Cinema vs the Olympics


I really digged (dug?) the Beijing Olympics. I can remember staying up until 4 in the morning in order to catch the results of the show-jumping (you know you’ve got a problem when terms like Hogsback and Piaffe make sense to you) and then sleeping until 3pm the next day in order to maintain my stamina for the sailing events or, best of all, the Keirin. What the fuck even is a Keirin?

Maybe I got my fill four years ago or maybe I just don’t have the enthusiasm for track and field that I once had but, this summer, I’ll be surprised if I watch more than the 100 metres final. London is going to be insufferable; as if it weren’t already sticky enough, smoggy enough or full of incredibly loud Spanish tourists (enough), the entire world is going to be descending onto my doorstep. Not literally, I hope.

It’s lucky for me, therefore, that my dominant passion is going to the cinema, which are like bomb shelters from the incessant hooting of vuvuzelas and the carriages of the Tube, which are liable to feel more and more like clammy coffins or some sick pre-school science experiment involving a family of slugs and a roll of clingfilm.  When I imagine stretching out, preferably alone, in Screen 2 of the Cineworld Haymarket (a cool couple of miles from the Olympic park in Stratford), the cinema’s normally irritating air conditioning blowing my newly shaved hair about, I remember why it is that I prefer sitting in these dark, projector lit rooms to queuing for two hours to see a series of men in leotards straddle a pommel horse.

For many people, the highlight of this summer’s cinematic schedule is this month’s The Dark Knight Rises. Much as I’m looking forward to Christian Bale’s final outing in the Batman costume, there are plenty of other treats about, many of which you’ll only be able to find if you’re willing to poke about whilst everyone else is glued to BBC1. It’s a simple choice: spend your summer gaining an instantly regrettable amount of knowledge about minor sports and the obscure countries that compete in them, or acquire life experience and a meditative sense of calm by heading for the cinemas.

Judging, however, by the amount of Euro 2012 that I’ve spent the last month watching (prelims, what prelims?) my prediction that I’ll manage to evade the long arm of the Olympics for more than a day or two might be proved somewhat premature. All I really want is cool, calm and a half-gallon of Coke. Is that too much to ask for this summer?


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