Monday, 30 July 2012

Olympic Dreams

There's a little event going on in London Town that you may have heard about. It's the 'Other' Olympics - not those far superior games that make up the Chap Olympiad, but the Games of the XXXth Olympiad, also known as London 2012.

It's fair to say that opinion has been divided around the games. I don't live in East London, though I spend so much time there that I'm soon to move. Many of those who do live there were dreading the transport chaos that would greet the games, as well experiencing other hassles along the way. And there are plenty who've just been thoroughly killjoy-ish about it all. They're the same people who've been boring everyone who will listen (which is not many) about how much they've hated the Royal Wedding, the Jubilee and anything else fun that's happened in the last few years. Whilst still taking full advantage of the free bank holiday though, naturally.

For me, it's all been exciting. I can't really fathom how it can NOT be exciting, even in some small way. It's the Olympics! It's a huge extravaganza of colour and energy! I can still remember Freddie Mercury and that large Spanish lady singing 'Barcelona' in 1992, and how excited I got. And I spend every Tuesday at 1948 (named after the last London Olympics) for Run Dem Crew. It's a part of our global culture and yes, it's expensive, yes it's put a strain on our transport system and all that other boring stuff. But it is still a big, nay, massive, deal. And therefore I was glued to the Opening Ceremony along with the other one billion (estimated) viewers worldwide.

And with the exception of Macca doing the lametastic Hey Jude singalong at the end, I loved every cheesy minute.

I also got up early the next morning to watch the men's cycling road race, which oh so conveniently passed the top of my very own road.


Lots of locals turned out for the race - from union jack-wearing Brits to members of the large Italian community round these parts...

Eyes in the sky and jolly high-fiving Police escorts made the waiting more exciting!


And after the breakaway group whizzed past several minutes earlier, it was super exciting to cheer and snap the future Sir Bradley of Wiggins at the head of the peloton... even if it was over in seconds. And that was my Olympic action on Saturday. No pictures because I couldn't EVEN be bothered  tohave a shower before I went to watch.

Sunday was a slightly different story though. It was the day I have been waiting for for actual weeks - the one where I got to actually go inside the stadium. Yes! And perform. Double yes! And be silly. YES!

Apocryphal tales of the Olympics brand police had me secretly a little bit worried that 'The Chap Olympiad' would be banned, or worse, the magazine sued for spurious copyright infringement. So I couldn't have been more surprised and pleased when rather than being banned, we were actually INVITED to take part in the Games - by performing at the Olympic Park.

Here's how it went.


We were escorted by some lovely, helpful Gamesmakers.

 
We played Hop, Skip & A Cup Of Tea.
  
 
There was Moustache Wrestling


Surrealism was personified in Bowler Hat Tossing


Last but not least, the Tug of Hair went down brilliantly, with loads of people taking part in
the six or so rounds we did!


As the only two Chapettes, Bethan and I enjoyed showing up the boys,
and posing on the coloured dots and in front of the Orbit.

This is definitely not the BEST dress I own by any stretch, but it is the most appropriate. It's a 1970s Swirl, made by Geoffrey Beene - hence the GB on the chest pocket. When I saw it, I had to have it. TEAM GB!

The amazing hat is by Kezia Argue Designs and lent for the occasion. Perfection! Look out for a competition to win one similar, coming soon.


And, before I get a repetition of my Tuscany photos with a round of, 'Yes, your dress is niiice.... but Bethan's outfit is OMG AMAZING', Bethan's outfit was OMG AMAZING ;) - a 40s gree skirt suit with bolero. Let's just take a moment to appreciate it in its full glory.

You have my permission to praise it effusively.

It was an amazing day out, and the crowd watching got involved and had fun, asked us about the Chap and went away happy and entertained. This is exactly the aim.

But like the Olympics as a whole, this exercise has also greatly divided opinion among the Chap's readers, fans and even staff. You can see from the comments left on the website post that the decision to take up the Committee's offer was not universally approved. There have been multiple criticisms on social media as well - people proclaiming that to refuse the offer would have been more fitting with the 'Movement' and that we'd be a laughing stock and point of ridicule. Talk about missing the point. Let me just make something clear...

The Chap is a satirical magazine. The Chap Olympiad is a comedy event. The main people involved in the staging of it, such as the compere and the 'Foreigner' in Shouting at Foreigners are actors and performers, either actual or aspiring. The latter is itself a metaphor for the Chap as a whole - poking fun at old conventions and ways of life. There are a lot of people for whom Chappism does indeed seem to be a kind of 1930s upper class character Cosplay (as one commenter pointed out), and the sense of fun about it all is being lost amid the criticism.

Why on earth would we turn down the opportunity to take the Olympiad to London 2012? It was the chance of a lifetime, and I'm delighted to say I have two more chances of a lifetime to be there doing the same thing again, on the 3rd and 4th August - next Friday and Saturday. Come and find us if you're there and get involved with some real (un)sporting events.

And once again, GO TEAM GB!

Fleur xx
DiaryofaVintageGirl.com

17 comments:

  1. How exciting! You and Bethan both look lovely. And yah boo to anyone who is anti Olympics - yes, I think it's perhaps a little bit spendthrift in this "time of austerity", but I too was totally glued to the opening ceremony (the Queen and Bond was pure, unmitigated genius).

    xx Charlotte
    Tuppence Ha'penny Vintage

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  2. I am thoroughly anti Olympics (meh) which is why I could not face Stratford, however I see no reason why the Chaps shouldn't be there (good PR) and am glad you all had a grand time! x

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  3. You both look lovely! Your hat is stunning! Looks like you had a blast!

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  4. London really has it going on this year! between the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics! I'm so very jealous! Your hat is fabulous!

    I often couldn't care less about sports, but the Olympics are totally different, always exciting and often result in me getting nothing done.

    xoxo
    -Janey
    atomicredhead.com

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  5. Amazing!! I think iit is absoultely brilliant you'vev had the opportunity to take it up to London 2012 and let others who might not know about it see it! Fantastic! And looks like you had a whale of a time to boot! Many congratulations to you all! Will we be seeing any medals this weekend?

    Caught Olympic fever myself now, glued to the TV wishing I could be going too!


    Emma
    xxx

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  6. Far away (northern Sweden), glued to the tv, wish we could come and see all the sports live, and you, too.

    The dress & hat is smashing. Wearing such a hat is a thoroughly English sport, I´m afraid. To be admired but not tried at home.

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  7. You looked spectacular! I am amazed and appreciative that the Chap events got the coverage they so obviously deserve. It's such a wonderful event bringing the world together, and all in London. I'm very jealous way out here in Alaska, I shall have to console myself with some single-malt. :)

    Jeremy

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  8. I too think your hat is just amazing! Lovely to see you had such a great time and isn't it shame some people are trying to rain on your parade? Ignore them, it looked like a wonderful opportunity and I'm glad you'll get a chance to do it all again!

    Emily

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  9. Well yes, Bethan's suit is awesome but your fascinator rocks my world. Gorgeous!

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  10. Love your GB themed outfit!

    I did see those comments on the other page, I must admit I rolled my eyes... some people really do need to get a sense of humour about themselves or risk being the 'Spode' of the Jeeves and Wooster like comedy Chap events usually offer! :) I mean even the Queen is happy to be part of an Olympic joke... there's nothing more British than being a bit bonkers!

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  11. You and your outfit look fabulous. What a fun time you all seemed to have, with more festivities to come, I'm sure!
    Maureen

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  12. You all look amazing! Especially love the tug-o-war photos. I am very jealous that the cycling race passed your road, I am feeling left out here up North!
    xx

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  13. Haha, just a point of note from a so-called "killjoy" (yes I'm an anti-royalist as well as being East London based) - I'm freelance so all the bank holidays are/were totally, completely irrelevant!

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  14. Whaaaa..love love love your outfits!!

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  15. Love this - I'm sure the visitors loved it too and will appreciate our unique British humour! Absolute shame you were not in the opening ceremony - that would have made it totally perfect.

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  16. Great blog - that union jack hat is the the most chic olympic attire I have ever seen! We have just launched an online vintage shop if you fancy some vintage browsing go check it out: http://www.mintvintage.co.uk/

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  17. Hey Fleur, I was the one in the ugly black fleece catering uniform who came to awkwardly say hello on Saturday, just after the tug of hair :p It was really nice to meet you, even if only for a second! I didn't mention it then, but I thought you might possibly be interested in my blog - www.storytellervintage.blogspot.com. I do creative writing based on various items of vintage clothing, I'd love it if you'd have a look! Emily x

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I welcome all comments, praise and constructive criticism alike! Please note, though, that I don't respond to anonymous comments. If you want to offer a criticism then have the conviction to do so publicly. I thank you!

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