Passing feather-footed through the plashy fens of life, sniffing out curiosities, amusing trifles and scandals from the worlds of culture, politics, news and sport
Thursday, May 20, 2010
The new face of London
Sports mascots are like tuberculosis injections. They are designed by adults for the benefit of the children, who never asked for them. Supposed to be a shot in the arm, they just leave the target audience feeling a little queasy and confused.
Sports mascots are meant to be crap and the two launched yesterday to promote the 2012 Olympics fitted the bill. One blue, one orange, both one-eyed, slightly lovable yet slightly sinister.
Yes, meet Dave and Nick, the new face of the Olympics.
Actually, these mascots have rather cool names: Wenlock and Mandeville. So much more classy than Whizzo or Flubble or whatever other previous Olympic mascots were called.
Not only do they pay homage to the origins of the Olympics - the Much Wenlock games in Shropshire inspired Baron de Coubertin to create the Olympics, while the Paralympics were born at Stoke Mandeville - but they sound like proper names from English literature.
You can imagine a Mr Wenlock owning a dingy inn in a Dickens novel or perhaps a Squire Mandeville being caddish to milkmaids in something by Thomas Hardy.
The last decent sports mascot was World Cup Willie in 1966, but he was basically a lion in a Union Jack waistcoat. Nowadays mascots always have to look unearthly, like an anaemic Teletubby.
Still at least Mandeville and Wenlock are better than the 2012 Olympic logo, which I can never see without thinking of the judgment of my boss when it was unveiled a few years ago: "Looks a bit like Lisa Simpson performing oral sex."