“The General Population Of East London *Is* Excluded” (guest poem by Embertine)

From commenter Embertine, the story of a cock-up of Olympic proportions. Perspective is everything; from across the pond, I have not been privy to what has been happening in London for the games. Embertine has, and expresses it beautifully:

You spent twelve billion pounds although you said it would be five.
You had to bribe Thames Water just to keep the trees alive.
You chose contractors in advance to further your own ends –
I find it odd the contracts only went to all your friends.

I wish that you had told us that the access would be poor,
Or that every foreign truck driver would get stopped at the door.
We should have known the paperwork requirements would be shitty
And that every small decision would be worked out by committee.

The general population of East London are excluded;
You’ve sold the Village to emirs who earned the same as you did.
Your Health & Safety record’s not as spotless as you thought:
Your managers just edit to ensure they’re never caught.

All those Olympic tourists who will turn up for the day:
They need a transport system and they need a place to stay.
Our overloaded services, already fit to bust,
Will somehow have to cope because you have decreed they must.

And when the Games are over and the visitors have gone,
And the country’s disappointed in the medals we have won,
Will we think that it was worth the raft of money you have spent?
When we’re cleaning up the litter blowing everywhere they went?

“It’s a boost to the economy,” you pompously proclaim,
But after it’s all over the economy’s the same.
Apart from those twelve billion pounds we don’t have anymore,
That we could have spent on healthcare, which we surely needed more.

I know I’m being churlish; I should have more civic pride,
But I’ve worked on the Olympics and I’ve seen it from inside.
And the set-up is a shambles, so go ahead and scoff:
You all enjoy the spectacle; I’m taking August off.


  1. Cuttlefish says

    Actually, if I were there, and saw the format of the Parnassus poems, I’d print a few thousand of these in similar fashion and stealth-distribute them!

  2. Cuttlefish says

    Sue you? For what clearly is a fictional account? Everyone here knows that this site is satire, and any resemblance to the real world is in the eye of the reader. If they think your poem is bad, they really ought to check their own presuppositions!

  3. Cuttlefish says

    G in S, I never claimed to be the best–just in the running for “most prolific”.

  4. Gnumann, quisling of the MRA nation says

    Yikes! I just realized that my #5 could be read as a (negative) comment on the quality.

    It’s not.

    The piece is excellent. Just to be perfectly clear.

  5. embertine says

    Ha, not to worry, Gnu, I assumed you meant that I was facing deportation for my scurrilous accusations! If it weren’t for all the poisonous things in Tasmania, I might welcome being deported.

  6. says

    I went on my annual visit back home a few weeks ago carefully avoiding the damn Olympics, and sod me if I didn’t end up right in the middle of the Jubilee.
    Sometimes you just can’t win.

  7. A nym too says

    Don’t forget the social cleansing, and the use of slave labour – work the Olympics or lose your benefits. Oh, and you’ll be sleeping under a bridge.

    I’m a sad panda, my country’s getting scary again.

  8. bassmanpete says

    If it weren’t for all the poisonous things in Tasmania, I might welcome being deported.

    We have far more venomous things up here in Queensland and honestly, you hardly ever see them. Which, for many people, is part of the problem!

  9. Crudely Wrott says

    Employed to build some of the infrastructure* of the 2002 Winter Olympics, I had the opportunity to watch Salt Lake City turn into an armed camp.

    Jersey barriers across the wide avenues, APCs growling and prowling the side streets, fresh faced young men and women in camos packing rifles, check points and forbidden zones, ten foot chain link fences even in the alpine venues.

    My good fortune was to be done with my tasks and to leave before the games began.

    Pity the city that’s awarded the games.

    *If, by chance, you attended the games and patronized the Olympic Super Store downtown (next door to the Salt Palace), you had the privilege of mounting the entry staircase that was built by yours truly. Hope you didn’t catch a splinter off the hand rail. They gave me very rough lumber to work with.

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