Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Nolympics - Nicholas Lezard

Now that the Olympics have been and gone it finally feels safe to admit I'm not a fan. I'm generally bored by watching sport, don't enjoy organised fun, and would quite happily have seen all the hoopla and expense removed to Paris. It was nice that Great Britain won so many medals (as well as being a pleasant surprise) but otherwise my indifference was rivalled only by my partners - who managed to totally ignore the whole thing.

There are a few things that bug me about the Olympics - the first and foremost of these being how the merchandising and sponsorship tie ups work. Secondly it turns out that I really don't like cycling very much - I know not everybody agrees but I find it the dullest thing imaginable to watch on television - but then, as I've already said, most sports baffle me a bit as a spectator.

I was offered 'The Nolympics - One man's struggle against sporting hysteria' by an (I assume) nice man from from a PR firm and wasn't to bothered until I casually mentioned to a couple of friends - their response was outrage, mine was to say yes please. I assumed I would be getting a 100 plus pages of bile - which I wouldn't at all of minded - but it's not really that at all.

On the back blurb it claims to be the only Olympic souvenir you'll ever need, it's certainly the only one I've got, and credit where it's due I plan to keep it. I also thought it might be a bit of a novelty but found instead that it was a reasonably thoughtful and balanced account of a few weeks of relative madness. The Nolympics   is basically a blow by blow account of the action as it unfolds - roughly 1500 words a day - from a man who   would probably sooner avoid it than take part. The deadline for this project was pretty tight so there's a rough around the edges feel which I like but mostly it comes back to balance. Yes there were, and are, lots of things about the Olympics which are great, a lot of people had a brilliant time, but it's not all good, and it wasn't the only thing going on this summer. 

Wherever you stand on sport, and this is about more than sport - there's some politics as well -  this is an amusing and thought provoking little book which is well worth a look.