This little light of mine

Gail Brown checks her bank account for evidence of ticket allocation and wonders whether the Olympic torch will be enough to launch a long-term burst of enthusiasm for the London 2012 Games.

Excited yet?

So the Olympic torch route has been released; well part of it has. LOCOG has made a promise that the torch will always be within one hour of 95% of the population and that, no matter where you are, this is your, sorry our, chance to be part of bringing light to Britain. Pretty bold statements, tantalizing even, and without doubt they are likely to ring true if, and this is still the big if, you want to be involved. Do you want to be involved? Will people flock to London or indeed the other venues that will be home to the Games. And will you be involved as a bystander who just picks up on the joy of the Olympic vibe as an event whizzes by your house, as a viewer who just sees it all on the TV or will you actually be within the Olympic Park or one of the external performance parks? Do you want to be part of it? Has the UK got the 2012 bug yet?

So what if the ticketing process has been a bit odd (did you get any?). For those folks that put the tickets on their credit cards you might not know until your next bill, which will bring either a ‘yeah’ or an ‘oh dear’. Were you as bold as the guy that bid for £36,000 of tickets and got £11,000, a game in these difficult fiscal times that is not for everyone. How exactly is this possible when there are tons of folks without tickets that would be happy with just a pair to a single event while Mr £11,000 has walked away with quite a large personal supply, a one-man passport to the greatest show on earth. Is that a democratic system working in the best possible way?

What do you do if you have got all the tickets you applied for? Taking the whole of August 2012 off isn't something that many employers will want to allow. I already know of some near professional fisticuffs going on with folks that applied for £6,000 worth of tickets and got £4,000 worth and are now juggling the work diary. For lots of organisations that are there to serve the sport, culture and arts worlds this is likely to be an incredibly busy time so how can you spare the time off. What to do; what a to do.

While not wishing to start a toddler-style ‘that's not fair’ tirade, you have to ask whether it is fair that individuals were allocated thousands of pounds worth of tickets and some others none. There is still a great sense of the unknown about the Olympics. You may have noticed that LOCOG have stepped up their game (sorry) and are starting to build the 2012 brand and marketing campaign. The logo (is it getting any better with age?) will now be seen in gold, more often than its bold psychedelic friends of recent years; schools that have signed up to 2012 campaigns will continue their journey as part of Pass the Passion; and nominations for torch bearers are being made every hour. Households across the country are going to be inundated with more 2012 news that you can shake a stick at and there may just be a sense of things starting to get a bit exciting.

Perhaps 2012 is a bit like Marmite: you either love it or you hate it. But will you be able to resist seeing the torch? Having been lit at a sacred ceremony many miles and traditions away, the arrival of the torch signifies something quite spectacular. The flame is a call to all athletes across the lands that a competition so challenging and so incredible is coming soon and if, just if, you believe that you are good enough to compete then you can and should. Perhaps the flame has a second job for 2012, to gather audiences, garner support for our athletes and to ensure that during the Games we don't just have a gold logo but gold medals that we can all be proud of.

Gail Brown is chair of advocacy and research for the National Association of Local Government Arts Officers

For previous columns by Gail Brown visit the comment page


The Leisure Review, June 2011

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While not wishing to start a toddler-style ‘that's not fair’ tirade, you have to ask whether it is fair that individuals were allocated thousands of pounds worth of tickets and some others none.

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