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World Cup Willy And Other Nonsense

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Matt Rahman
Matt Rahman

This has been a strange couple of weeks in the UK for sporting events. In a weird politics reflects sport type thing going on, the UK 2012 mascots were unveiled to much hurrah and fanfare – and probably a shocking PR bill given the coverage they received (no wonder the bill for the Olympics™ ® is over running to the tune of a bejillion* pounds). Two random, yet similar looking creatures are now representing the nation. I’m talking about Wenlock and Mandeville, rather than our illustrious new leaders in case you hadn’t spotted the difference between them either.

Now, when they released the logo there was a lot of critical debate from the design cognoscenti. I skirt the edges of the design world in my 9 to 5, so came across some of these rumblings. “WTF is all that about?”, people generally rumbled. To be fair to the people who made that original design, they did say that in years to come it would become an iconic symbol of the games, and you know what, over the years it has softened and become less jarring on the eye. Or perhaps the rest of the world has become more effed up and some wobbly squares on m-kat just seem normal now.

These two ‘creatures’ are supposed to be animated versions of two drops of molten metal that are left over from when they built the stadium. Two drops of molten metal? They look like two arcing globules of something you tend see in the more adult orientated movies – or is that just me? Two drops of molten metal…have we really come to this? There are no animals left that we can safely use?

Back in glorious 1966, the last time the World Cup really mattered, there was a mascot; World Cup Willy was his name – a magnificent lion in his union jack waistcoat. This poor sap wouldn’t stand a chance of getting through the numerous politically correct filters that determine our choices today. He can’t possible wear the union flag as that suggest he might be a right-wing, violent thug and the name is just never gonna happen; may as well put forward the suggestion of P@edo the N@zi Bulldog. (Awwww, he loves kids. Honest).

Nope. I guess there are no animals left we can use without here being some sinister ulterior motive lurking just below the surface. So we are consigned to two computer generated globules, (who will have their own TV kids show by this time next year – like a metallic Ant ‘n’ Dec™ ®) to stand for what is good and great about the tradition of the Olympic games.

However the last laugh is with the designers, who have managed to sneak a load of spunk, with very politically correct names to give them their dues, past the PC censors. Huzzah!

With thoughts of Baron Pierre de Coubertin in my mind, I’m off to make my own replicas of the London Olympic ™®© mascots.

*the bejillion is a notional number somewhere between “Wow” and “F*ck me!” It is definitely more than you or I, dear reader, will ever see in a bejillion of our lifetimes

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