I’ve always thought I hated crowds. Sales, demos, anything that involves waving flags, I’ve avoided them whenever I could. Then on Saturday evening I went to the final session of the paralympics in the stadium and had a kind of crowd-epiphany. 80,000 people in the stadium and countless thousands more outside, and I loved every minute. Have I changed, or was it that all along those scary crowds just needed hundreds of cheerful volunteers wearing outsize gloves to jolly them along? It was completely brilliant. The appearance of the first athletes in their wheelchairs and the way the crowd erupted in a roar of praise made me weep, but seconds later I was cheering, then holding my breath (the high jump was spell-binding) groaning, shouting with excitement, singing along etc etc. It turns out that all my life I’ve just been waiting for the RIGHT KIND OF CROWD !!!!! (the after effects of Caitlin Moran’s ‘How To Be A Woman’ with its wonderful extravagance of capitals and exclamation marks have not yet worn off!) And now I’ve found it, and can’t wait to find another one. If football wasn’t such a deadly boring game, I’d join a club tomorrow. Cricket is too restrained. Rugby is looking good. Best of all would be another Olympics. Why doesn’t it move permanently to East London? It would save all those other countries lots of money and worry, and now we have at last discovered as a nation what we do best, I think UK should make the most of it. Build on one’s strengths, is always best.
- Gallery on