?

Log in

No account? Create an account

The Past | The Previous

2004 Free Games.

When the 2000 Olympic Games came to Sydney, there was no escape.

It was everywhere. You walked down the street, and strangers would stop you and, holding one of the many ridiculous novelty items that were around and would tell you just what a wonderful and fantastic time they had at the Stadium. How great it was to see Australia doing so well. That pretty much only applied for the swimming, at least as far as I could figure out. Or Cathy Freeman, a runner. If Cathy Freeman or a swimmer won (and if that swimmer was Ian Thorpe), it was as if Australia had suddenly found the cure for cancer, and the world had just stopped in mid spin, in mid meal, in mid shit, and in one long collective voice said, "Shit, they cured fucking cancer."

It was a bad time for the people who had no interest in the Olympic Games.

I think decent people in Sydney considered rounding us up, and dumping us in detention camps. There was probably a memo about it, and about people like me, who were going around and ruining the ambiance. It felt like I'd rocked up to a dinner with the Queen and begun the dinner conversation with, "What useful purpose do you have?" After the coughing and spluttering and the avoidance of the fact that swimming very fast serves no purpose whatsoever I would be pointedly ignored for the rest of the evening. Later, I would find little black vans sent by the Queen circling my place, until, at three in the morning, the doors were kicked open, and armed Agents of the Government came in, stole me, and dumped me in a pool full of flesh eating creatures to demonstrate to me just how swimming fast is actually very important.

I imagine that the Queen would laugh and poke at her assorted meats as I was ripped and torn and devoured before her cold and faded gaze.

It was, in case you haven't figured, a difficult time for me during the 2000 Olympic Games. Lots of arguments, a breakup, that thing with the Queen, and watching Sydney get branded with the World City logo on it that would ensure that the following years would see it expand to the point where it was bursting with flesh and houses and automobiles and pollution and money. The old Sydney was swept away (it was, in fact, swept away in the years leading up to the Olympics) and what was left in its place was a shiny simulacra.

It was that shiny thing that birthed the Olympics and the alien city I was forced to live in during 2000.

But not in 2004.

The Games are not here. They're happening in another city, in another time zone, and with the exception of a few notices bleeding into the edges of my daily information stream, I'm free of it.

Thank fuck.

Comments

( 30 Soaking Up Bandwidth — Soak Up Bandwidth )
shadowsandice
Aug. 17th, 2004 05:15 am (UTC)
Amen.
benpeek
Aug. 17th, 2004 06:59 am (UTC)
and a little angel icon to boot! sing it sister!
shadowsandice
Aug. 17th, 2004 06:11 pm (UTC)
And make lj burst into flame? Not likely.
benpeek
Aug. 18th, 2004 05:25 am (UTC)
i have yet to see livejournal burst into flame.
shadowsandice
Aug. 18th, 2004 07:43 pm (UTC)
I am not prepared to deal with the lynch mob of angry, angsty, morbid, gloomy, depressed teenagers with black fingernails and bad poetry. My defences just aren't all that. LJ can stay.
benpeek
Aug. 18th, 2004 09:04 pm (UTC)
hey, i'm not a teenager!
shadowsandice
Aug. 18th, 2004 09:40 pm (UTC)
Your lack of wangsty poetry betrays you, you bizarre anomaly. It's an adult! Get it!
benpeek
Aug. 19th, 2004 03:55 am (UTC)
i can write wanky poetry with the best of them, thank you very much. though not with black nail polish. i kind of find nail polish a bit irritating.
shadowsandice
Aug. 19th, 2004 03:59 am (UTC)
The difference between saying you can write wangsty poetry and smearing it all over the internet is vast. With or without black nail polish.
benpeek
Aug. 19th, 2004 04:02 am (UTC)
well, i'm not a monster. well. i don't inflict my bad poetry on people. in fact, i hardly write it now, though--get this--my first international sale was a poem.
shadowsandice
Aug. 19th, 2004 04:14 am (UTC)
...i hardly write it now

That's what they ALL say, you adult poet you.
benpeek
Aug. 19th, 2004 04:20 am (UTC)
well, you know, i *have* sold it. that lingering feel of money allows me to tinker every now and then. mostly i toss it away, though.

i write much, much less since i began tutoring creative writing, though.
shadowsandice
Aug. 19th, 2004 04:26 am (UTC)
Money? For writing? Bah, that's just a fairy tale.

Is this because you have less time due to marking, or no space in your head for your own stories? I don't think I've known any teachers to have something resembling time of their own.
benpeek
Aug. 19th, 2004 04:31 am (UTC)
no, it's because i see a lot of shit poetry :)

i like teaching, actually. it's the complete opposite and i end up with plenty of free time in my head, and thoughts get pushed along. sure, the marking sucks, but the hours and pay balance it out. (and the marking is pretty much the only consistent downside.)
shadowsandice
Aug. 19th, 2004 04:49 am (UTC)
The horror. The horror.

Your divine purpose is obviously to reduce the amount of shit poetry in the world. I do not envy you in the slightest.

(That and high school students. Ew. I haven't been long enough out of high school to shrug it all off.)
benpeek
Aug. 19th, 2004 04:53 am (UTC)
i don't mind high school students. as individuals, some of them are cool.
shadowsandice
Aug. 19th, 2004 04:59 am (UTC)
A breed of student particular to Sydney, then. Or I'm bitter and jaded.

And thus ends tonight's comment ping-pong. Sleep well. :)
benpeek
Aug. 19th, 2004 05:07 am (UTC)
i just find the interesting ones.

night.
mariness
Aug. 17th, 2004 06:19 am (UTC)
You know, the Queen would probably serve you a very good dinner.

And that is a purpose, of a sort.

But I must note that beach volleyball does, indeed, serve a purpose. It allows a camera to linger on bouncing breasts. This may not be an earth-shaking purpose -- indeed, you could probably make a case that it might even be slowing us down in our hunt for a cure for cancer, since, you know, we're watching the bouncing instead of engaging in scientific activities, but a purpose is a purpose.

benpeek
Aug. 17th, 2004 06:58 am (UTC)
oh yeah, i agree: i think the queen would put on a lovely spread, and you know i'm a big supporter of breasts :)

but in 2000, had you been in sydney, you too would have be willing to stab cut volleyballers for just being part of the olympic menace.
mariness
Aug. 17th, 2004 08:22 am (UTC)
I'm generally willing to stab cut volleyballers in most situations.

Did I mention hating volleyball?

The only reason I'm giving beach volleyball any kind of a break here is the bikini part.

(I'm also somewhat surprised that this is considered an Olympic sport. Who knew?)

shadowsandice
Aug. 17th, 2004 06:09 pm (UTC)
But none of them have enough to bounce...

(Beach Volleyball was brought in as an Olympic sport at...the Sydney Olympics.)
benpeek
Aug. 18th, 2004 05:26 am (UTC)
i think sydney is to blame for beach volleyball. certainly i'd never heard of it until it took over bondi.
ashamel
Aug. 17th, 2004 06:23 am (UTC)
The which?
bodhichitta0
Aug. 17th, 2004 07:48 am (UTC)
I've never had to live in a city where the Olympics are being held and can only imagine the tension caused by THAT show coming to town. But we are a family full of swimmers and I think that swimming well is a great and beautiful art. I don't agree with the forced nationalism (and in U.S. the making up of the stories and the rivalries for TV ratings). In my opinion, Ian Thorpe is a thing of beauty to behold in motion. But you shouldn't have to watch him if you don't want to. :-)
benpeek
Aug. 18th, 2004 05:28 am (UTC)
if you knew what an evil tv figure ian thorpe was, and how he hosts bad tv shows, and appears in these horrible, sugary specials, you'd no longer call him a thing of beauty in motion. you'd call him the spawn of satan.

yes you would.
bodhichitta0
Aug. 18th, 2004 05:39 am (UTC)
Are you saying I live in the United States and have actually completely missed an evil tv figure, bad tv shows and sugary specials? Surely he's not as evil as Mary Lou Retton? (Gack, that is probably before your time--1984 Olympics, U.S. gymnastics "star")In all seriousness, I know nothing about Ian Thorpe--have only seen him swim and have heard all the TV announcers talk about how popular he is in Australia. hee, hee, hee.
benpeek
Aug. 18th, 2004 05:53 am (UTC)
he is the spawn of satan.

he's everywhere. every. where. his nick name was an evil chant round 2000, which was thorpedo. it was wrong. i think he even has modeling gigs now, too. the worse part is, however, that every time you see him, he has one personality: bland, virginal mother's boy. if a single upsetting or controversial thought has entered his head, it's never been voiced, that's for sure.

so yes, you've been free. quite free. especially free of the tv show that ripped off charlies angels, and had three good looking women go out andhelp needy australians, while thorpe sat there like bosely and told them what to do or narrated or some thing. he is, as i say, the spawn of satan.
bodhichitta0
Aug. 18th, 2004 06:25 am (UTC)
So, ben, what I am sensing here is that you might dislike this fellow? You're cracking me up. And yes, even knowing all of this, even knowing about his Dark Father I will still enjoy watching the boy swim. And I'll be thankful I live here where my enjoyment is unfettered by his presence on national TV and magazines. :-)
benpeek
Aug. 18th, 2004 09:06 pm (UTC)
actually, you know, i don't have much of a real dislike for ian thorpe. it's just a dislike of his public image, which i feel free to kick into the group, but as a regular guy, i've no real opinion about him.

but his public image is the spawn of satan. actually, i think i have an old essay about this i'll stick up on livejournal. that ought to be fun.
( 30 Soaking Up Bandwidth — Soak Up Bandwidth )