For us sport-hating republicans, this summer's double tragedy – the Jubilee and the Olympics – was never going to be easy. But the mad hullabaloo around both is inflating, threatening to turn off even those who are quite partial to a bit of light dressage and Queen worship. All around the spectre of lunacy lurks like a fundamentalist on an off-day.
There are the missiles on rooftops designed to protect us from a 9/11-style attack, for "the greater good"; the fighter jets filling the London sky last week; the armed troops patrolling the Olympic park on Saturday as its stadium opened to spectators for a test run. (There was a two-hour wait, according to a discus thrower.) And, we discover, a Jubilee flotilla due to sail down our most famous river is being paid for not by British business but by foreign investors as our own companies appear to have been deterred by the lack of branding options.
Meanwhile, the BBC is advising staff, in an indefensible threat to workers' rights, not to strike during the festivities. And yet limitless airtime is given to these feasts of banality; the interviews with people whose job title is "pageant master", the fawning documentaries by Andrew Marr and, dear Lord, the very real prospect that fashion commentators will talk about the Queen's attire with the momentous tones of a war reporter.
Despite all this, in under a month, people you love and respect will wave Union flags. They will rejoice at our head of state remaining in office for six decades without ever winning an election. And most deplorably of all, they will watch people play table tennis. But like Charlotte Brontë's Shirley, I believe that we were intended to prize life and enjoy it. We therefore need something more than just a coping strategy, a way through the whiffy bog of nationalism and finger buffets. Here then, is my plan for soaring above the grubby hysteria.
Sulk. Make passive aggression into an off-Olympic sport. When Britain wins its first – and hopefully last – gold, tut repeatedly as the nation roars. And when Boris Johnson crows about the glory under which London can now bask, remind everyone that four in 10 children in the capital live – and let's say die – in poverty.
Become your own tourist attraction. Why let the stink-hole that is Stratford pull focus? Show visitors what makes our country great. This should involve nudity, a makeshift podium in Covent Garden, and an act exploring the dramatic potential of dandruff.
Have a series of panic attacks. Nothing quite diverts the mind from panoramic scenes of mass critical abandonment like the very real sense that you are about to die.
Finally, never, ever say "Team GB". If you let yourself slip into Olympics parlance you may as well dress up like Fatima Whitbread and run down The Mall singing God Save the Queen. And what would Charlotte Brontë have to say about that?
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