I dont know if you can get a drink at the Empire Games,
as they used to be called when there was one, but one thing Ive been told
is that you cant smoke anywhere in the new Manchester City arena.
going tomorrow and I get to see the end of the marathon and other assorted things
such as the Turks and Caicos Islands competing in the shot put.
bet this is the one time Spain is sorry not to be in the Commonwealth. Think about
it: Ibiza could win a gold medal in the slings and arrows event. Formentera could
get a bronze for sunbathing.
Mind you, its not really
a top-class athletics thing in the generally accepted sense of such occasions.
Its the Friendly Games, the Queen said. I read that the organisers in Manchester
have supplied 150,000 condoms for the athletes village. Thats about
three-a-day each, I reckon. Theyve been able to cut down because the swimming
isnt until next week. Normally the swimmers have finished with the silly
part of these events (swimming) in the first week and have, ahem, time on their
hands towards the end.
The weather is going to be fantastic,
of course. And so will be the welcome from the Ibiza-loving Mancunians. I understand
there are thousands of them who subscribe to LiveIbiza.com. And I dont believe
theyll agree with this no-smoking thing, either.
watched the opening ceremony from a friends 11th-storey apartment, cheek
by jowl with the Red Arrows as they cruised by at about the height of our ceiling
light. It was quite surreal. We had the telly on with the sound turned off and
I estimated it took three seconds for the sounds of the 21-gun salute to reach
us. You watched the puff of smoke on the screen and then waited for the dull thud.
My friend remarked that she supposed there would be very little difference if
you smoked a last fag and then jumped out of the window.
away across the East Manchester night sky (about six miles, I think) the stadium
was bathed in a soft, sky-blue glow, just as it will be next year when Manchester
City make it their new footballing home. Thats when the rest of Manchester
realises that the other football team in this fair City have acquired a £100
million stadium with government aid. The fireworks were lovely seen from this
vantage point with just a cup of tea to hand and I hope its not the last
weve seen of them.
Being of sober mind, I suppose
I ought to do the sums and work out if its true that the Games wont
cost Manchester ratepayers anything. I think the council has been stashing money
aside for the past seven years and can now say - hand on heart - that its
all broken even.
But I dont believe I will. Ill
just spend a pleasant Sunday there (the Lord Mayor has promised us that it wont
rain) and do without either a drink or a cigarette. I suppose a swimmer is out
of the question, especially one from the Virgin Islands.