Thursday 7 June 2007

I agree with everyone else.

I must just briefly go on record to say not only that the new London Olympic logo would be pathetically awful if it had cost twenty quid — at four hundred grand, its badness is beyond words — but also that it appears to have driven Seb Coe utterly mad:

"This is the vision at the very heart of our brand," said London 2012 organising committee chairman Seb Coe.

He appears to have mistaken the Olympics for a new supermarket.

"It will define the venues we build and the Games we hold and act as a reminder of our promise to use the Olympic spirit to inspire everyone and reach out to young people around the world."

I wasn't even aware that the British Olympic Committee or anyone else had made a promise to use the Olympic spirit to inspire me and to reach out, in some way, to young people around the world. Maybe I've been out of the loop. Maybe, were I younger, I'd have noticed my being reached out to. Perhaps, had I known about this promise in the first place, seeing the logo would have reminded me of it. "Oh," I might have thought upon seeing it for the first time, "that reminds me: about that promise." Sadly, I didn't, and it didn't, so I didn't. Alas.

"It's not a logo, it's a brand that will take us forward for the next five years," he told BBC Five Live.

No, Seb, it's a logo. You can call it a "brand" if you wish. You may also call it "a car", "three pairs of trousers", or "my father-in-law". It's still a bloody logo.

"It won't be to everybody's taste immediately but it's a brand that we genuinely believe can be a hard working brand which builds on pretty much everything we said in Singapore about reaching out and engaging young people, which is where our challenge is over the next five years."

Does anyone think Lord Coe could explain the process whereby this logo will do a better job of reaching out to young people than some other logo? Or precisely how it will perform hard work? He does know it's inanimate, right?

And... well, perhaps I'm being hopelessly pessimistic here, but I thought their big challenge had less to do with engaging young people — I can just see the headlines now: "London Olympics Cancelled! Lack Of Youthful Engagement To Blame." — and rather more to do with building a bloody great big stadium in London on time, something that the British have solid recent experience of failing at.

Whatever's up with Coe, Blair's caught it:

Prime Minister Tony Blair said: "We want London 2012 not just to be about elite sporting success."

And, with that, he destroyed any residual interest I might have had in the Olympics. Not just about elite sporting success? What, are they going to have medals for taking part?

"When people see the new brand, we want them to be inspired to make a positive change in their life."

Got that? That's just from seeing the new logo. This logo is so great that merely looking at it is enough to inspire you to change your life for the better. That's certainly the kind of thing I'd tell the Government if I were trying to justify conning them out of four hundred grand for something which was clearly knocked together, or possibly spilled, the night before deadline.

But there seems to be some sort of competition going on, for Blair has been thoroughly beaten in the nonsense stakes by one of his own ministers:

Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell said: "This is an iconic brand that sums up what London 2012 is all about — an inclusive, welcoming and diverse Games that involves the whole country.

"It takes our values to the world beyond our shores, acting both as an invitation and an inspiration."

Hats off to Jowell: surely she deserves a medal herself for that effort. This logo actually gathers up all the values of Britain, somehow, and takes them around the entire world, not only inspiring people as it goes (Blair and Coe have both played the inspiration card; Jowell's got to trump that), but inviting them along to London too.

You know, it's easy to cynically poke fun at this logo just because it looks like someone threw up after swallowing broken glass, but let's be fair: if at any point in the next five years this logo actually performs any of the miracles so far ascribed to it, I for one will eat my words, loudly proclaim that it's worth every penny and then some, and found a new religion to worship it.

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