£30 million well spent I think


If you would like an Olympic-free day, you have my full support: click here to jump further down the page and avoid all mention of Danny Boyle and other unpleasantry.

For all the Olympic Opening Ceremony’s focus on history, the only historical fact I learnt is that in, order to portray Isambard Kingdom Brunel effectively, one has only to wear an implausibly tall hat and read, erm, Shakespeare, while music by, erm, Elgar plays in the background and the Beatles march past. Yeah.

“Prince Charles sent me, ma’am. I have a license to kill.”

After what Trevor Nelson unnecessarily called “[his] kind of history lesson” (ie. devoid of accuracy) came the worst act of royal betrayal since the arrest of the Five Members: Her Maj appeared in a wee skitlet, and those four words, “Good evening, Mr Bond,” came very close to turning me into a republican.

In case you were lucky enough to miss the event, here are some of the other low points you’ll no doubt be champing at the bit to hear about:

  • A youth choir singing Jerusalem.
  • The BBC deleting Jerusalem.
  • A dance display celebrating the work of the NHS, which probably cost more than the combined annual budget of several hospitals.
  • A dance display celebrating the work of G4S. (Actually this got called off at the last minute. –Ed.)
  • A minute’s silence for the victims of the 1962 Munich massacre. (Actually this was cancelled too because it might have taken time away from JK Rowling reading ‘Peter Pan’ to a giant baby instead. –Ed.)
  • The entire population of Andorra (7) taking part in the athletes’ parade.
  • The BBC reminding viewers that Bahrain’s only Olympic medal is in shooting – and they put that skill to good use.

All in all, it was awful, but the evening was just about saved by the Queen’s official Twitter account. During the parade, and presumably when not actively hobnobbing with Daniel Craig, Her Maj tweeted:

Get ahead of the Games?

I had to pop down to Brighton on Tuesday evening – I’m so cosmopolitan… – and when I saw this sign at Clapham Junction station, I naturally assumed that Southern Rail had made another stupid mistake (Gabrielquotes passim):

But it turns out that I was being unduly cynical. The train did indeed stop at Brighton and Brighton:

After my secret listening device sadly ran out of battery, the announcement lady went on, “Passengers for Brighton should sit in the front eight coaches of the train; and passengers for Brighton should sit in the rear four coaches.”

So there you go ladies and gentlemen. I got ahead of the Games and won two free trips to Brighton – simultaneously!

Mum: “We won a silver medal in Ladies’ Cycling.” / Me: “Who’s we?” / Mum: “Women.”

Mum: “I never know how to evaluate archery.” / Me: “It’s like the easiest sport to judge, there’s a colour-coded target!” / Mum:“Surely there must be more to it than just hitting the target?”

On Sunday, I reluctantly shared a train carriage with a bunch of Canadian Olympic officials who were analysing British culture:

“They have a sauce called ‘Brown Sauce’! And I asked her if it was like steak sauce, and she said no. So I asked her if it was like vegemite, and she said no. So I asked her if it was like… [continues for over five minutes]

“So that stop ‘Wimbledon’, I guess that was for… erm… Wimbledon?”

“He had Middle East hair but I don’t know his ethnic origin.”


Cooking the books

According to the BBC:
This sounds like the sort of thing their Minister of Agriculture might do for a bet, but it nevertheless got me thinking… which is never a good thing…

What a twit

The famed ‘Twitter Joke Trial’ has come to an end with the High Court ruling that it’s entirely acceptable to tweet bomb threats (eg. “I’m blowing the airport sky high!!”) so long as it’s done in jest. Predictably, Twitter was immediately overrun with I’m Spartacus! idiots threatening to destroy the High Court, CPS, Heathrow, Olympic Stadium etc. But it was all for the purposes of serious comedy so that’s fine.

Actually the real comedy was the High Court’s judgement, which included a description of Twitter for out-of-touch judges, plus:

And irony of ironies, this judgement was posted on the @JudiciaryUK Twitter account! Oh dear.

And finally

Desperate times call for desperate measures: the Webbers are called in to assist with some heavy lifting in ‘One Man, Two Guvnors’

Closing credit crunches
In tonight’s episode, Britain’s history was misportrayed by Danny Boyle. Isambard Kingdom Brunel was played by Kenneth Branflakes. Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s hat was provided by Stratford Chimney and Ventilation Services Ltd. The reluctant judge in the Twitter Joke Trial was played by Lord Judge. This was an Gabrielquotes production.

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