag. Can you smoke here? I’ve not seen anyone smoking here today. Did Boris outlaw it?

8:30pm

  False start. “Anything below 0.01 reaction time is illegal… obviously anything in negative is very illegal.” Guy in blue got chucked. What if he was just really, really quick?Or if he saw a javelin out of the corner of his eye and thought it was a fellow runner? It’s very distracting, having so much going on at once. The stadium looks huge on television but it’s actually the seats that give it that impression. The track’s just a track.

8:45pm

  After another medal ceremony – I do like Chariots of Fire these days – and some more long jump, it’s the women’s 400m hurdles final. I’m quite bummed Jessica Ennis isn’t in it, but I got to watch Usain Bolt run In Real Life, so I’ll quit moaning.

  It’s good that so many different countries are getting medals. We stood for the Algerian national anthem earlier – it’s very good – and an Irani got bronze earlier. It’s nice to have a mixture in the tables, instead of it all being led by America and China.

  Oh, what an excellent metaphor for current affairs that is.

  More javelin (Russian won 400m I think). Stab an official, stab an official…

9:00pm

  I recorded the women’s 1200m final because everyone needs to see how excellent the atmosphere is here. The tension before the gun sounds is mad.

  The crowd’s pretty funny when something unexpected happens. “The best javelin throw this year” caught everyone’s attention as it went up and the stadium went “Oooh!”

  I would like to state for the record that the board athletes jump from during the long jump is stupid. Everyone is either on it too much or not enough. Use a springboard instead. Boing…

9:15pm

  We just did a Mexican Wave with nearly 80,000 people… No one even noticed the sport. And Pulp played. Men’s 110m hurdles final now.

9:25pm

  There’s been a guy sitting in front of me reading The Telegraph all night. I had a nose over his shoulder and his wife caught me. Another guy picked his nose just now, and Tom Jones played.

  I’m not sure if these two events are connected.

  There are these speakers by everyone’s seats. I kicked one earlier while I fidgeted. I’m bummed they aren’t mini scoreboards, or 80,000 Tetris boards.

  Men’s decathlon 400m. All this exercise is making me hungry.

  Just after the men passed the javelin bloke (thrower? Hurler?) stepped over it. It’s like Piccadilly Circus in here… and there’s a couple dancing to Vampire Weekend.

9:40pm

  French men two rows down: Please take a picture.

  Telegraph man: Sure. [waves iPhone]

  French men: [pull Bolt pose]

                          [one man poses the other way]

Telegraph man: make your minds up. [takes picture]

French man: [looking at the result] This is sheet.

Telegraph man’s wife: Shhh.

French man: [realising another 400m’s about to start] Ooh. Shh!

Runners: [have false start]

  They played Queen just now and it’s getting cold.

10:00pm

  It’s a little bit mad to realise that the people I’ve watched on the telly in my turtle slippers, and in Zante on the TV, are in the same room as me. Or rather, I’m in the same room as them. Look, Sally Pearson!

10:20pm

Having watched Sally and the hurdlers get their medals, we file out of the stadium. There are numerous reminders that Stratford is very busy, so we get bacon sandwiches from a kiosk before leaving the park via Westfield. Remind me to go back and try out the Greek restaurant there. It’s near Prada.

11:30pm

  The train for Essex finally arrives and we have our pick of seats again. The only downside to the journey is that the carriages appear to be made from tin cans, and it feels we’re rattling through a thunderstorm. Cool normally, but the bacon sandwiches have screwed with everyone’s stomachs and all we want is to sleep. A girl in a seat in front is reading Arkham Asylum. Grant Morrison and the Joker at midnight… that’s hardcore, man.

1:00am, 8th August 2012.

  I crawl into bed, pass out, have a dream about Tom Daley and wake up the next day with a newfound enthusiasm and respect for sport. How odd.

Olympics Post I: Transport, Toilets and the Villiage

Yesterday my family and I went to the London Olympics to watch athletics. I pretended to be a journalist and kept a diary throughout the trip… This is the first half of it – I wrote too much to include it al in one post. The second part will be online tomorrow!

Wednesday 7th August 2012, 12:45pm

We have boarded the train for Liverpool Street after a fit over clothing, a taxi ride and a mini-panic at the ticket office regarding Cheap Olympic Train Tickets if You Can Prove You Aren’t a Fraud, or something. The clothes panic involved a conundrum regarding the state of my wardrobe and the Great British Weather. I look more Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge than ‘Three Cheers for Team GB’, but at least my shoes are comfy.

1:35pm

We have stopped somewhere outside Romford because, according to the driver, the train in front has a problem and is at the station. The journey has been relatively uneventful, actually, with a surprising amount of empty seats and Dad pointing out that the Velodrome and its adjacent buildings look like the USS Enterprise.

He has a point. [In this fortnight’s issue of Private Eye it was pointed out that Sir Chris Hoy looks not unlike a certain James T. Kirk. A conspiracy?]

1:38pm

We are on the move again. I am pleasantly surprised that we didn’t need to get comfy for several hours. I approve, Network Rail.

1:45pm

We arrive at Stratford and at the command of a voice on the tannoy, hit a ‘subway’ (a tunnel) and some escalators. Everywhere is ‘WESTFIELD!’, ‘London 2012!’, pink! We emerge outside the park and are ushered down more walkways by volunteers alternating between Aerosmith and the reminder nor to take liquids through security.

  Our tickets get checked a few times before we go through a metal detector, presumably to sort out the riff-raff.

  My grandmother, whose pacemaker prevents her from going through the metal detector, trots off and we go through another detector while our bags go through an X-ray machine. The officials, who are a mix of volunteers, Army and Air Force, are far more helpful [I think I meant ‘friendly’ in retrospect] than airport security ever have been. Our tickets are checked once more – scanned this time – we collect my grandmother and make our way to onto a concourse.

By this time – since we stepped off the train, in fact – we are surrounded by every type of person from every type of country. Australians, Dutch, Americans, Spanish and the French are all identifiable by their outfits, and I spot a dwarf and a handicapped volunteer. There are wheelchairs, pushchairs, mobility scooters and giant golf buggies for people who, er, didn’t want to walk.

2:30pm

After programme buying, a trip to the toilets and a queue at the ladies (surprise! Although the facilities, by public-use standards, weren’t too bad), we go on Mission Find a Food Place. It isn’t difficult, with kiosk-type buildings offering Indian, a deli and a chippy, and the world’s largest McDonald’s. Since we are here celebrating my grandmother’s eightieth birthday and everyone wants to sit somewhere with seats, we go to a ‘seafood and champagne’ place.

  Considering it’s in a tent only slightly more insulated than the local garden show (okay, maybe not. There’s floors and doors.) and I don’t eat much because I’ve been ill, it’s pretty good. The staff are lovely and what I do eat (some sort of salad-y thing with an egg on top) is great.

So’s the fish wallpaper [My picture came out fuzzy, Google it.] and the people watching. A waitress at another table tells customers that they make fifty thousand quid here; every table is used, multiple times – so I’m assuming she means per day.

If that doesn’t start making a dent in the billions of pounds of debt the universe is in for building these Games, I don’t know what will.

3:30pm

We finish eating and Mum, Nana and I take another trip to the ladies. We are not as impressed with this block, as there are doors missing from frames, a lack of soap and, in my cubicle, a lack of sanitary towel bin. Trust me, that can make or break a lady’s experience of the Olympics.

3:45pm

We spend a happy half an hour in the gift shop. I saved money for here since we got the bid in 2005 and spent the lot (sixty quid. No mean feat for a nine-year-old). I am now the proud owner of a Team GB bracelet, a multi-flag flag, jogging bottoms and a 2012/13 diary. I am a bit miffed to discover that it only leads up to July next year, but it has old Olympic posters on it, so.

   The only disappointments have been the t-shirts with specific sports on and the crap music. I hate tennis, water polo, running, etc., and I heard an F word in a song! There are children about, jeez. In the same song, there was ‘nigger’. There are ex-Empire spectators present, jeez.

I know nothing about rap, so I’ll blame Kanye.

4:20pm

Maxim and Dad go to the Mini/BMW exhibition and Mum, Nana and I sit in a ‘garden’ – a bench near some grass and carefully cultivated wildflowers.

  A phone call from Dad sends us into the exhibition. We are issued with luminous bracelets (see above) and look at a larger-than-the-name-dictates Mini. We are nearly sent into a phone box by an attendant to record some cheering. We don’t fancy this, and since Dad and Maxim have disappeared into a cinema or to oggle more cars, we leave.

5:00pm

Strawberries and waffles time! The queue is tremendous and it turns out the sign for ‘cake and cookies’ is for the wrong kiosk. Mum is not impressed.

The weather has become rather nice. Quite warm, in fact…

A few overheard gems:

  • [Posh English accent] “It wasn’t like this at Wimbledon, was it?”
  • [Another posh English accent] “When I came last week for the equestrian…”
  • [Tannoy] “Ladies and gentlemen, Stratford station is currently very busy and we strongly recommend using the fastest way into central London via West Ham.”

It was too easy to assume the transport wouldn’t go wrong, wasn’t it.

5:30pm

Time to go to the Stadium!

Holiday Post 3: All Out

I wasn’t sure what to write for the final holiday post until I remembered that yesterday (a fortnight ago to the rest of you when this is published) I signed a petition run by an international organisation called All Out. It’s a movement that strives to prevent and end anti-LGBT laws, and it’s excellent. I first heard of it through Lindsey Way on Twitter, when she signed, I think, the petition to prevent a Ugandan law making it illegal to be gay or some such shit.

I signed it too and since then have been kept up to date on the insane statistics associated with homophobia. For example. it’s illegal to be lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender in 76 countries, and in ten it’s legal grounds for life imprisonment or execution. So, basically, it’s against the law to fall in love and/or be yourself.

I don’t even know how to follow that up with a witty comment, because I don’t think there are any witty comments to be gained from that. It’s insane and makes me really, really angry. It’s not just the law that’s a problem, though – remember how a few years ago in the UK, kids were getting beaten up for wearing black and listening to rock music? Well, in Iraq, wearing black and listening to rock music is synonymous with being gay, which is synonymous with devil worship. So, of course, these youths need to be stoned to death. (Don’t get me started on the misinterpretation of the word ’emo’, but I think we can overlook that in this case.)

I’m not pretending that the UK is any better in regards to people’s homophobia – the amount of kids calling things ‘gay’ as an insult is immense, and it seems like I can’t sit with adults over 30 without some sort of homophobic comment coming up somewhere in the conversation. But at least we don’t get imprisoned for being ourselves anymore. Scotland’s been discussing gay marriage, Obama thinks it’s great and bands like the Scissor Sisters are huge.

The way I see it is that a large majority of people think Freddie Mercury was the world’s greatest frontman. He was bisexual. Large amounts of people like Elton John, but are happy to spout off homophobic crap. A large amount of people see racial discrimination as being wrong because our race is “just part of who we are”, but are content to call lesbians ‘dykes’ and gay people ‘queer’. If you’re gay and you like those terms, that’s cool; but I mostly hear them used as snide insults.

A large amount of people are convinced they can ‘cure gay’ – because, you know, your sexuality is a contagious illness. What even…

I need to go and pack and I’m just getting increasingly frustrated while I write, so I’ll leave you with one of my favourite quotes.

  Aww, it’s titchy. Okay, have a GIF-that’s-a-picture-unless-you-click-on-it-I-think instead.