Radio Five told me the other day that the country was "gripped by Olympic Fever", so I looked out of the window to check. It was difficult to tell, but my next door neighbour, Ken, didn't look like he was gripped by it as he was weeding his garden. For a minute I thought he might have been, he stood up and looked like he was going to shout something but it turned out he was just pulling up his trousers and stretching his back.
As further research I asked in the pub last night if anyone was gripped by "Olympic Fever". I got the following replies:
2. When is it on?
3. I'll watch the athletics on the telly.
4. That sounds like a new flavour of Lynx body spray.
5. Can I have some salted peanuts? (It was my round).
It appears "Olympic Fever" hasn't spread as far as the Hare and Hounds in Tarbock.
A few months ago I saw a huge poster in Liverpool city centre warning me there was going to be congestion in London during the Olympics and that I should plan my journey early. Had my shrug been any bigger they would have felt it on one of those seismology machines that monitor earthquakes, they might as well have warned me about leaves on the line in the Amazon for all it mattered to me. I just mumbled it was a waste of money and sat in a good old fashioned northern traffic jam that had been caused by black puddings or a crashed tram or something. It did briefly cross my mind if somewhere in London someone was sticking up a poster telling southern folk to watch out for congestion in Liverpool, but I doubted it. They wouldn't have read it anyway; apparently they are all "gripped by Olympic Fever".
Five Live told me that school kids up and down the land are "gripped by Olympic Fever" as well, which is why McDonalds have probably built their biggest meat processing emporium on the site (unless maybe Sumo is now an Olympic sport?) I haven't got kids, but friends have been infected with them so I rung my mate and asked him if his kid had that "Olympic fever"?
"Erm... Gerard had to draw a picture about it, something to do with ancient Greece I think. Hang on, I'll get him off the xBox so you can ask him"
While I waited I pondered whether it was right to ask an eight year old to draw a picture of two naked men wrestling and decided to leave that for another blog post. Gerard then came on the phone to speak to "Uncle Tony",
"Have you done much about the Olympics at school?"
"We made a picture and miss told us about some old people."
"What old people?"
"Are you coming to my birthday party?"
"No, what old people did Miss tell you about?"
"I'm having a bouncy castle you should come."
"I might come (I liked the sound of the bouncy castle) but what old people?"
"I'm eight, will I get a present?"
"Yeah whatever... look, what old people..."
Gerard hung up on me after that, I'm guessing he'd got a cast iron guarantee of a present and couldn't see the point of carrying on the interview.
I reckon he'll be a Politician when he grows up, but either way, I think we can deduce from his reply, he was not "gripped by Olympic fever".
Maybe it's a Northern thing I thought, maybe down south is "gripped by Olympic fever" so I phoned my mate Sweeney, who lives in the capital,
"Are you gripped by Olympic fever?"
"No, to be honest it's a pain in the arse, why?"
"The BBC said the country is gripped by it, and I wanted to check if I'm normal because I'm not."
"We already know you aren't normal."
"Yeah ignoring that, are any of your southern mates gripped by it?"
"No. Although the traffic is terrible."
"Yeah I know, I read about it."
So far so bad, fever grippage doesn't seem to be as widespread as the BBC originally feared (a bit like when they banged on about Bird flu for three months and we all didn't die). I'm guessing Olympic fever is a pretty isolated outbreak in TV and radio studios, the odd newspaper office (but only if anything goes wrong) and the middle class families who can still afford to have a credit card to buy tickets. The rest of the outbreak will be contained to all the corporate folk who will be going to take part in the back slippery events and the legions of "Olympic delegates and back room staff" who travel around the world making sure you don't use their symbol by accident when you take your sat nav off the window and leave a mark.
The rest of us? Well, I might watch the athletics and maybe some of the beach volleyball (it's a very skilful game!) I'm afraid show jumping, modern pentathlon, sailing, rowing and fencing et al will pass me by.
When they are on I'll probably just take the dog for a walk down where the playing fields used to be around here.
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