Back to 2024

Believe it or not, even after all this time I still keep an eye on olympic matters. I’m interested in cities as places and destinations, and it seems to me that awarding a city an Olympic games means it becomes the focus of the world’s attention. Thus I’m interested in the bidding process; the competition between cities for the status of being the temporary focal point of human activity.

I just came across this USA Today article. The Americans are very worried that Trump will damage the chances of Los Angeles being awarded the 2024 olympics in September. As the article itself points out, in the grand scheme of things, this is a minor point – there is a lot more serious stuff to worry about these days. Yet, on another level, I get the impression that to the americans, this matters. By 2024 it will be almost thirty years since an American city hosted the olympics. For a people who seem to think they are the most important nation in the world, best at everything, knowing that hurts. They think it’s their turn to put on a show. The problem is, Trump. There is no way the IOC could opt for an American city with Donald’s immigration policies as they are. Even without that, the man’s an object of widespread ridicule and scorn. Awarding America an Olympics would mean the IOC giving trump a dignity and authority which I think they would be reluctant to award him. On the other hand, similar things could be said of La Pen in france: the rise of the front national could seriously effect Paris’s bid too, otherwise I’d be saying the french capital would be a shoe in.

You see now why I’m interested in this process. Of course, it was born of my participation in London 2012, but I have come to believe that olympic bids can be used as a barometer for global opinion and world affairs.

Genuinely frightening

I’m currently in the cafe again, looking out at the rain. Well, what else can one do as the world descends ever towards madness? Things, I fear, are becoming genuinely frightening. We may try to play it down or make light of it, but the president of America is looking more and more like a fascist throwback to the thirties. I may be feeling a bit more cheerful these days, but how could anyone ignore something so alarming, so serious? Making light of trump only goes so far: his stance on immigration is overtly xenophobic and a matter of genuine concern. A lot is now at stake. The problem is, as worried as we all are, there is not much one can do other than to order another coffee and hope for the best.

the paradox of being called inspirational

I think this is worth flagging up today. In it, my friend Chris tries to articulate something I’ve touched upon once or twice on here over the years: the paradox of being called inspirational. Guys like me get it all the time – people come up to us and say we’re oh so great or brave, or whatever other nauseating adjective they want to use, just because we try to get on with life. Lyn and I are essentially just two londoners living in the maelstrom, the same as anyone else; the fact that we both have cerebral palsy does nothing to effect that. We may face our problems and barriers, but what life doesn’t have problems or or barriers? We do not want to inspire people, merely to live as happily and as well as we can.

A great point raised there by chris; and to be thinking about such matters while on holiday in Cuba is impressive.

The return of my squeals

I seem to be gradually recovering my cheeriness. While the world at large still seems to be contentedly driving itself over the edge of a cliff, the last few days has seen me feeling rather upbeat and light. I have found myself remembering all the great things I’ve done in the past, and wondering what awesome things might happen in the future. I’ve been thinking about inconsequential, trivial things again, such as stuff to do with Star Trek and James bond, just as I always used to. The last few days have seen the return of my merry, contented little squeaks and squeals, as I think about things which make me happy. I don’t know why this happened: perhaps it is a coping strategy in response to how depressing everything is getting; perhaps it was just time. But I’m glad it did, as it means I can get back to thinking about all the great things there are to think about, such as the projects I mentioned yesterday, rather than getting angrier and angrier at how screwed up everything is becoming.

Being useful and productive

I suddenly find myself with quite a bit to do. Last night saw the initial planning meeting of this year’s Charlton and Woolwich Free Film Festival, and I’ve already started to prepare my contribution for that. On top of that, I’m writing the scripts for a project with Chocolate Films as well as helping to edit a Londoners film. It really is ”Go! Go! Go!” for me these days, and frankly I’m thrilled. I’m working on film, which is what I always wanted to do. While part of me is worried about how I’ll be able to keep track of it all, I know as long as I stay focused and keep my wits about me, it shouldn’t be that bad. I trotted out a script this morning, then this afternoon did a bit of planning. Now it’s off to asda to get stuff for dinner. I’m busy, but I feel I’m being useful and productive. I love it!

VOCAs with regional accents

I think I need to flag this up today. Fascinating news on the communication aid front: researchers in america are developing VOCAs with regional accents. They have developed a database of voices, taking samples from as many people from different areas and of as many ages as possible, so that people like myself can have the accent associated with the area they come from. I say it’s about time! Back at uni, it was a long-running joke to ask why I had an American accent. At least with this new tech I would be able to sound like the Cheshire lad I am, or perhaps adopt a south-east London twang when I need to blend in down here.

Just delaying the inevitable

As you can probably guess, I’m pretty glad that the government lost it’s appeal today: they shouldn’t have been trying to push through brexit without consulting parliament in the first place. Yet, to a certain extent, it was also pointless: the referendum is over and the people have made their decision, however misguided or illinformed I or those like me may think that decision is. Parliament will now have to scrutinise brexit: it must now go through all the legislation we got from the Eu, now so interwoven into our own, in a process that will take years. Yet the eventual outcome remains inevitable: the outists will get their way, and out we must come.

There is one ray of light I got from watching the tv coverage of this earlier, though. My biggest concern about leaving was we would abandon human rights legislation. Minorities and women get so much protection under EU law, which I feared would be in jeopardy once we leave. I thought the outists were seeking to create a capitalist utopia where the rich were free to walk all over the poor, and human rights were something only wealthy, able-bodied white men enjoyed. However, earlier I heard Ken clarke say that much of that human rights legislation will now be incorporated into our own law, and that is what will take so much time. That reassured me. I believe him: after all, most of those rules came from the uk anyway, and the vast majority of MPs are reasonable people who know the value of such rights. If we can keep the protections of our human rights we currently enjoy under the EU, then maybe things won’t be so bad. Mind you, I still suspect that many of the right-wingers who clamoured so hard to leave did so because they thought such rules get in the way of their money-making, and will fight tooth and nail against any attempt to retain it. Brexit may be delayed and it may now be scrutinised, but these bastards are as determined as ever to see their nationalist, ultra capitalist hell realised.

Trainspotting

Believe it or not, before last night I had never seen trainspotting. I realise that is an awful confession for a film buff like me to make, but nonetheless it’s true. My parents thought it was too adult for me to watch when it came out, and I never got round to watching it after that: I suppose it just crept under my radar. However, last night I finally managed to see Boyle’s classic, and thought it magnificent. I had prepared myself for a bit of a tough watch, so I was surprised how much humour there was in it. Don’t get me wrong: Trainspotting is a very dark film which certainly pulls no punches; but there are hints of a dark, almost tragic humour in it. It is a gritty, raw expose of how people on the fringes of society live; but it is not done without pathos, and with a kind of knowing irony I found captivating. The central characters might be aimless vagabonds without hope, but they sort of know they are. There is a sort of cynicism in the way the characters know this isn’t the way they should behave, but they behave as they do anyway. They refuse to buy into the sanitised, sugar-coated image we’re all sold of how things are supposed to be. My hat goes off to Danny Boyle for making this film, for being so perceptive and astute. Now all I have to do is give it a second viewing, before watching the sequel as soon as possible.

Trump wants to be America’s only source of information

I’m sure i’m not the only one to have noticed how Trump is attempting to vilify the media. This morning the nutcase was trying to make out that thousands more people came to his inauguration than attended the protests against him, and that the press were only trying to tell us otherwise because they have some kind of agenda against him. While this is clearly not the case – the photos of the respective crowds speak for themselves – it occurs to me that this type of allegation may be part of Trump’s overall strategy. He’s trying to turn people against the press. By getting people to think that the press are out to get him, Trump can characterize any and all criticisms of him as ad hominen and part of an agenda. Thus, whatever anyone says, no matter how badly the buffoon fucks up, he’ll just claim that it’s just the press out to get him. In doing so, he makes himself immune from any criticism: whatever happens, trump is always right and those who say otherwise just do so out of spite. He is trying to play us, manipulate us; it’s as if he wants to be America’s only source of information, and for everyone to disregard anything which runs counter to what he says. I only hope others see this too, and refuse to fall for such a cheap, puerile trick.