Olympic sex

Athletes competing at this summer’s Olympics have been given a total of 150,000 free condoms.

That’s 15 each, which seems rather a lot, considering 15 condoms saw me through an entire decade from 18 to 28. After all, you’d hope that after years of training and preparation, the athletes would be focussing their energy on less sexual things; like mounting horses, tossing hammers, the breast stroke, the clean snatch and jerk, or pulling oars (a joke which works best if you say it out-loud in a cockney accent).

And the athletes are all ensconced in their village, so they’re only likely to rub up (or, indeed, rubber up) against other athletes; athletes who also have 15 condoms each. So either they’re double-bagging, or that’s 30 sexual encounters per person

Roger Bannister.
No, I don’t know what’s happening just below shot either.

Never mind the energy – how do they find the time? It’s OK for Usain Bolt, because if all goes well he’s got slightly less than 10 seconds of work to do this week, and after that he’ll probably have some chicken nuggets, a quick kip, and then go back to his attempts to drag Victoria Pendleton onto the stairs and show her what “Roger Bannister” really means.

But many other athletes are actually quite busy: they’ve got a packed schedule of signing massively lucrative sponsorship agreements, or bitching about not getting massively lucrative sponsorship agreements. In between that, many of them manage to fit in a marathon or two, or, if you’re a cyclist, approximately 200 separate events, none of which looks remotely different from any of the others.

So how do the competitors find the time for 30 shags each? I wonder if they’re checked for Viagra in the doping tests. Is it a banned substance? It works by oxygenating the blood, which I’d imagine is fairly handy for events which require oxygen in the blood, such as, well, all of them.

Mousetrap. Better television than the archery. Believe!

Actually, not all of them. The first week of soi disant sport included all the speed, agility and action we’ve come to expect from some extremely static people laboriously firing arrows at an extremely static target, while a stadium full of empty seats watched in monastic silence. The event could have been performed by a slightly modified game of Mousetrap and it would have been more fun to watch.

(My theory, by the way, is that they don’t bother testing for Viagra: they just make the athletes wear lycra and watch closely for any, ahem, pole vaulting).

But many sports need a lot of oxygen. Distance running, for example, is dominated by people from East Africa because that part of the world is really just a massive plateau, 10,000 feet up, and with 20% less oxygen than you and I are used to. That’s why Kenyans seem so great at marathons – when they descend to London the air is so thick by comparison that it’s like breathing soup, and they’re so stoned on oxygen that they don’t notice their thighs have burst into flames. It’s also why most nations send their distance runners to Ethiopia for a few months before the Olympics: so they can train in those hypoxic conditions.

The British, always pragmatic, side-step the awkward and expensive problem of flying athletes to other countries by simply raiding other countries for existing athletes. This time around we asset-stripped Somalia for a certain Mohammed Farah, who prefers to go by the name of “Mo” so that he isn’t firebombed by the same Islamophobic fuckwits who are currently wrapping him in a Union Jack and boasting about how great Great Britain is.

I’m one of those rare people who thinks immigration is a good thing, and that, to quote Warren Beatty, we should all just keep fucking each other until everyone is the same colour.

One of these men is very happy about his Swiss bank account. The other is Jimmy Carr.

But surely it’s a bit of a cheat to simply purloin another nation’s athletes? What would we say if, for example, Andy Murray decided this afternoon that he was actually Swiss, and ran off with his medal? That Jimmy Carr fella would have won by default, and we’d probably look even more miserable than Murray does.

I didn’t know any of this about Mo Farah’s providence until I looked him up – and before you criticise me for my lack of Olympic trivia, you didn’t know anything about him a week ago either, so wind your neck in you smug git.

Let’s face it, all of the sports in the Olympics are a total mystery to you until about an hour before they begin, when the BBC dredges up an expert who tells you all about the scoring system, and how important it is for the competitor to keep his knees together at all times, wear a beaver-skin hat when the opposing player lobs the ball diagonally using a back-hand, and never ever let go of the banjo. And yet suddenly, you’re an expert and want to have a go yourself. Sales of banjos and beaver-skin hats go through the roof for one week; and donations of banjos and beaver skin hats overwhelm Oxfam a month later.

Frankly, they could drop 90% of the events next time, and you’d never notice. I think they should do that in time for 2016. I’ve been thinking about what events should be introduced instead, and I find myself inspired by Mo Farah’s website, which uses the delicious legend “Go hard or go home”.

Next time, it’s Brazil, home of the pared pudenda, the 2 sq inch swimsuit and the all-over tan. There will be 10,000 of the planet’s fittest people, all of them eager to “go hard or go home”. We have the world’s assembled press, and the very finest HD cameras. Effusive commentators can give us a blow-by-blow account of every sweaty moment, and the London Rubber Company are happy to provide them with enough prophylactics to waterproof Eamonn Holmes.

Come on people: let’s make 2016 the world’s first Porn Olympics. Go hard or go home indeed! We could have events such as:

  • Most copious spaff
  • Loudest fake orgasm
  • Ugliest neck tattoo
  • Most dead-eyed crack whore
  • Most terrifyingly vast talliwacker
  • Sweatiest, gurniest, most unpleasant sex face – I might be Britain’s medal hope in that event

Come on folks, what do you want to see: Chris Hoy riding a bike, or Chris Hoy riding Victoria Pendleton? On a bike? And of course, we could up the ante with mixed doubles. Or the team games, in which female competitors end up looking like a game of Kerplunk or a plasterer’s radio.

Don’t ask me about the equine events. No, don’t even ask. And stop thinking about it, it’ll curdle your libido.

You might think I’m being unduly sexist, in which case I wish to apologise to you darlin’, and invite you to go back into the kitchen and finish cooking my tea, there’s a good treacle.

These fine athletes demand respect

But in all seriousness, it’s not like sex isn’t already a part of the Olympics. One hundred and fifty thousand condoms! And if that’s not enough, I present the official photo of Brazilian synchronised swimming twins Bia and Branca Feres. I sincerely hope they had a say in that, because if they didn’t Brazil 2016 is going to be… well… OK, honestly, it’s going to be fucking epic.

It seems to me that we’re at least half-way to my dream of Porn Olympics, and going the rest of the way just takes a little will, and a great big willy.

It could be great. It would certainly be memorable. And, thankfully, it would be brief, because unlike real sex, every single competitor will be trying to come first.


Olympic diary. Again

In 1997 my dad retired, and the whole family went to the Highlands of Scotland for a week.

If you’ve ever been to Scotland you’ll know how strange the following words are: the weather was beautiful.

In other parts of the world they have a climate, but here we have weather. A climate is (or was, before we broke it) pretty much predictable, and pretty much constant. But weather: not so much.

For example, in the Maldives they’ve got a climate. I’m sure the Maldivians have out-sourced their weather to the Germans, because it’s astonishingly well-organised. When it’s time for the rain, a small bell rings, and everybody moves to the bar for a drink. Two minutes and 11 seconds later the bell rings again, and everyone returns to their spot on the beach as though nothing had happened.

But in Scotland they don’t have a climate: they have weather, and plenty of it. I was once waiting for the ferry across to Stronian, a small headland just outside Fort William. The sky was clear, blue and bright; so nice, in fact, that as my fellow passengers and I waited for the ferry to arrive, several of us took our shirts off and sat on the rocky beach, tanning.

By the time we got to the other side of the crossing, 100 yards away, it was snowing. That’s what it’s like in Scotland: if you don’t like the weather, wait 10 minutes and there’ll be something different.

But in August of 1997 the weather seemed to have been imported from the Maldives, and we spent a marvellous week away from the real world, travelling through fabulous landscapes in a rented people carrier and consuming superhuman quantities of beef, salmon, broth and whiskey: all the things that people go to the Highlands for.

We’d rented a remote cottage for the week. Sometimes holiday properties are advertised as having “all mod cons”, but this had, at best, one mod con: a road that ran reasonably close to it. Not even a television, just beds, a coal fire, plenty of scenery, and a pile of jigsaws for when the hoolie blowing outside was too much for even the hardy souls who live up there.

When our week was over, the owners visited from the local village to collect the keys, and things started to turn strange. The woman was obviously very weepy, but trying hard to act normal. Her husband also looked on the verge of tears, and they kept hugging each other supportively, as though experiencing an unspeakable family tragedy. Being terribly British, we didn’t ask. Nobody said a word. We just shuffled around awkwardly and wished they’d go away and have their emotions in private.

The man, who was holding it together better than his wife, asked if we’d had a good time. Yes, terrific. Lovely. Couldn’t have been better.

And then he said something confusing. He said, “I’m just sorry it happened at a time like this. It really must have spoiled it for you”.

We had no idea, but it appears Diana the Princess of Wales had died the night we arrived, and we were leaving on the day of her funeral. We’d managed to miss the whole thing.

And then we drove back into civilisation, and found that Britain had gone insane. The word hysteria is from the Roman belief that women had a funny turn when their womb wandered around their body. Hysteria is from the same root as hysterectomy. For one week, everybody in the country had a wandering womb, and seemingly a brain which had gone out for a stroll too.

In England (world manufacturing centre for stiff upper lips, emotional repression and nihilistic cynicism) millions of formerly normal people were rending their hair and wailing in the streets.

Florists, who were having all of their Christmasses at once, had been so moved they’d only been able to increase their prices by 5000%, and in between bouts of hysteria and self-harming were congratulating themselves on their restraint.

The global news media had gone into “operation shit-fit”, and thrown every resource at repeating the same tiny, slightly sad little story over and over again until every important event had to be paused until the tragedy lifted.

The Daily Express still hasn’t recovered. The Daily Mail has moved on slightly, but only because they realised there’s more money to be made from showing scantily clad teenagers on their website, and then bitching about how scantily clad they are. But in the 10 years following Diana’s death, the Express had only 3 front pages which didn’t show her image or name.

Three. In ten years.

I’m sorry she died, but not that sorry. I didn’t know her, you see. And if I did, I suspect we wouldn’t have got on. She was a bit melodramatic and self-obsessed, and I don’t like either characteristic.

To me, she was a face on TV, and a face I tended to avoid reading about because she was, I’m sorry to say, unimportant to me or anybody I knew. She was important to her sons. She was important to her parents and siblings. She was important to the editor of the Daily Express. But to me she was a soap opera that I didn’t watch, and which got abruptly cancelled early one Sunday morning, making its viewers go fucking apeshit.

It’s true she was a pretty girl, but she was a pretty girl who had a few bits of plastic surgery – check out her miraculous shrinking nose – so clearly not the most beautiful creature ever. And it’s true she did some nice things to people who are poorly, but so does everyone. She was not Jesus. The chances are that not even Jesus was Jesus. Diana the Shagger certainly wasn’t.

The response to her death was nuts, and you know it was. If you joined in, I hope you’re embarrassed about it. You should be, it was mass-hysteria, and you should be better than that. Personally, I’m extremely glad I missed it all – being cut off in a shed in Scotland – because it would have made me vomit myself inside out, like a toad.

I’m sure there are a few people who probably still feel their reaction was normal, but I’m telling you: it wasn’t. It was nuts.

Perhaps it’s something about our national character. Perhaps we’re just so incapable of having normal emotions that when one does happen, we massively over-react and start screaming and gnashing our teeth and rending our clothes.

That level of hysteria seems to be building again, and all because Britain’s athletes had a moderately decent day of bike-riding and playing in boats; a bit like the Secret Seven, but with less blatant racism.

There is still a little bit of racism, obviously, because this is Britain and we’re all a bit uneasy about Johnny K Foreigner, especially if he’s French. I don’t blame anybody for it, as long as we can recognise our awfulness and laugh about it. After all, the French have been our enemies for a very long time, and it’s hard to just forget about that just because we’ve all grown up a bit and realised racism is pretty awful. But it’s still in us.

You think Israel and the Arab states are a bit squabbly? Amateurs! They’ve only been at it for 70 years, but us and the French have been actively hating each other for one and a half millenia.

You won’t be shocked to hear that this unpleasant national instinct is being stoked constantly by the Daily Mail, which claims British GB Team UK of England (sorry, I still haven’t learned the proper terminology) contains “61 plastic Brits”.

A plastic Brit is, according to the Mail, somebody who can’t trace their ancestry back to Richard the Lionheart, or at least to Oswald Moseley, whose cod-Nazi goons the Mail heroically supported in the 1930s, and whose son the Mail heroically smeared in its pages 80 years later. Arguing about whether Bradley Wiggins is sufficiently British seems a strange attitude from the Mail, when you consider how hard that august and noble organ lobbied for Zola Budd to be on the British team in the days of apartheid.

Perhaps the Mail wasn’t wholeheartedly against apartheid, which is why it was still referring to Mandela as a “terrorist” the day before he was released. Nice.

But I don’t honestly care if the British team is full of what the Mail think of as mudbloods. Few of us are totally British for a hundred generations. Think of Churchill, whose mother was American. There are few people more British than Stephen Fry, who is made of tweed and who’s beautiful heart is warmed by his own internal AGA, but who is only a generation away from being Hungarian. Bill Bryson, born and bred in Des Moines, Iowa, feels as British as a slab of cheddar or a stabbing in a pub; and that proud son of the valleys, Sir Anthony Hopkins, is actually an American citizen.

Does any of that stuff matter? What really matters is that the people who count in this country, the people, the citizens, the inhabitants, whatever you want to call them – those people are going fucking nuts again. I was caught off guard today by the incessant patriotic drivel and sporting passion visible on Twitter, even from people who I was convinced were as weary and wary of all this crap as I am.

Perhaps I’m just like nasty, old, flavorless chewing gum stuck the pavement, unsightly and unwanted: when everyone else is getting swept up, I remain unmoved.

I just can’t wait for the hysteria to be over, so we can go back to being sullen, familiar and British. Until then, has anybody got a hut in Scotland I can borrow?

Olympic report: day… what day is it?

Nobody knows for sure when Robert Falcon Scott died. Not even he knew.

More than a week before he and his men crawled into their final tent, exhausted, frostbitten and out of food and fuel, he lost track of the days. Sometime in the middle of March 1912, gaunt with hunger and his agonized feet freezing beneath him, his focus, understandably, failed him. Suddenly he was unable to even remember which day it was.

On March 29th (by his own hazy reckoning) he made his final entry in his journal. He was trapped by an endless, swirling blizzard, only 11 miles from One Ton Depot. He was demoralised, weakened, starving and freezing; and in spite of the monumental heroism of he and his 2 surviving friends, none of them could countenance that final agonizing trek to their next supply drop, and the hope of salvation.

Lest we forget, within days, possibly even hours, they all succumbed to their bitter fate.

Lest we forget. What lovely words. Lest we forget.

It’s 100 years on, and I’m starting to know how he felt: I’m trapped by the fucking Olympics which swirls all around me; there is no escape, and my only outlet is this lonely journal, which I’m sure will be ignored.

OK, maybe a little melodramatic, considering I’ve also got warm slippers, and a king-sized bed and some illicit Hobnobs. But like Scott, I’m losing track of the days, and I feel like I’ll be here until I die.

Of course, I know it can’t last forever. It will finish eventually. I know it’ll finish…

… I just can’t feel it’ll finish.

So yesterday I took a break. I know, I know: I said I’d do one of these things every day, but you’re not paying me for this shit, so fuck off. Yes you. Off you fuck.

I decided to skive for an evening, and I went out with my girlfriend – who, believe it or not, actually allows me to refer to her as that in writing, in spite of the fact that I just admitted to buying Hobnobs when my stomach is under close scrutiny. Not by her – she seems only slightly appalled by it, bless her. But having seen Tom Hardy with his shirt off for a few hours I’ve realised that I might not be quite the perfect physical specimen I had thought.

“Make it so”.
Or rather, “Ffrrake hish shoooo”

As you might guess, my girlfriend and I went to see The Dark Knight Rises, which is a very good film, only slightly marred by the strange decision to have Tom Hardy play Bane as a sulky, steroidal Patrick Stewart, muffled by a cross between a ball-gag and a radiator grille.

He looks like he’s at a fetish party sponsored by Chrysler, and sounds like he’s had his face stapled to the inside of a bucket of trifle. Hey, we all have our kinks, but leave it at home Tom, there’s a good chap.

But now I’m back; and the Olympics is still trundling on like a £9 billion tank; and I can’t remember what day we were up to. All I know for sure is that when I left, Britain was a dismal failure, and when I came back Britain was a dismal failure with a few gongs.

I was going to call them Gold Medals, but (interesting factoid) the Olympic Gold Medals are made of silver. They’re not even Gold Plated, they’re just coloured using electrolysis. I don’t know about you, but if I’d just completed 10 years of crippling training for the Olympics, strained every sinew, and finally got my Gold Medal, I’d feel cheated.

Cheated twice actually: once because my Gold Medal wasn’t gold. And once because I’d just wasted a decade learning to row slightly faster than the team from Denmark, not quite as fast as the team from Argentina… and nowhere near as fast as a power-boat. And let’s face it, we’re all going to pick a power-boat if we want to go really fast. So what exactly was all that rowing for?

OK, I admit it: even I’ve managed to be a little bit impressed, in spite of my efforts not to be. It’s a jolly good thing to excel at anything, especially in a nation which seems to pride itself on being so mediocre. Some nations are born mediocre; some achieve mediocrity; some have mediocrity thrust upon them. With Britain, it’s all three. Even amongst nations lacking all distinction, we stand out as lacking more distinction than the rest.

And for the last few days it’s seemed like, hilariously, we’d even manage to turn a home advantage to our disadvantage. Assuming we’re spending our £9 billion at a fairly even rate, we had managed to blow two and a half billion pounds on not a single Gold medal. Not one.

The nation that brought the world the longbow even managed to miss out in the archery to a man with one eye, for Christ’s sake.

(It’s not clear whether he had both eyes when he started fooling around with arrows).

Did you know the longbow was the source of sticking two fingers up at people? I know you only come here for my wisdom, so here it is. The longbow was a revolutionary weapon in its day; and in Wales, where it was invented, it’s still considered quite modern. I’m not saying they’re behind the times, but if you showed an iPad to a Welsman, he’d burn you as a witch.

Well, he would if the Welsh had discovered fire yet.

Actually, that’s not fair. Wales isn’t the backwater the English assume it is. In some areas of Wales there is so much traffic now that the locals no longer point at the cars and shriek.

A dignified Olympian sits modestly on a throne and displays the fingers with which he plans to murder Frenchmen.

Anyway, when a Welshman was captured, the French would cut off the first 2 fingers from his right hand to prevent him from firing any more arrows. So as a taunt, uncaptured Welsh archers would wave 2 functioning fingers at their enemies…

… No, not at the French: at the English. The French only stole a couple of fingers, whereas the English stole their entire nation.

But they’re wreaking terrible revenge on the English by waiting until we go into their Post Offices, and then… dramatic music… pretending to speak in another language!! The swine!!

Come off it, you’re not telling me Welsh is a real language. They’re making it up as they go along! The Welsh for the town of Wrexham is Wrecsam. The Welsh for the town of Colwyn Bay is Bae Colwyn.

That’s not a language, it’s hereditary dyslexia.

Sorry, for a moment there I forgot I was meant to be writing about the Olympics, and decided to start a race war. I wouldn’t mind, but it’s my race! I’m almost entirely Welsh, and as proud of that as anybody should be. Which is barely at all.

The Welsh for an ironing board is board smoothio. Jesus.

Back here in advanced, modern, sophisticated and urbane England, there’s a vast, baying mob of people who are presumably unemployed, as they can spend all week sitting by a riverbank, bellowing at passing boats. I assume they’re hoping the boat will do something mildly interesting, but even if it does it will have absolutely no bearing on any aspect of their lives.

Sometimes, for a change, the mob stops howling at men in boats and howls at men on bikes instead. But not at ladies on bikes because, for some arcane reason that I simply cannot be arsed discovering, the ladies have been sent home.

I have to admit that for a long time I thought the menstrual cycle was a lady’s bike. I thought that’s why girls needed pads: uncomfortable saddles. Don’t blame me, I was only 34 and had had a sheltered upbringing.

I’m guessing here, but perhaps that’s why the women had to pack it all in: it was the wrong time of month to sit on a bike, so they had to pop home to have a cry and solemnly devour an imperial pound of chocolate. No wonder women complain about having “heavy days”: it’s all that Dairy Milk.

Meanwhile the remaining Olympians will continue to do whatever the fuck it is that they’re supposed to be doing – running around, throwing sticks, playing in the water or going for bike rides. And the mob will continue to yawp and howl.

When I ran around or rode my bike as a child I got no attention at all, not unless I fell off and got a really nasty grass-burn, or a wasp stung me on the lip. But for some reason the highly paid members of our national media, whose primary purpose is to hold power to account, are busy having a fucking shitgasm about the whole thing, like they’ve never seen a man on a bike before.

What the media have forgotten is that there is a much more important and exciting set of Olympics going on right now, and a lot more gold being splashed around too. There’s the Catastrolympics that’s taking place in Europe; the Kleptolympics that’s taking place in our banking sector; and the Corruptolympics landing actual criminal charges at the door of Cameron’s chum Rebekah Brooks.

And – lest we forget – a complete and utter fucking Slaughtolympics in Syria. And about that, I refuse to make jokes. Want to see a hero? I’ll tell you what: he’s not alive on a podium in London, and he’s not dead in a tent in Antarctica.

Lest we forget, he’s terrified and desperate in a shop doorway in Damascus. Lest we forget.

Whoops. We all forgot.

Olympic report: day 7

Somebody once bought me a shoe-stretcher for Christmas.

A wooden foot, yesterday.

Obviously it was someone who absolutely hated me, because nobody in their right mind would want a shoe-stretcher for Christmas.

In case you’re unfamiliar with a shoe-stretcher, it’s an object that resembles a clockwork wooden foot – think of a slightly more useful and animated Sarah Jessica Parker.

The purpose of the shoe-stretcher is to make shoes more comfortable. You pop the wooden foot into your shoe, turn the handle, and the leather gives a little. Keep cranking, and it gives and gives and gives.

In many ways a shoe-stretcher is very much like the Olympics. When I made a vow to do a daily blog about something I have no interest in, no knowledge about, and have no plans to watch, I realised that I may have made a rod for my own back. But the truth is, this is a doddle. Every time I think I’ve come to the end of stupid things to laugh at, the Olympics provides.

Like a shoe-stretcher, it’s the gift that keeps on giving. And it’s only £8,999,999,985.99 more expensive.

If you’re looking for examples of stupid stuff to inspire a sarcastic blog, how about the fact that the Three Day Event is taking place over four days? It reminds me of the time I took my Renault Avantime to be cleaned at a hand car-wash. The Avantime was a big car, which is the only explanation I can come up with for what happened. I asked for the £5 wash, and the guy shouted to his boss:

Guy: How much for the £5 wash?

Boss: £6.50


Or how about the fencing, where somebody lost by a very small amount and decided the best way to solve that problem was to sit down for an hour and cry. Nice one, love. Bound to work, that is. The judges award points based on sympathy, as any fule no.

I think it would be easier to judge who won at fencing if they took the little nipple off the end of the foil, made them do it naked, and the winner was the one with a pulse at the end. Now that I’d watch.

There was also an event called the Synchronised Diving. To the untrained eye – i.e. mine – Synchronised Diving looks very much like a lot of arsing about. I’m sure it’s very clever and fiendishly hard to do, and all that. But what we have here, basically, is two grown men elaborately falling into a pond. That’s what they do for a living. They wake up, shave every inch of themselves, do 4000 press-ups, and then spend all day practicing falling off a plank.

Actually, one of the grown men is barely a grown man at all, he’s Tom Daley; and for some reason police arrested somebody who was a bit mean to him on Twitter. But Tom is still in school, where every single person is incredibly mean to everybody else all of the time. At my school we had The Goz Pit, which is just what it sounds like: there were stairs down to the subterranean boiler room, surrounded by high iron railings. It was very hard to climb out on your own, but very easy to be thrown in by half a dozen lads.

If you did something to offend other boys, like having a lazy eye or a pretentious name, you were thrown into this pit. And once in there, everybody in the school gathered at the top and gozzed on you, whether they knew you or not. After 5 minutes down The Goz Pit you looked like a plasterer’s radio.

Then there was bog-cramming, in which you hurled smaller, feebler boys over the top of the toilet cubicle until about 40 of them were in there, and small children at the bottom of the pile died in a shallow puddle of ancient urine.

It didn’t even have to be organised torture, you could do it all on your own. In the second year we were given Gideon Bibles, which were intended to improve us and keep our souls on the straight and narrow. We would jam a pencil down the spine of the book to make it nice and rigid and painful, and then smite first years on the head with them. It was called Fag-Bashing, and became a proper sport, with rules and scoring and medical teams on the sidelines. During one particularly busy morning break, I broke 4 skulls and 6 commandments. Thanks Gideon!

Why isn’t that an Olympic sport? The Brits would be good at that.

Compared with Fag Bashing and The Goz Pit, doing a mean tweet is the digital equivalent to chalking a cock on the back of Tom Daley’s blazer. I’m sure Tom is doing just fine, and just wishes we’d all shut the fuck up about it.

Anyway, we came fourth at falling into a swimming pool. Makes you proud to be British doesn’t it? All that money, all that effort, all the energy and planning and time that our wonderful government has put into the Olympics, and we’re not even best at falling over and getting wet. Definitely worth the effort, that was. Definitely.

Meantime, in Germany, they’ve got a functioning manufacturing base.

Germany is winning medals as well as conquering Europe in an orgy of what can only be described as “doing things properly”. But God knows how they’ve got the energy to compete. I’m fairly convinced we should do a doping test on the whole of Germany, because it shouldn’t be possible to make the Huf-Haus, the BMW 5 series and Heidi Klum, and still find time to beat Britain at equine events. Let’s face it, pretty much everyone in the world must assume that Britain is peerless at being posh on a horse. Germany beating us at that is like them thrashing Hugh Grant at “stammering with charm”.

You might not know people who have horses, because they live in that other Britain, the Britain that George Osborne thinks is normal. They mainly come from Chalfont St Giles and Chipping Sodbury and Sodding Typical, and when you cut them they bleed blue blood, mop it up with £50 notes, and hurl them into one of their many solid gold fireplaces. All those people are born with horses, and some of them appear to be born on horses.

They are also born with a God-given right to be an MP, a psychopathic urge to cut benefits to the poor, a petulant demand for massive farming subsidies, and a predestination to win an Olympic Gold Medal at horsey stuff.

A camel, yesterday.

Not that it makes them happy. The apogee of that set is, naturally, The Queen. But when did you last see her smiling? She didn’t even do it when Daniel Craig popped round in an evening suit, and I’m unaware of any other woman who wouldn’t grin and drool at that. Yes, drool. And yes, from there.

But no, Her Maj has the habitual expression of a camel chewing a wasp.

But this time, Horsey Britain didn’t win. So I think the best solution is for a radical departure from old habits. I’m not talking about a glorious revolution, brothers. No, I’m just suggesting that at all future Olympics, we don’t let the professionals do it. Don’t give the job to people who were born to do it, or who have trained. In fact, do no training at all, and choose competitors at random.

Wouldn’t that be more fun? Wouldn’t it be more enjoyable to watch Lionel Wintergreen, 56, from Dorset, having to do the diving. Or Elsie Posset, 71, from Kilmarnock, being our entry into the pole vaulting, dicky hip or not. It would certainly get Britain involved in the Olympics a lot more than just letting the people who can afford the equipment have a go.

Olympic report: day 6

Weightlifting might be the dirtiest sport in the world.

OK, that might be a bit speculative, and is based solely on one very brief clip on the BBC website which featured charming terminology about a weightlifter’s snatch, and the quality of his jerking.

Innuendo? In your endo!

I’m sure if I watched some actual coverage of the Olympics this would be a more informative blog, and I wouldn’t resort to wild assertions about the relative filth of the events. But I’m not paying any attention to actual sports. It’s not deliberate, and I’m not avoiding it to make a point – it just never occurs to me to watch a sporting event or read the back pages of a newspaper. It holds my attention like a collander holds water: very briefly, and with a lot of dribbling.

Yesterday, encouraged by my girlfriend, I broke away from eating a potato long enough to see my first footage of an Olympic sport: the last 1000 meters of the women’s “riding a bike down the street”, or whatever they call it to make it sound less like something every 4-year-old can do. And you know what my thoughts were?

  1. I wonder how many insects the cyclists have stuck in their teeth?
  2. Wouldn’t the whole thing be easier if they had Sturmey Archer gears on their bikes? I had those when I was a kid, and shifting into 7th made it so easy to bomb it round to Denton Woods.

(I should avoid using terms like “bomb it” when blogging about the Olympics. There’s probably a whole division of MI6 devoted to threatening bloggers. For the avoidance of doubt, when I say “bomb it” I simply mean “travel very quickly”. Please don’t send me to Guantanamo.)

Anyway, I’m sure there’s some reason why gears aren’t allowed in the Olympics, but I’m finding it more interesting to avoid actual knowledge and just guess what’s happening. I once watched some Australian Rules Football without knowing any of the rules (or any Australians) and it was temporarily brilliant. It looked like a riot, and I don’t mean that in the sense of “oh, last night was such fun, it was an absolute riot“. I mean it looked like an actual riot was taking place. I half-expected somebody to be bottled or set on fire.

But by the end of the match I’d inadvertently figured out what the hell was going on, the game looked less chaotic, and I lost interest. I just don’t think I like organised things, be they religions, sports, clubs, gangs, lynch mobs or orgies.

The same thing happened when I accidentally caught a bit of Ski Cross a few years ago (which I’m disappointed to find out is a Winter Olympic event, so I’ve got to wait 2 more years for it to be on TV again). I worked out the rules of Ski Cross eventually, although not before I’d seen about 70% of the competitors hospitalised, and some of them destroyed by a vet in an act of mercy. But for once, knowing what was going on didn’t stop me from enjoying it, because the rules of Ski Cross appear to be “travel at 120mph on a plank of wood, and attempt to break your opponent’s pelvis”. What’s not to love?

Sport should be dangerous. The Olympics were invented as a way to train young men for war, and I’d enjoy it more if there was a greater risk of disembowelment, or if they made the archers, the sprinters and the javelineers (is that a word?) compete in the same field at the same time. Maybe with blindfolds.

Actually, I’m thinking of It’s A Knockout, aren’t I?

A horsewoman with airbags under her clothes

But even the dangerous sports are addled with health and safety. In one of the million sports they’ve invented to show how good posh people are at being transported around by a horse, somebody fell off today and her airbag went off. She had an airbag under her clothes.

An airbag.

Why not make the horses compete on a giant bouncy-castle, and have done with it?

Have you noticed that about the Olympics, by the way: whenever it’s an event that demands expensive equipment, aristocratic bearing or membership of an exclusive club, there are 500 versions of it so that everybody with a double-barrel surname has a fair chance of getting a medal. There just is one type of 100 meter sprint, but a dozens of small variations on fucking about in a boat or wearing expensive clothes whilst sitting on a horse.

And what’s more, I’m reliably informed that they lube up the horse’s legs. What the hell are they planning to do with that horse? Is Catherine the Great competing?!

Actually, Catherine the Great didn’t fuck that horse, she just had a stroke.

That’s not a joke, even though it sounds like one. Catherine the Great had a stroke and died in bed, and not a single act of bestiality was involved in her demise. It’s one of the many bits of pointless trivia that occupy the place in my brain where football knowledge exists in a real man. You see, in the proper man 43% of the brain is occupied with sporting trivia; but my brain is 43% empty, so my head makes a really satisfying echoing noise when you hit it with a spoon. I’d know more about sport if I found any of it interesting, but I find the following things more fascinating:

  • Going through my toolbox and sorting all the loose screws into size order
  • Taking down all the venetian blinds in my flat and individually washing and drying each slat
  • Picking fluff out of my navel and keeping it in colour-coded jars
This is NOT my collection of bellybutton fluff. Mine is much more colourful.

Of course, there are alternative candidates for “most vulgar sport” (did you forget that I was talking about the positvely disgusting sport of weightlifting. I know, I tend to wander off-topic quite a lot).

Snooker might be dirtier, because it’s very common to hear about people being unable to get their leg over, so using their left hand instead. There are regular kisses on the pink, and sometimes on the brown. People play with a lot of screw in almost every frame, and are known to stroke their cue, which is surely an offence if you do it in public.

But snooker isn’t an Olympic sport, mainly because it’s not a sport. I don’t know much, but I do know you don’t wear a bow-tie and patent-leather shoes in a sport. Snooker might be a pastime, but I have my doubts. To me, it’s a zen activity which only exists so I have something marginally less dull than wallpaper to watch on hung-over Sunday afternoons. So we’re left with the proposition that weightlifting is the gold-medal-winning smuttiest sport.

Not that I’d tell any participants that, not even Yun Chol Om, and he’s only 4’11” and is therefore the type of person I regularly pushed over or chased around the schoolyard with some snot on my finger when I was younger. But in his case he’d be safe from bullies, because what we have here is someone the size of a hobbit lifting a something the weight of a brown bear over his head.

Part of me wonders if he was 6’3″ when he started weightlifting, and I can’t help but ponder whether he’s ever lifted something so heavy that he did a poo. But even so, I am impressed with his enormous strength, and it’s enough to make me respect his snatch and greatly admire his jerking.

Olympic report: day 5

As anyone who was forced to read Animal Farm at school will know, “Four legs good, two legs bad.

And we all know snakes did that thing to Eve with a banana, or some kidney-beans, or whatever organic produce it was (sorry, I wasn’t paying attention during fairytale classes). And snakes have no legs at all, and are mendacious and twisted and jolly bad eggs.

I can see a pattern forming: each time you add 2 legs to a creature, it gets better.

  • 0 = evil
  • 2 = bad
  • 4 = good

Spiders, presumably, are the best land animals. And if you pull the legs off a daddy-long-legs it becomes progressively more evil. Whereas a lobster, with 10 legs, is positively saintly, and probably runs an orphanage and recycles everything, even the really difficult stuff like yoghurt pots.

You understand I’m just following a train of logical thought until it drives over a cliff.

All of this is my attempt to explain the type of person who rides a horse. The rider is a two-legged creature (ergo bad) who, by allying himself with a four-legged creature (ergo good) hopes to become a truly wonderful six-legged creature. Like a wasp, presumably.

But people on horses are deluded. They think they’re better than us, but they’re not. Because – and this is something that gets stranger and stranger the more you think about it – because they sit on other animals.

I have not sat on this animal. Just saying.

This is a picture of a Pomeranian puppy. And now I’m going to sit on it. Or maybe I should use Bambi as a sofa. Or plonk myself on a koala, pop open a beer, and put my feet up on a badger.

Why is that any stranger than sitting on a horse?

Let’s face it, if Richard Gere (to choose a totally random person) decided to sit on a gerbil (to choose a totally random animal) you’d probably be outraged. And with good reason!

I wish to emphasise that I’m almost completely certain Richard Gere has never introduced a rodent into the vicinity of his anus. I’m almost completely sure.

On an unrelated note…

Winston Churchill was once asked who won the second world war, presumably by somebody who hadn’t been paying much attention. He replied that it was won by “tough lads from Manchester”. That’s where I’m from, and in spite of people like me – but not actually me, because I’m far too cowardly and 50 years too young –  winning the war and securing freedom for the whole of Europe, we will never, ever be allowed far enough up society’s ladder to sit on a horse.  Not people from Manchester. Oh no.

I’ve seen horses. If you give me a few minutes and I concentrate hard, I can often tell them apart from cows. I use this simple method: cows are round, but also square. I can’t think of any other animals that this description fits, so I’m on safe ground with cows. And if there’s a leg in each corner but it’s not a cow, it’s probably a horse.

But my girlfriend is from Cheshire, and not only knows what a horse is, but probably knows how to get her hands on tight boots, jodhpurs and a riding crop….


Sorry, I got distracted for a moment. Ahem.

She spent this morning watching an Olympic whatnot called “dressage”. To me that sounds like a snooty item of furniture that’s only found in houses with a scullery and a ha-ha. You know the type of thing: an armoire or a chifforobe. If you’re anything like me you’ve heard those word, but you couldn’t identify one if you were locked in Blenheim Palace with a guide, a torch, and Olsen’s Almanac of Unnecessary Objects.

But it turns out dressage isn’t an aristocrat’s wardrobe, it’s one of those alleged sports in which winning is just a matter of opinion. For me, that’s not a sport:

  • In a sport somebody wins by dint of going fastest, throwing further or scoring more goals. Not by doing the same thing everybody else is doing, but in a way which is, in some hard-to-define way, more “stylish”. That’s not a sport; that’s shopping.
  • Even if you don’t accept my first point, you still have the issue that the activity being judged is being done by the animal that the “sportsman” is sitting on.
  • And finally, in a sport, nobody wears a fucking top-hat.

I’m not denigrating the skill involved, but that’s not a sport. It’s a pastime. In fact, it’s specifically a pastime for wankers, because the purpose seems to be to make a horse do things a horse isn’t designed to do. Walking diagonally. High kicks. Moonwalking.

Why not make a goat do handgliding, or persuade a llama to knit you a nice scarf? Again, I have to ask why that’s any madder than making a fucking horse do a fucking dance?

I accept that I may have missed the point, but the problem with writing a blog about the Olympics is that I’ve seen a total of 12 minutes of sport in my entire life. So I need a lot of this stuff explaining to me before I can comment on it here.

I must have looked quite confused when my girlfriend was telling me about dressage this morning. She described the challenges involved in something called a “flying change”, which I’d assumed was what Superman did in a phone booth, but is actually a procedure in which you make a nervous, stupid, biting, kicking, 900lb farm animal do a little skip while you hold onto it with your legs, and your friends from the country club give marks for how nice you looked.

At least I think that’s what “flying change” is. I can’t be sure I understood. But, as my girlfriend said to me, “it’s hard enough explaining it to you. Imagine how hard it is to explain it to a horse. With your ankle”.

Fair point. But it’s still not a sport. It’s animal husbandry in fetish gear.

Olympic report: day 4

I just took my wobbly old spaz of a mum to the supermarket.

I’m allowed to call her a wobbly old spaz, because that’s how she refers to herself. The “wobbly” part is because she’s had Parkinson’s Disease for almost 30 years, and apart from constant tremors she’s ground to an almost complete standstill now. I half expect to pop round to see her one day and find she’s turned into a statue of herself – which will be handy, because she can be her own headstone. Quids in!

And I call her a spaz because she uses that term, even though it hasn’t been the 1970s since the 1970s. I don’t think she’s trying to make a political point, and reclaim the word “spastic” in the same way black people often reclaim the “N” word. She’s just awesomely politically incorrect. She has a disabled parking badge, which she refers to as her “spaz badge”. And she calls her wheelchair her “spaz chariot”.

You’ve got to admire that sort of thing. There’s a grisly heriosm to simply not giving a fuck any more. But it can be embarrassing when we get to the supermarket and she loudly asks me to exchange her own hand-pushed “spaz chariot” for one of Tesco’s electric “spaz chariots”. She gets looks.

So there we are, wandering around the supermarket with her in her (deep breath) electric spaz chariot (sorry), and I spotted something in the clothing section that surely shouldn’t be possible: a yellow jersey. Not that there’s anything wrong with yellow jerseys, but Bradley Wiggins has just damn near killed himself racing around France to get one. What next: gold medals for shooting on sale in Walmart (or do they just stick to selling the guns and ammo?).

While we’re on the subject of Bradley Wiggins, can we just pause for a moment to admire that name. Before I saw a photo of him I had in mind a browbeaten office dogsbody from a Dickensian novel, all “westkits” and “beggin-yer-pardons” and “if-it-pleases-yer-honours”. Or perhaps a downtrodden under-manager at the Grimsdike Mill in industrial Badchester, endlessly servile to his dastardly boss, Mr Aloysius Hardacre, except for the afternoon off he’s allowed every 8th Sunday, when he joins the Coughing Choir and phlegms his way into the finals of the national Tuberculosis Cup.

But no, nothing so rococco for Bradley. He’s just a bony mod with that type of facial hair that once got me into terrible trouble at work.

My job – if you want to call it a job – is something in new media. People in new media are always making up arrestingly strange titles for themselves, and at various times I’ve been an Interactive Content Designer, an Executive Producer and a Grande Fromage. I don’t really know what any of those terms mean. A lot of the time I do nothing specific, just a general background hum of activity that makes it appear that I’m invaluable, whereas the truth is I’m the opposite of invaluable.

(Erm… valuable? Surely not. Surely there’s an opposite of invaluable that doesn’t make me sound like a rare vase.)

Anyway, I was once pretending to do my job, and had to spend a day meeting a new client: a women’s rights charity based in London. We met in the morning and then the clients, who were all rather joyless feminists, took me for lunch.

(Not that all feminists lack humour. But you know how some people seem to get massive pleasure from their religion, and others seem to simply suffer from it and hate every second of the light of Jesus? Well it was the same with these feminists. They believed in women’s rights so much that they were determined to be angry and depressed until every single X chromasome had been turned into a Y, at which point they’d hold a joyless celebration and die.)

Don’t ask me why, but at lunch I was being asked about my beard, and what I look like without it. In case you’re curious, the answer is that I look like a parsnip. As an attempt to lighten the mood, some of the women were suggesting that I should try some alternative facial hair. Somebody thought I should grow moustache instead, but I’m not German enough for that. A Van Dyke was mentioned, but quickly withdrawn because nobody would ever dare to say “dyke” in front of these deeply severe women. And only evil geniuses and Iron Man can carry off a Van Dyke.

And then, in one of those strange coincidences that sometimes happen, we all suddenly struggled to remember a perfectly normal word. Somebody mimed those things down the side of the face, those things that Bradley Wiggins has. People mouthed silently like goldfish, stared into the middle-distance and clicked their fingers. But nobody could remember the word “sideburns”.

Somebody said “sideboards”, which was close but we all knew it wasn’t quite right. Somebody else said “beard burns”, but those are the things my girlfriend gets when I’ve been snogging her for too long.

And then it occurred to me that there’s a slang term that would do until I could remember the real word. I wasn’t 100% sure I had the slang term correct, but I was confident enough to say it. For a moment I wrestled internally with “lamb chops”, but I knew that wasn’t it. Perhaps it was “mutton chops”, but that wasn’t right either.

And then I had it. A spark went off inside my head, and without a moment’s hesitation I said the following words to a table full of grisly, joyless, staunchly feminist women’s rights activists.

“Beef curtains”.

And then I beamed with pride.

It’s a pride that is somewhat deflated today, because sideburned Mr Wiggins and his team of cyclists managed to return Britain to its normal state by failing to live up to every promise. What a bunch of beef curtains.

Actually I don’t blame them – it occurs to me that winning at the Olympics is probably quite tricky, and if I’m being blisteringly honest with myself I could probably only win a medal on 3 out of every 4 attempts. At most

But he just won a yellow jersey for being the best cyclist in the world, so why isn’t he the best cyclist in the world a fortnight later, when there’s a medal in the offing? We can all get a yellow jersey, Bradley. They sell them in Tesco.