Patrick Strudwick: Advice for the sport-hating republican

Sulking is a good idea: make passive aggression into an off-Olympic contest

Share
Related Topics

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?

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant - Solar Energy - OTE £50,000

£15000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunities are ava...

Recruitment Genius: Compute Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Compute Engineer is required to join a globa...

Ashdown Group: PHP Web Developer / Website Coordinator (PHP, JavaScript)

£25000 - £28000 per annum + 25 days holidays & pension: Ashdown Group: PHP Web...

Recruitment Genius: Estates Projects & Resources Manager

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Based in London, Manchester, Br...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Errors & Omissions: moderate, iconic royals are a shoe-in for a pedantic kicking

Guy Keleny
 

Letter from the Whitehall Editor: Cameron is running scared from the “empty chair”

Oliver Wright
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us