Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Olympian Foolishness

So the London’s (or is it Britain’s?) Olympics have a new logo.
The current ‘nearly past his sell by date’ Prime Minister says:
“When people see the new brand, we want them to be inspired to make a positive change in their life.”
Having looked at the thing from all angles, the hope might be that more will be inspired take up graphic design as a profession as, on this showing, it is drastically in need of some fresh talent. It seems to be a profitable line of work, as long as you can find some sucker to cough up £400,000 for a doodle.
When I lived in London, there used to be a pavement artist sitting at the bottom of Charing Cross Road whom I’m sure would have been happy to provide a rather more attractive design for a lot less money.
The promoters of this bizarre bit of artwork describe it, breathlessly, as: “dynamic, modern and flexible, reflecting a brand-savvy world where people, especially young people, no longer relate to static logos.” This rather ignores the fact that it looks terrible.
But then, viewed as a percentage of the ever rising costs of the Stratford E15 regeneration project, I suppose it’s a mere fleabite, and the expense will be forgotten in the tide of recrimination that will follow, as the concrete slowly crumbles.
London’s website on the subject enthuses:
“Since winning the bid, there has been overwhelming public enthusiasm for London 2012.”
Whether this overwhelming enthusiasm will be maintained when the taxpayers of London find out how much of the cost is coming from their pockets, is debatable. And let’s not mention the plundering of funds from the arts to subsidise the games, games in which the British are not usually very successful on past form. It has already swallowed up an extra £675m of lottery money, much of it coming from projects such as local sports and arts ventures, projects of far greater value to the nation as a whole.
Apart from the temporary employment of a vast labour force, probably mostly from Eastern Europe, it’s hard to see what the long term benefit will be to that soggy patch of East London. From the site you can get an excellent view of that other white elephant, the Millennium Dome, lying wraithlike across the muddy waters of the Thames, the ghost at the feast.
Historically, there has never been much use found for Olympic stadiums after their moment of glory. Most seem to wind up as home to soccer teams.
And for a nation that constantly complains of its housing shortage, surely the money would have been better spent on some decent houses for the East Enders. Over £9 billion can get you an awful lot of houses.
But, of course, that’s not so politically attractive.
The whole project has been in some disarray from the start and, on taking a closer look at the symbol, it seems to epitomise the fractured and disorganised state of the scheme and, indeed, the general thinking of the government.
Perhaps it’s a rather appropriate design after all.



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