The dark side of all our gold medals.

Haven’t been inspired to write this last week since my longest blog last Monday. That was inspired by righteous anger at the leaving of my friends from Purbeck View School and how for me it captured much of what I believe wrong with our current capitalist country. I was also a little disappointed that despite my invitations there were no comments let alone anyone bothering to develop any discussion. Apart from the obvious reason that few people actually read my blog, that fewer still who actually read the piece have anything to do with the school and that people have better things to do with their lives than comment on my rabid bollocks.

Anyway,  I’m with Tony Judt who was of the opinion that our problem is discursive, we simply don’t know how to discuss the dysfunctions and inequalities that beset us. Reasons for this are numerous and sometimes complex. For example Mr Judt’s analysis is that for the last 30 years or so with any proposal or initiative there is no discussion about whether it might be good or bad morally or socially but rather only consideration of the narrow economic terms of profit and loss.

Right now we are amidst the greatest circus the human world has ever known,the olympics. There was an Olympian Ideal of bringing together people from around the world to be together and compete and it’s evolved into a corporate-faced monster. It provides many like myself a wonderful sporting spectacle, long ago the Greeks and particularly the Romans learnt that providing the masses with sporting spectacles was a very useful political tool. It’s now been finely tuned in the modern era and with modern communications and the likes of mucky murdoch become a grotesque capitalist cancer.

And so I stay up late into the night enthralled by magnificent sporting endeavour and am caught up with ‘team gb’, a term I abhor, reaching the dizzy heights of second in the medals table as our sporting boys and girls gather medals at an unprecedented rate and amidst it all a young South African produces an amazing run in the men’s 400 metres but it goes almost unnoticed as it hasn’t been scripted within the ‘team gb narrative’ and happened only a short while before the now godly Usain achieves Olympian immortality.

Shut the fuck up you miserable bastard duncan, how can you cast any aspersions when we are witnessing the greatest flowering of British sporting endeavour in the whole history of the world, when the magnificent Andy Murray and almost equally magnificent Juan Martin del Potro serve up an incredible gladiatorial duel in the Rio night and even sexist, moribund, middle-class golf is extolled through the medium of Justin Rose who has embraced the Olympic Ideal and we win our first ever gymnastic golds; gymnastics the purest form of human sporting physical expression, the sport that provides (or at least it did when I did my PE PGCE) the core of the physical education curriculum.

And so I crudely segue into my rant of the day, inspired by an interview on this morning’s toady programme as Harrumphries interviews sporting folk about teamgb’s success and that there is some disparity between the funding of different sports, he uses the example of basketball, who apparently had their funding cut a few years ago. The one sporting interviewee seemingly blithely ignorant of any political bollocks talks of ‘role models’ and these sporting heroes inspiring young people to emulate them. All well and simplistically good except: school playing fields sold off (except for those at private schools which are magnificent, extensive and expensively supported), PE now very much a secondary part of state school provision (not so in the private sector), many sports facilities owned by us through councils cut, sold off in the name of ‘economic efficiency’ and so on ad bleedin’ infinitum. Ever more of our sporting heroes privately educated. Shame harrumphries didn’t back up his basketball example as which young people mostly play basketball?

Our Olympic sporting success is a chimera for so many of our young people. Still, it will all be better with more grammar schools.

Kate and I went to a hotel in Wales to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of our first wedding, on our way back we stopped off to have a lovely lunch with the lovely Julie and Nick, we really enjoyed ourselves. We discussed the possibility of some of us late-middle aged folk getting together next year, perhaps renting a whole chateaux in France, to celebrate our 60th year on this dear Earth. Sounds like fun; eating, drinking, being silly, playing games, doing stuff we all enjoy.


Keep on keeping on, love Duncan.


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