Back Down to Earth With a Bump


Stephen Irvine, 15 August 2012

This week I ask you, dear readers, to bear in mind the simple, well established refrain that applies to most aspects of life on this wretched rock of ours; ‘what goes up must come down.’ That may sound like teaching your granny to suck eggs, and the example set by luminaries from Leslie Grantham, Prince Naseem Hamed and Gary Glitter through to Tony Montana just goes to show that the good times rarely last, and gravity is always patiently waiting to oversee our descent. There are still those who seem to believe that one’s salad days can extend into eternity, however, and this can prove rather strange to say the least when coming from people and institutions of fine repute and standing.


Amazingly, this week’s guilty party is none other than the BBC, the organisation that did as much for our island’s reputation with its fine Olympics coverage as any of the chosen few who ran, rode, shot, swam, paddled or punched their way to glory. Under the remarkable headline ‘Post Olympic spirits high but may fizzle out,’ the Beeb reported the findings of arguably the most pointless survey ever undertaken. The piece goes on to describe how the Games ‘have had a positive effect on the UK… but there are doubts how long the feel-good factor will last,’ a conclusion based on the unique insight of 1,002 members of the public.

It’s a shame they only conducted the one survey having grabbed the attention of those being questioned – maybe they could have unearthed some equally revelatory stories going under headlines such as ‘Drunken Christmas party antics could lead to hangovers and embarrassment’ or ‘Mugs of tea might cool if left for a while.’

The fact that Osborne is still chancellor, Cameron is still PM, Rebekah Brooks isn’t in jail yet and the whole Eurozone is f*cked won’t have changed because we were all distracted by a couple of weeks of sporting excellence in all manner of unusual and impressive events. I didn’t notice anyone calling for an end to last year’s riots by citing Kelly Holmes’ double gold medal win at the Athens Olympics, urging the raging chavs to remember how good we all felt when she crossed the line and claimed glory for herself and her country. The reason? The Olympics are a nice distraction, and one that brought a good, positive feel to the usually dour capital, but to think that high will extend to everyone and might not fade within a matter of days is patently ridiculous.

The closing ceremony last Sunday made this point in far more convincing fashion than my modest wordplay ever could.

As initially hilarious as watching Liam Gallagher slaughter Wonderwall was, when the laughter faded it left a cold chill of disappointment and hurt, much like discovering someone you once loved, adored and held in the highest regard is in fact nothing but a fake and a peddler of the most ghastly lies and illusions. So bad was the rendition that it actually raised the question amongst my viewing companions as to whether it was the real Liam up there, and this performance was to announce the end of the Olympic high in no uncertain terms.

So that’s it then folks, we can all go back to sitting despondently on the tube in the absence of hordes of jovial foreign sports fans. At least I’ve got plenty of Gary Glitter to listen to on my phone as I make my miserable way into the heart of the post-Games metropolis.

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