Chris Markiewicz's Blog
Every Monday – thoughts, observations and ideas that hold up a mirror to who & how we are

Missing the party

Behind our house in High Barnet, about half a mile away, is a golf clubhouse. Every so often, it is hired out for weddings and parties. On such nights I may lay awake in bed with the music thumping away in the distance as people are partying into the early hours.

Part of me gets a tad grumpy that my sleep is being disturbed, but a bigger part feels a mixture of envy and “good on you” directed at those revellers.

As I write this, on the final night of the London Olympics I am experiencing all those feelings about 100 fold.

There has been a party going on for the past couple of weeks just down the road and I’ve hardly taken part at all. Yes, I watched the magnificent opening ceremony on the computer and yes, I went with my son to see the fencing on the first Sunday which I enjoyed immensely. I certainly got a taste of the party atmosphere, but no more than the equivalent of popping in for just two minutes of an extraordinary all nighter.

Yet, I’m still trying to decide whether or not I’m ultimately regretful. Have I missed out on a personal or TV experience of a lifetime? I guess so. Having said that, I’ve nevertheless enjoyed a really great fortnight which included one of the best holidays I’ve ever had.

I was struck by something the journalist David Aaranovich said on Radio 4 the day after the opening of the games. Having turned down the opportunity to attend the opening ceremony, he admitted regretfully: “I curse my diffidence”.

 I’m not sure I’m quite in cursing mode, but can understand where he’s coming from. My attitude to the whole thing has been a messy and confusing hotch potch from awe and admiration at one end of the scale right through to occasional downright cynicism at the other. I’ve been skating and stumbling about between these extremes over the past sixteen days – and, boy oh boy am I still having difficulty in deciding on where to land on this one!

So, as I settle down for the night, I wonder whether these games will have ultimately made a big difference to the nation’s (and the world’s) psyche and well-being or, like many parties, they have been an almighty distraction from the underlying, arguably worsening, problems so many people are facing. In other words, will things be on an accelerating upward trajectory in a few weeks from now or will we be having the mother of all Monday morning hangovers as “real life” hits us and we  “ get back to normal and go back to work”?

Time will tell.

Either way, the fact does remain that I did miss what seemed like one hell of a party!

Perhaps I’ll wander up to the golf club next Saturday to make up for it – now where did I put that crimson Pringle v-neck and those custard yellow slacks?



3 Responses to “Missing the party”

  1. I was a cynic and would probably have gone to Scotland for the duration of the games but my husband and more particularly his brother were determined to experience them to the max. They worked hard to get tickets and I went along not to be a spoil-sport.

    I was delighted by the organisation, the British good behaviour and capacity to have good clean fun, people’s willingness to put aside minor complaints on the basis that the whole thing is fabulous. Above all I was wowed by the Olympic Park which is beautiful and where thousands of people can wander at will without queuing for more than a few minutes or feeling hemmed in by crowds. I saw a hundred different ways to wear a union Jack and I felt truly proud to be British.

  2. I’m with you Chris, in terms of missing out. As a mad sports fan I have watched the BBC at all times, day and night, even when I should have been working. Each day I was on line trying in vain to purchase tickets, for anything. I just wanted to be part of it.

    Instead, I chose to go into town to experience the marathon – a great event of which I am a veteran on the first London Marathon. Sadly, at the last minute, a mad family failure prevented me from going, And so it is over and I’ve not been.

    There is a silver lining, however. When I first failed in the ballot to get tickets, I decided to buy Palaympic tickets instead. I have two sets of four to go to the main stadium for athletics in September. I have always been a supporter of disability sport and am pleased and excited to have something Olympian to look forward to. I understand that even these are as rare as gold-dust now.


  3. Hi Chris – I think the biggest problems that I had with the Olympics were the cost of the games and the stupidity of the ‘sponsorship’ deals. You know me, I’m always up for a party, always have been, and I’ll travel a long way for a good one and as parties go this one looked pretty spectacular! But in the back of my mind all the time has been ” how many extra doctors, nurses, firefighters etc. could we have afforded if we’d spent the money on them instead”. And then there was the ‘security’ farce which was probably just the tip of the iceberg in terms of inefficiency and corruption. The corporatisation of the games (and this goes for many other events) I also find incredibly distasteful along with the tax deals (fortunately scuppered by protest – probably!). When you think that the cost of the last games (without corporate sponsorship) was well under a million quid and compare it to the cost of these games you’ve got to ask why it was so expensive. Minimum of 12 Billion quid!!! And we’re in the middle of the worst recession in living memory. Someone has made a lot of money out of the taxpaying public.
    Ah well – perhaps I’m being cynical and it was really all for the good. I hope so and I hope that a lot of good comes out of it. Who knows?

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