Yesterday morning I was accidently just in time to see the Olympic torch being handed off in the middle of the road outside my office. As we got off the bus an aggrieved passenger complained to the driver: ‘oh, it’s that torch again. The bloody thing’s following me around’. I wonder if there is a medico-psychiatric name for athletic-related paranoia?
There was a straggle of spectators--not exactly lining, more sporadically pocking—the pavements, with the occasional corporate balloon and inevitable coca-cola promotional hand-outs. Isn’t it a comfort to know that hosting the Olympics has offered our children a new message about how to be a winner? Drink coca cola, eat at Macdonald’s and waddle, toothless, around a track—there could be a special medal for the kid with the biggest liver.
It is therefore somewhat heartening to see the streets of Edinburgh even fuller than usual of people running or sitting on kerbs stretching their legs under the watchful gaze of personal trainers with calves like condoms full of door furniture. I think some of this may be down to people training for the ‘Speed of Light’ event on Arthur’s Seat during which we are promised: 'The iconic mountain... brought to life in a mass choreographed act of walking and endurance running, as part of Edinburgh International Festival and London 2012 Festival. A mesmerising visual display unfolds each night on the ascent to the summit as hundreds of runners wearing specially designed light suits take to the intricate path networks below'.
Members are the public will be able to part as well: a ‘walking audience’ carrying portable lights—assuming they haven’t given into the subliminal messages of all that advertising from our sponsors during the Olympics and are unable to get up from their sofas, never mind stagger up a hill.
An possibly more physically demanding pursuit is coming to the streets of Edinburgh in the European Cycle Messenger Championships next week, with a one mile sprint up Arthur’s Seat, a track event and a delivery challenge. Evidently any cyclist can take part--if they think they’re hard enough. Sadly, Edinburgh appears not have taken part in the World Naked Cycle Riding event last month. I think Macdonald’s may have missed a unique advertising opportunity--all those buns...
It all reminds me of the brilliant slogan devised by an advertising executive who has had a nervous breakdown in the film, ‘Crazy People’: "Volvo — they're boxy but they're good." The corollary for another well-known Swedish car might be: ‘Saab - if this car was a woman, it would wear big pants.’ Perhaps our corporate sponsors should try something similar for the Olympics: ‘Junk food—it kills you, but it’s good’.