The Six O’Clock News: the Queen Does Smile!

To be totally honest, I wanted to do the News about the Commonwealth Games so I could include this:

 from @_JaydeTaylor
from @_JaydeTaylor on Twitter

I heard that the Queen isn’t ‘allowed’ to smile in official photos or at big occasions, which is definitely a tradition that needs to go because elderly ladies smiling is always brilliant, especially when they posses a) excellent hats, b) the keys to the kingdom or c) both.

I feel like we should also discuss dancing Tunnock’s Teacakes, which I spent my childhood getting caught in my hair. I had no idea they were Scottish… I also forgot that John Barrowman is Scottish and that he likes to kiss people, so thanks for the reminder, opening ceremony!

From somethingiincredible.tumblr.com
From somethingiincredible.tumblr.com

Speaking of kissing and all that, Huff Post did a nice piece condensing the whole Commonwealth-countries-being-homophobic issue complete with a Vine of said kiss. I don’t tend to follow people’s relationships online (with the exception of mine – hi Facebook!) but part of me really hopes that Tom Daley’s boyfriend will be hanging out at the diving. If he’s the guy I think he is, he’s made films about LGBT stuff – so it’ll be fun to see what the international broadcasters make of it all… Bet you regret re-outlawing homosexuality now, huh India?!

Or not.

The funny thing is, we looked at the Commonwealth in Politics and its most contentious issue revolves around its foundation as a group of countries that the UK used to own… plus some others who thought it looked good. By its very nature, the Commonwealth represents loads of historical shit to do with the British Empire and colonialism.

From @TheTweetOfGod
From @TheTweetOfGod

Somebody on Twitter pointed out that it’s England when stealing but Britain when giving them back, which is kind of like how Andy Murray is British until he loses, in which case he’s Scottish – or how I’ll say I’m British most days, but when the EDL do something stupid I think “thank God I’m only half English”. (I should probably point out that I’m only totally sure of about two thirds of my ethnic heritage, if that’s what it’s called. I did some maths once and “half English” sounded way more interesting than “totally British until we get to great-grandparents and does that  even count well yes because I’m dark enough that some people have been a bit racist but the joke’s on them because they got my race wrong HA HA HA”. I digress. I think my family’s entirely Commonwealth though.)

That Tweet pretty much sums up the Commonwealth actually – when things are good, the countries involved are very proud to be a part of it – like during cool sport stuff when we are united in admiring athletic prowess/athletic muscley people. When things are bad, we distance ourselves. I wouldn’t be surprised that, if the human rights lark gets heavily promoted at these games, some of the worst abusers will distance themselves a little from the organisation politically… I can’t see them all inviting John Barrowman over for teacakes anyway!

The same is true of Scotland and the referendum thing. When Team GB did well at the Olympics, there were probably people who thought “hey this UK thing is all right” but when Westminster’s fucked up again, they lean toward independence… I know the English do anyway. Could we do that? Could the UK get independence from the UK government?!

Right, I’m off to do some writing and my holiday ironing. I might get distracted by looking up Commonwealth Scotties… Never thought I’d go for a pedigree but they have beards.

The Ten O’Clock News: an Article About Some Articles About a Certain YouTube Video About… oh you get the picture my eyes have gone fuzzy.

I would have talked about Nelson Mandela if I hadn’t been planning this post all week – I might do one next week when the dust has settled a bit and I no longer want to cry when I watch the news.

Anyway.

You guys didn’t just think I’d let a prominent sportsperson come out on YouTube and not take the piss out of get angry at investigate the media’s response, did you?

Bit of back story: I first read the news on the BBC app on Monday morning and kept smiling stupidly whenever I thought of it, because the way the article worded it was all cute… then it hit social media and everyone else started chatting, then it was on the six o’clock news and I was simultaneously delighted and disgusted that someone getting a boyfriend is newsworthy, then I went online and found some good responses.

By ‘good’ I mean ‘contains lots of points for discussion’.

Tom Daley’s ‘brave’ announcement should not matter – but it does

Hole in one, BBC Sport. I knew that being queer in sport simply isn’t done, I guess because most sports are traditionally “masculine” and all that bullshit, but I had no idea that it was such a taboo. Apparently “3%” people are gay (my thinking is that a lot more are queer?), so 120 out of the 4,000 members of the Football Association are. Extrapolate the figures to something like the Olympics and that’s a shitload of people. The article reckons that there were “10 openly gay athletes out of 10,000 at the 2008 Games”, which says a lot about global views. Acceptance and rights have improved in recent years, especially on a local level, but there’s a lot of work to be done before it’s okay for people’s sexuality to be so irrelevant that the world stage – and the inter-state athletics associations – doesn’t care.

Diving puns: 1. I also read “humble tumbler” as some sort of Tumblr icon as a tumbleweed.

Inductive leap from announcement that a guy’s dating another guy to the guy’s being gay: automatic.

Tom Daley is the most significant British sportsman to come out

… ah, but only because he’s so cute. No really, Daily Telegraph, what is up with these assumptions? The “dramatic pause before the big reveal” demonstrating “that Daley is a member of the X Factor generation” might be there because he’d like half a second to contemplate and deal with the huge fucking way his life will change after saying his next sentence. I also take issue with the sweeping statement that I am of a generation defined by a talent(less) ITV show.

The bit about John Amaechi is interesting – what’s up with team sports being homophobic? Is it because in sports like American football, there’s a certain amount of touching involved and some people can’t take it? Don’t flatter yourselves, people.

Diving puns: 0.

Inductive leap from announcement that a guy’s dating another guy to the guy’s being gay: automatic.

While we’re on the subject of The Telegraph, I read this and was going to go on a “oh hey here’s another journalist twisting the story to bemoan their own coming out, this guy doesn’t even know what it’s like being a professional athlete, how tabloid-dramatic,” when the penny dropped that the writer, Gareth Thomas, is a gay man who used to play rugby for Wales. He’s mentioned in the BBC Sport article. Let that be a lesson in context!

We shouldn’t rush to define Tom Daley’s sexuality

I don’t tend to read The Guardian much because it seems quite pretentious quite a lot, especially in some columns (actually most columnists do my head in, but that’s for another day). But this article sums up my feeling about the whole media circus perfectly. A lot of broadcasters have struggled to use the right definition, in part probably through ignorance of the sexuality spectrum, and in part because absolutely nowhere in the video are the words “I’m [insert sexuality definition here].” I interpret “I’m with a guy but I fancy girls” as ‘queer’ – being ‘not straight’ and way easier to understand and spell than a lot of those acronyms floating around, but it looks like there still needs to be a lot of work done in regards to educating people about definitions?

Diving puns: 0.

Inductive leap from announcement that a guy’s dating another guy to the guy’s being gay: nonononono (to be said like in The Vicar of Dibley.)

I know Tom Daley is an admirable chap but I can’t help feeling a little manipulated

Have I ever mentioned that I don’t like the Daily Mail? Well, I found this article and decided a paragraph just… wasn’t enough.

'Mail' Commentary 1

'Mail' Commentary 2

  Let me know if I should prepare for a court case!

 

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.