Wednesday 18 October 2017

Kevin Myers: Friday's ceremonies should have celebrated what the British manage best -- Monumental Balls-Ups

Well, I suppose that in the endless autumn that is this summer, one must seek one's diversions where one may, which is the only reason I watched the Olympics' opening ceremony. I generally consider the Games rather as medieval peasants in their hovels must have felt about the quadrennial visits of the Black Death, stoically watching as the rats waddled in and the infected fleas hopped leadenly from the rodent pelt towards their waiting beri-beri. Every country that has ever existed participated in that damned parade, which is why Friday evening lasted as long as the Middle Ages at their worst.

In the course of this grim cavalcade, I learnt that just about the only places never to have won an Olympic medal are the Galapagos Islands. Even on steroids, finches make poor weight-lifters; though I hear some commentators have high hopes for the marine iguana in the pole vault.

I have to say, parachuting the queen in was a brilliant idea, though Prince Philip clearly didn't go along with the joke. Perhaps he has unhappy associations with silken canopies: he's old enough to remember Arnhem and the misfortunes there. Now let me admit, that because of my slighted unhinged interest in such matters, I am often asked: how does one arrange a truly British military debacle? My advice usually goes: First, find two battle-hardened, ultra-keen SS Panzer divisions equipped with Tiger tanks. And then, lightly scatter around them a few hundred British paratroopers, armed with just sten guns. Unaided, the Germans will do the rest. They usually do, I find.

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