Sunday, 5 August 2012
I need somebody
Suitably refreshed (or completely knackered, whichever you prefer) after my trip to Oswestry, thoughts turn with dread to work once again. My last post was all about my first shift as a TA, and I will pick up the thread from there.
Firstly, there's been some discussion about the legacy the Games will leave behind. For me, it feels as if that - once the whole thing is over - reality will come crashing down on all our heads. It's bizarre that the BBC has wall to wall coverage, from 6am to 1am every day, and every single front page is about Team GB. Don't get me wrong, I have a great deal of respect for the sports people who have done so amazingly well for us, and I enjoy almost all of the sports I watch (I find the colour of the hockey pitch a bit dazzling, and I'm not huge on sailing or equestrianism, but the rest are all good) but it does create a rather surreal atmosphere, as though the events in the rest of the world are not actually happening. When it does come to an end in a week's time, I think there will be a sense of flatness, and it will be necessary once again to confront the impossible conundrum of the European (and world) economic situation. People have also been continuing to die in Syria, and it doesn't seem as if the UN or anyone else has much of a solution to that either.
Anyway, returning to my theme, the whole question of Olympic legacy was summed up for me when I went for my lunch break last Saturday. Wanting to take myself away a little from the madding crowds, I walked towards a chip shop I could see at the next junction. The man in there told me he was very disappointed because he had been told that the Olympics would make his area very busy, and he was clearly expecting a boost for his business. But it was not to be. Even though he could look out of his window and see the crowds streaming out of the tube station to get to the London Live site, the route there did not take them past his shop. After the Games are over, even those shops lucky enough to have been on an Olympic route will see things returning to their normal dismal routine. Oswestry - never perhaps the most vibrant area in the world - now seems to be in terminal decline, with most of the town centre comprised of empty shops, although the market was more lively than I have seen it for some years. Fundamentally, there just isn't the engine in the economy for things to turn around, and I believe we are set for some truly historic events in the coming months as we watch the disintegration of the Euro project. Sorry to be so depressing.
On my second shift, I have never known time to pass so slowly. The station I was at was designated as a possible Olympic route to the Lea Valley white water centre, but only one intrepid fan seemed to have chosen it on the day that I was there. There were two of us, along with three others from the Revenue Protection team, and we did bugger all the entire day. My colleague, keen to try out his new customer skills and bored out of his mind, asked an old man if he could help. The old man replied:
"Only if you've got a cure for cancer."