Bryan Hemming

short stories, comment, articles, humour and photography

Bitchin’ ’bout the ‘lympics

You’d have to be a complete killjoy to find much fault with the London ‘lympics. Wee..ell, that’s me, Killjoy Jones. Wherever there’s a bit of joy I like to squeeze the life out of it. Smother it to death. Eliminating the sparkle and fun from life is my game. In cold blood. Grumbling is my forte. Grizzling, complaining and criticising come as second nature. I was the little boy who used to take his ball home when every other kid on the park was having fun with it. The one everybody hated. A born spoiler. When folk talk of Moanin’ Minnies they mean people like me. Though I prefer to be known as a Moanin’ Mickey. The original whinging Pom.

Talking about big moaners, you have to hand it to Liam Gallagher for managing to slaughter Oasis’s Wonderwall so cruelly in the closing ceremony of the ‘lympics. Killer move. Up until that moment it was one of my favourite songs from the olden days. Had his voice really been that bad? I must’ve been on drugs.

If there ever was any, the veteran Mancunian front man extinguished the joy as soon as he opened his big gob. Nice set of fangs. He launched willy-nilly into the lyrics as though making them up as he went along. It was like listening to a crazed butcher wielding a cleaver in an argument with a row of innocent pork chops that got out of hand. If you get my drift. Set to real music. You have to picture the pork chops as living and trying to escape to make it really work. Still doesn’t? Doesn’t work for me either. I’ve got it labelled as poetic licence. No, it’s not the same sort of licence as a fishing licence. It’s more like sexual licence. Only without the sex. And without the poetry. To return to the plot. A musically-challenged, barbiturate-popping psycho couldn’t have made more of a mess. And, in true psycho mode, it was obvious Liam felt no remorse for his crime. He will only do it again if he isn’t locked up.

It was almost as much of a tragedy as when plucky old pensioner, Sir Paul McCartney, garrotted a few of his little ditties to death at the opening. But that had its comic side. Though old age isn’t funny in itself, old people sometimes make me laugh. Sir Paul’s breathless renditions put me in mind of a rusty old push bike my Dad owned. And a senior citizens karaoke bar I once stumbled upon in Bridlington. There I witnessed a gin-soaked eighty-year-old use his one remaining, withered vocal chord to strangle the words to ‘When I’m Sixty-Four’ without mercy. More Hari Karaoke than anything. As my Auntie Betty would’ve said: “they shouldn’t let them out at night, poor dears”. In the immortal words of Oscar Wilde, you’d have to have a heart made of stone not to laugh. Singing a song to death took on a whole new meaning that night. Bless his right honourable cotton socks.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I liked the pretty lights and fireworks too. But then you get a lot of pretty lights and fireworks for twelve billion quid of taxpayers’ money. And a lot of wheeler dealers and ageing pop stars sniffing round when there’s oodles of free dosh floating about.

On the positive side, I did marvel at what looked like the synchronised women’s underwater tiddlywinks finals, and gasped at how far fat ex-convicts were able to chuck their balls and chains. I split my sides watching those stringy-looking beanpoles running through the streets of London being chased by an unruly mob. All sporting brightly-coloured underwear for some unfathomable reason. Thought that Russian bloke with a concealed weapon almost had them at one point.

And the knitting marathon weren’t all bad neither. Amazing how they can knit all those bikes and canoes while sailing dinghies over hurdles. Least I think they were doing that. Perhaps I’d slurped down one can too many by that time. Or maybe wall to wall sport 24/7 should be reclassified as a mind-altering experience.

Then there’s the negative side again. What got my goat was all the smiling poor and unemployed individuals duped into volunteering for zilch while filthy rich bastards like Gallagher got paid great stacks of wedge for singing out of time and off-key. It’s more of ‘the rich need it far more than you do’ syndrome that’s all the vogue amongst slime-oozing bankers justifying ginormous bonuses.

And talking of bankers oozing brings me back to Liam Gallagher for some inexplicable reason. And that other Gallagher, Nöel.  How does an arrogant, sour-faced grump given to throwing violent tantrums get to be named after Christmas? There ought to be a law against it. Can’t help thinking he’s the sort of tyke who could slide under a door wearing a top hat. With his new, thinning hairdo he’s looking more and more like Uriah Heap by the day. Only with none of the feigned ‘ever-so’ humbleness. Gives me the right heebie-jeebies, I can tell you.

The words ‘Hope I die before I get old’ from The Who’s classic My Generation come to mind. Don’t quite know why. Perhaps I’d rather fade away before hearing Gallagher sing live again. I might even fade away at the thought.

To end on a note of cheer. At least the sexagenarian Roger Daltry managed to give ‘My Generation’ some wellie. Though one might be forgiven for wondering whose generation he’s on about. Still, you get the feeling Rog doesn’t pop into the Day Centre for a cup of tea over a thrilling game of Ludo yet. Might catch Sir Paul bashing out ‘Yesterday’ on the old joanna if he did. If he can still remember the words. Or if he can even remember yesterday, for that matter.

As a postscript. On another loosely connected subject, who’d have thought a man called Roger would ever make it as an international rock star? Roger Dylan doesn’t sound right. John, Paul George and Roger? Roger Morrison and The Doors? Give me a break. With a name like Roger it’s doubtful any of them would ever have even thought of picking up a guitar, let alone twanging out a tune. Or belting out a song. And Roger Hendrix sounds like a tax inspector your Mum might’ve gone out with before she met your Dad.

Still, Daltry didn’t let a little impediment like a nerd’s name hold him back. So, there’s hope for all those Rogers out there yet. Even though it is forlorn. Forlorn hope must be better than no hope at all.

So that’s my take on the great event. Compliments always welcome. Any complaints, keep them to yourself. Get a grip, nobody likes a moaner.

You know the tax inspector I mean. The one who looks the spitting image of you.

Copyright © 2012 Bryan Hemming               Conil

Many thanks to the King_of_Staunton (see comments) pointing out I’d got the wrong brother when I originally wrote it was Nöel Gallagher appearing at the closing ceremony of the Olympics. My apologies to Nöel. He doesn’t look so much like Uriah Heap. But he does a bit.

9 comments on “Bitchin’ ’bout the ‘lympics

  1. WordsFallFromMyEyes
    August 16, 2012

    ‘garrotted a few of his old ditties’ – I love your writing, Bryan. It’s really great writing.

    I didn’t catch any of the Olympics, but for what I chanced by with it showing on a TV screen. I was totally put off by the fact you HAVE to walk through Westfield to enter it, & McDonalds wouldn’t let anyone sell chips. I thought ‘What a fking admania circus’ & I lost interest.
    Have read on the net though, some people found it awesome etc. I guess it was one of those “had to be there” experiences.
    Great write!


    • Bryan Hemming
      August 17, 2012

      Bits of the Olympics were great, but I’m appalled at the estimates of how much it cost. Some economists believe the final figure will be a whopping 24 billion pounds!

      If only a fraction of that were invested in the arts. Imagine what it might do for painters, musicians actors, poets and writers.

      What makes sport worth so much more? Most sportsmen have very short careers, and it is still a hobby in reality for the majority, insofar as they can’t make a living from it, and do it in their spare time. A very healthy and rewarding hobby, to be sure, but still a hobby.

      To put it into perspective, the majority of competitors will return home with empty pockets and something fantastic to tell their grandchildren about, as only a tiny percentage go on to become world-famous superstars. As usual, big business will have gobbled up nearly all the rest of the cash.

      Rock stars have no business dipping their snouts in the trough and should not get paid money intended to go to the promotion of sport, not records. Well, sports records, of course. Especially when so many far poorer than them have worked much harder for nothing but love.

      To top it all, McDonald’s wouldn’t even compete in the chip market, let alone on the track.


    • Bryan Hemming
      August 21, 2012

      Just to emphasise the point I make about most Olympic competitiors having little awaiting them on their return home, the tragic death of Samia Yusuf Omar was reported in the press yesterday. The Somali runner was drowned off the coast of Italy.

      Samia competed in the 200m event at the Beijing Olympics in 2008. Aboard one of the old wooden boats packed tight with would-be illegal immigrants, she was trying for a better life in Europe. Heavy wtih passengers, the frail craft frequently sink before touching land, drowning all aboard.

      Here, near the southernmost tip of Europe, on clear days we can see the thin blue haze of Africa from our windows.

      Sometimes, I have seen the boats or punctured inflatables washed up on the beach. It’s hard to know whether their passengers arrived safely. The odd ragged T-shirt or dress leads me to surmise some didn’t. It is made even more tragic when I spot a tiny plastic sandal. Often there are small children and babies among the refugees.

      Samia’s sad story of an Oympic athlete’s life is one of the more extreme cases. Nevertheless, it shows how many athletes are cast aside despite having sacrificed so much to represent their countries. And the rich still go home with their pockets overflowing.

      May she rest in eternal peace.

      Please let others know of the dark side of Olympic big business.

      More – but not nearly enough – on this story here:


      • WordsFallFromMyEyes
        August 21, 2012

        Bless you, Bryan, for your time, heart and attention to this. The way you expressed this was so sobering. it is tragedy to the core. God, how the f*k can we highlight this?

        Thank you for the link: I will view. It is just so, so so not seen.

        My mother a refugee from Poland, fleeing Hitler…

        What if she were black? Would I be here? And so well?

        Of course, a rhetorical question.

        God, shame.


  2. bp
    August 14, 2012

    Um, mate, Noel Gallagher was nowhere near the closing ceremony. It was his brother, Liam.

    Takes the wind out of your argument a bit.


    • Bryan Hemming
      August 14, 2012

      You’re absolutely bloody right! I told the optician I needed even stronger lenses. Even took the bottom of a beer bottle round to show him more or less how strong they ought to be. Watching the telly with a couple of beer bottle bottoms attached together by bits of wire in front of your eyes and you’re bound to make mistakes. Liam’s the other tosser. It’s just the Christmas joke I have to change, the rest applies to both. Thanks for the tip! Cheers!


  3. Chris23
    August 14, 2012

    Front Page of Private Eye
    “Soldiers with weapons saying”


  4. Chris23
    August 14, 2012

    Fucking Good Stuff
    Liked the Article
    Never saw this in the Guardian


    • Bryan Hemming
      August 14, 2012

      Thanks Chris. The thing is I actually like the music these blokes made. I just don’t like what money made them.


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