Monday, 10 September 2012

The End of It All

It was the defining moment of the summer for me. Tears were welling up in my mother's eyes as we stood for the German national anthem. 'How silly,' I thought as I looked over to her, 'what kind of idiot British person would cry during the German national anthem? Has she forgotten the war?'
But at the same moment I had this slightly xenopobic thought, I was urgently suppressing a tear from my own left eye. The sheer excitement and noise of the Olympic stadium, even during a relatively boring morning athletics session, had moved us to tears. It only took a few strains of the Deutschlandlied to send us over into "ridiculous weeping women" territory. I can't even remember which German had won a medal.
We soon pulled ourselves together and got on with some calmer admiration of Iraqi dwarves throwing javelins. But from that point forth, we knew we had finally cast off any remaining shreds of cynicism towards the "Summer Like No Other" or however the Olympic jamboree was branded.
And of course, it's over now. Already I am looking for the cracks reappearing in the transport networks, the rubbish accumulating on the gleaming streets of Hackney and Newham, a return to misery as usual. So many words have been written, so much over-excited puff consumed, an unsustainable suspension of all criticism must, at some point, end. We are not North Koreans after all.
What we must remember is that London is amazing city. It was before the games, and will be afterwards. Just because the papers aren't telling us what to celebrate every morning doesn't mean we won't find our own reasons for joy. We will just have to find them ourselves. Which is surely more fun.

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