Regular readers will know that the longest love affair of my life is with the Olympic Games. It may not be the most ardent – John Taylor from Duran Duran, we will always have 1983 – but it endures after all others have fallen away. An empty carton explodes under the wheels of a car and that sound suggests a starting pistol. Police tape flutters in the breeze and I see the ribbons of rhythmic gymnastics. Birds sing and I hear the national anthem of the old Soviet Union.
And I am loyal. I am like one half of a couple you meet at a dinner party, laughing indulgently at my partner's excruciating impressions and gazing at him in blind adoration as he airs his challenging views on immigration.
Because since London was awarded the 2012 Games, I have refused to acknowledge that they will be anything other than the Best Thing Of All Time. I have turned a blind eye to the swelling budget; laughed off suspicions around the legacy. I put my fingers in my ears and sing Sting's Fields Of Gold when anyone mentions the transport system reaching meltdown or the various good causes that have had money diverted away from them and towards Stratford City.
But even I have a breaking point. And about a month ago I found it (those same regular readers will understand I meant to write this nearer the time). As you know, much earlier this year I feverishly completed my application to work as a volunteer next summer, and gabbled my way through an interview. No news yet, no. And no, I'm not worried. I imagine they're deliberating over which one of a number of powerful, high-profile roles they're going to award me. But now, my faith is wavering. Because about a month ago I saw the volunteers' uniforms.
The eyes of the world will be upon our glorious city. Hundreds of men and women will be giving up their time to assume positions of efficiency and responsibility, so their uniforms will be chic, stylish, effortlessly tasteful and a kind of shop window for the extraordinary design talent we have in our country, with Kane or Westwood on the case, no?
OR A SHADE I'M CALLING GLOWERING TURQUOISE.
And this crack in my heart approaches a chasm when I think of some of the other design debacles endorsed by London 2012. The logo, the merchandise… too many ill-conceived ideas and ugly shapes.
But lately I have found a couple of official souvenir items that I can get behind.
Something in these bears' blank, baffled stares says exactly how I feel about all these ill-conceived projects that are dragging down my precious Olympics. Uncomprehending. Lost. A little bit let down. And a feeling that this can't really be it, can it? One day soon, they'll reveal the real logo, surely. The proper one.
Move over, Mandeville and Wenlock. These are my mascots.