Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Testing, testing...

Eagle-eyed readers will have noted from a previous post that I had a date with gymnastics last week.

Not competing, of course, although my floor routine to (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman is quite something, particularly the star-jump-into-forward-roll sequence, which is so spectacular I essentially repeat it for the duration of the programme. My marks for difficulty are, in general, heavily outweighed by those for performance, but what performance! If your living room carpet is vast enough, I'd be more than willing to pop over and demonstrate. Please ensure I cannot bump my head on the coffee table or similar. I am extremely litigious.

No, this was, of course, one of the Olympic test events at the North Greenwich Arena. Not the O2 Arena. Oh no. The Olympics does not recognise O2 as a valid sponsor. If you say the words O2 repeatedly in the presence of Lord Coe or one of his LOCOG droids, they spin round on the spot as smoke and springs are propelled from their featureless middles while they emit the words 'Happy Meal! Happy Meal!' at ever-increasing pitch and volume until your ears bleed.

Anyway, look, it's a bit like being at the Olympics but with far less people there, they're presumably hoping.

Aren't you wildy excited? Luckily, LOGOC have sought to quell your rabid enthusiasm by lighting the arena so brightly as to remind one of a friend's brand-new kitchen extension, or some kind of deeply unethical laboratory, thus creating all the atmosphere associated with the latter.

Here you can see the competitors for the rings event lining up, along with the lady who leads them on their march into the arena and carries a sign bearing the name of the event. 

Perhaps you think that this lady and her sign look a little blandly presented, and that this is an effect caused by my poor photography skills or the bleachingly harsh lighting? Well, one out of two ain't bad, as Meatloaf initially wrote, before a surer grasp of fractions prompted a rewrite. My photography is, on this rare occasion, not to blame.

No one is suggesting any more money than is strictly necessary should be spent on these events; no one is suggesting this lady should wear a spangly leotard and feather headdress and write out the name of the event in the air with burning sparklers as she enters on stilts, but perhaps we could have aimed a little higher than the look of a volunteer who didn't have time to change her clothes after finishing her temping job at HSBC (luckily she'd found time to print out the signs – Times Roman, A4 – during her lunch-hour).

However, it wasn't entirely a razzamatazz vacuum. There was a brief moment of magic as the gymnasts marched on to music that was Star Wars-esque – or, perhaps, actually from Star Wars. I'm not big on the sci-fi classics. Iconic, rousing theme music soundtracking the parades and presentations at the Games? This is an idea I could get behind, but John Williams is American. We need something resolutely British. Perhaps the estate of the late Ronnie Hazlehurst could licence a reworking of the Are You Being Served? theme tune to introduce all the apparatus as the gymnasts walk on ('Beam, floor and pommel horse; vault and uneven bars; coming up!')

All this would have been entirely lost on the lady sitting two seats away from me, however, who had apparently seen the evening as an opportunity to catch up on her emails. We're all busy people, after all.

Luckily, when the national anthems were being played for the victors, she did have the good grace to stand up and respectfully lower the lid of her laptop slightly. 

Perhaps she and her partner were working on a modern art project where they act out scenes from disappointing romcoms in public places. Here, of course, they are giving their take on the sequence from the US Fever Pitch remake The Perfect Catch, where Drew Barrymore's character takes her laptop to the Red Sox game and, in failing to focus on the game, ends up knocked out by a flying baseball. This, I realise, is unlikely to happen in artistic gymnastics, but at the rhythmic disciplines (taking place on another evening) my seat-neighbour could well have been concussed by a club thrown with impressive strength but sub-standard levels of accuracy. I must confess I would have been sad to miss that.

Maybe she was just bored. Let me tell you, if anyone sitting next to me at the Actual Olympics is doing their admin instead of paying full attention, I am going to KICK OFF.

In other gymnastics news, I have worked out how to make my fortune, and that is by creating a leotard that does not immediately seek out the innermost reaches of one's backside. 

Also, I could totally do this:

I just choose not to.


LaneasinLois said...

I too had a date with the gymnasts last week at the O2. I was struck by the impressive tumbling and spectacularly bone-crunching falls - but even more so by how the aroma of sweaty sock (note the fashion plural) pervaded the entire segment of seating when a young lady in Ugg boots removed her footwear.

Miss Jones said...


Persephone said...

I've been searching your post in vain for an explanation of the pinkness combined with clashes of orange. As a wretched foreigner, I'm bemused and confused. In Canada, when you see that shade of pink, someone is raising money for breast cancer research --- or traditional girls' toys.

Miss Jones said...

Persephone, during the evening, we spent some time pondering just that question. We could offer no reasoned response.