Monday, July 02, 2012

The Olympic torch in the rain

The Olympic torch visited Market Harborough today. Schoolchildren were given the afternoon off, the Market Hall was opened specially and entertainment was laid on.

Sadly, the weather did not co-operate.

It is customary to tell a white lie in such circumstances and say that the rain did not spoil things - the reporting of the Jubilee pageant on the Thames was a blatant example of this. But, of course, the weather did spoil things to an extent and I felt sorry the local people who had put so much work into the day.

But I like the British 'mustn't grumble' spirit - especially when I remember the origins of the Olympic flame. As I once wrote for the New Statesman:
Like most Olympic traditions, it was invented for the Berlin Games of 1936. Albert Speer was in charge of the pageantry there, and he decided to repeat the 'cathedral of light' effect that had gone down so well at the Nuremberg rallies.
When the flame came through Market Harborough it was rather dominated by police outriders and commercial sponsors.

More and more, the idea that spending billions of pounds on staging the Games was the best way of encouraging the youth of Britain to be more active seems the ultimate Blairite absurdity.

Later. I liked the comment of Sharron Allen to the Harborough Mail, discussing the celebrations in nearby Dingley:
"Then the Morrismen came out, even though it was raining. I got them a cup of tea, they deserved it."

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