|Photo: John McGowan|
There was only one place to be in Lewes at 2.30pm last Tuesday. On the first sunny day for ages, and after rain like the Great Flood, the wild flowers in the Grange Gardens were not to be missed. A good development, this, from LDC responding to the annual dust-up over bedding plants and letting a bit of nature in. Unfortunately The Trouble With, like all other parents in Lewes, was instead obliged to be up the hill watching the Olympic Flame visit the home of the mighty Rooks.
So how could the torch relay have impressed a Sussex population used to feasting on fire? As William Goldman, the great Hollywood screenwriter said, for really great entertainment what you have to do is protect the star. If you have George Clooney in your film you basically give him everything: best lines, sexiest moves and cutest winks. You don’t begrudge it as he’ll make you a fortune. If George needs all that though, how much more must you give to a Bacofoil cone with a candle sized flame? Well they could have gone easier on the pom-poms, the overexcited MC and (admittedly a masterstroke) the sullen youth texting on his Samsung Galaxy. In fact, might running have been exciting and romantic enough by itself?Imagine a different scene. A little razzmatazz sure, but then the noise dies down. The beefy metropolitan coppers call for quiet. Everyone waits. Suddenly a lone runner appears on the horizon carrying the flame lit at Mount Olympus. The spirits of Nurmi, Bikila and Freeman are there as the runner passes the ancient castle. Then, stopping only for a refreshing latte at Nero’s, it's off down the hill and on through the wild flowers at the Grange.
Not the most obvious route perhaps, but I tell you, those poppies really are Olympian.
John McGowan, 18th July 2012