Olympic torture… as it snows in April

…was in a typical English Victorian house with some rather strange people. I think I knew one of them from the neighbourhood and asked if it was alright to go out into the garden. Went out and it was a typical London Victorian garden, About 15-20 square metres. But it was a work of art. There were what appeared to be trees and grass and plants, all covered in a permanent snow like substance. At first I thought it was the real thing. But I touched it and it was just art. I commented to the unknown neighbour that I’m surprised they got planning permission for this. He said they hadn’t gotten any. I made a joke about some helicopter spotting it and…

… I woke up, quite early for a Sunday, around 7:30. When I looked outside it was snowing pra caralho. So much for global warming. And I thought of Prince‘s Sometimes it snows in April. I like this line alot: Always cry 4 love, never cry 4 pain.

Prince was the first person, as far as I know, who wrote his lyrics as if he was texting, years before schoolkids were doing it. I stuck a video animation, with the song, on my vodpod. The animation’s not that great, but I love the song and hadn’t heard it for a long time.

Met a friend who got hold of some free tickets for an early morning showing of the Steve Buscemi film Lonesome Jim. It was good. Funny, lightweight, easy Sunday morning viewing. It was on at the ICA, near Trafalgar Square. By freeky coincidence, it ended at the exact time that the olympic torch was passing by that point. This means we were sort of stuck, because we wanted to head into Soho for some panini or other light lunch and so decided to wait until the runners and police had finished with their stupid little exhibition of pagan worship (Prometheus’s flame) disguised as evil consumerism (modern Olympic “games”).

Although I knew the Olympic flame was being paraded around London as a grand freemason symbol of corporate nonsense that it is, I had decided to not get involved. But to be honest I had forgotten about it when I set out to the cinema today in this beautiful snowy weather. When we were approaching Trafalgar Square and saw those Tibetan and Chinese flags waving in opposition, I was still unmoved. What really got me was when I saw all these normal looking people, chinese and westerners, waving their little Samsung flags! What’s happening here? I mean, nationalistic flag waving is bullshit enough, but now the sheep are waving company flags as well! It was shocking. My friend pointed out that the other side of the flag had the Olympic rings on it. It was nevertheless hilarious to see a bunch of people waving the flag of a mega corporation. It reminded me of “Manufactured Landscapes”, an excellent film that I watched recently with the same friend.

I’m not so sure anymore that the so-called Olympic spirit ever did exist. I’ve no doubt that nowadays it’s all about huge multinationals making more and more money while “athletes” are pumped full of chemicals to compete to see who is the fastest, strongest etc. I have the right to doubt that the games ever were noble. They sold it to us like this: the games would happen in ancient Greece and all wars would stop and athletes would compete, then they’d go back to whatever city-state-country they were from, and, the wars would recommence. What’s that all about then? Why not stop the wars altogether and write poetry instead?

We couldn’t go anywhere, so we had to wait for it to pass. We were up at the north part of the square, near the National Gallery. The small police presence was not disturbing yet, but then just before the torch arrived, there were a bunch of policemen on bicycles and some on foot. Then a London bus passed, full with runners wearing a blue tracksuit chavvy outfit and then I saw the torch coming. Then all of a sudden, out of nowhere, a bunch of police started running after the torch. There was tension, confusion and maybe some of it intentional by the police and then the runner was redirected. We saw quite a few tibetan protestors being arrested. There were usually 3 to 5 police per protestor and they were dragging them away, through the corridor where the runners were supposed to be. Then alot of booing was being heard. Was it against the protestors, or the police? Then alot of “Free Tibet” shouts were heard and I lost it and was shouting it as well. One group of 4-5 police with a protestor were near me and they were shouting in his face “Shut up”, “Shut up”, although I couldn’t hear a word he was saying. I think what they meant was: “look, we don’t want to have to hurt you, but you leave us no choice because you are voicing your opinion”. It was pathetic.

I overheard one westerner say something that I agree with: “I’m not protesting against China, but against the whole Olympic games”. I think that although the Free Tibet protests are important and essential, they may be taking away from the other important issues surrounding the Olympics in general. This was done in previous Olympics, for example, and I think we’ll be seeing more and more similar protests around the world before this years spectacle, and I hope it includes internal (in China) protests, because I’m sure the effect on the average chinese person will be similar to that on the average Greek, who will be paying for the “games” in taxes for a long time to come. And why? Partly to have had the honour to pay for the building of stadiums which are now rotting unused.

So, I dedicate “Sometimes it snows in April” to the Tibetans and Chinese who are suffering and dying in any way related to the great Olympic spirit.

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