A Nightmare of Olympic Proportions


Stephen Irvine, 17 July 2012

The most curious of incidents visited Sour Times HQ recently as myself and two acquaintances were discussing ‘the good old days’ of the school yard and the strange cast of characters we encountered there. Interrupting my description of notorious tough-nut Gary Biffins was a text message simply saying ‘U got something to say bout me?’ and the panic and fear that I hadn’t felt for many long years was suddenly all over me like an ill-fitting blazer. Moments later somebody was hammering on the front door, before booting it clean off its hinges and storming in to my quarters. It was of course Biffins, back to give me another working over, and this time it was going to be a lot more than a clip round the ear…


After a few squeezes of his trigger I’m looking down upon my expired body, the head now resembling a spilt pan of spaghetti sauce, with the walls receiving the lumpiest parts of the dish. I look on from my vertiginous position as he calmly reloads; he’s not finished with me by a long chalk. He looks right up at me – the spirit that is now departed from its mortal frame – his cold, grey eye at once repulsive and captivating. An eye that can see ghosts. A second blast rings out, the deafening report of the rifle this time snapping me upright on my rug back in the familiar surrounds of my chamber. I’m alive again. I’m sweating, crying and I may well have soiled my smalls, but at least I live to fight another day.

It seems that my nocturnal terror wasn’t altogether unique, however, as even bigger security concerns in the east London area came to dominate the news this week, with G4S showing all the competence of a Finnish 100m runner in their handling of a £284m contract. The security firm charged with keeping the peace as the world’s attention turns to our fine city for the lycra-themed snorefest that is the Olympic Games have had a nightmare of gargantuan proportions, and there’s no waking up from this one.

Ironically, chief executive Nick Buckles told the Home Affairs Select Committee that G4S had taken the Olympic contract on in order to enhance the firm’s reputation, an aim that didn’t quite work out as the Ministry of Defence have been forced to draft in 3,500 troops to meet G4S’s shortfall in security staff numbers. Amazingly, Buckles went on to claim that the key issue here is ‘delivering the contract. I’m the right person to ensure that happens’ when asked why he remains in his post despite the almighty cock-up he’s presided over on the very eve of the Games. I haven’t heard such flagrant guff since Charlie Brooks’ nauseating defence of his wife Rebekah after she received a police charge for her (alleged) part in the phone hacking scandal.

With 6 sites in the capital being fitted with surface to air missiles, it seems that security has become a far bigger issue than any of the sports that the crowds will be flocking in to see, and maybe the lack of guards could have been the perfect ruse to aim the missiles downwards and actually fire some of those bad boys into throngs of multi-national athletics fans. So instead of drunken Aussie swimming fans being moved along by a surly guard on the G4S gravy train, just blast them to bits with ballistic weapons fired from a block of flats in Leytonstone. That would soon stop any nonsense, and would guarantee at least one TV viewer who would otherwise have remained indifferent.

Another solution might have been to get in touch with Gary Biffins and see what he is up to this summer. He was in complete control of crowds up to 500-strong every lunchtime when he was only 16, so he seems the perfect candidate to make up for staff shortages and avoid the need for missile fire on the streets of London. It’s rather touching to think that he could finally do some good with his roughhouse  tactics…

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