The Greatest Show on Earth (winter version)

The Greatest Show on Earth (winter version)

The Winter Olympics is a wonderful occasion which only comes around quad-annually. It’s a time when we hear and use words and phrases which wouldn’t usually be in our brain-space; like luge, skeleton-bob and in my case quad-annually and brain-space. To most the Winter Olympics rightfully means nothing but for me it will always hold a special place in my heart-space…

2002 Salt Lake City, USA
I’d only ever been ice skating once, my dad took us when him and my mum split up, I should say this was some months after they split up and not straight away. To go ice-skating on the day of a break-up seems crass and it’s unlikely there would have been any ice rinks open at 5am when my mum insisted that he leave. I’m not afraid to say that I was not a natural ice skater, I mainly skirted around the edge holding onto the barrier for dear life, after 45 minutes I decided it was time to throw on a pair of skates and actually step inside the ice rink. All around me couples skated hand in hand, doing all the tricks, backwards and forwards. I watched them and thought of my parent’s marriage and how it was a lot like ice skating. Two people supporting each other, laughing together, falling down, helping one another back up, growing and improving together. I was so deep in thought that when the klaxon sounded to tell us the session was over I realised that I hadn’t actually moved an inch.

2006 Turin, Italy
Watching the winter games in my teenage bedroom, hormones racing, the supple Athletes head to toe in Lycra. Unable to tell whether they were men or women because of the helmet, goggles and foreign first names I spectated fully aroused. Aroused by the notion that someone from a country with a warmer climates such as Thailand could compete in the Winter Olympics (I was also sexually aroused). I began to dream, I searched the loft for my old ice skates before realising that I had never owned ice skates, I’d hired them last time, I was also 4 years younger then and I was now much bigger of feet and phalice. I turned up at my ice rink to be struck by the memory of my parents separation and again I became rooted to the spot, this time I didn’t even make it to the ice, it was too painful. I was shocked that I felt this way after all this time and I couldn’t believe how much it effected me, especially as they had gotten back together in 2004.

2010 Vancouver, Canada
Sat in my university halls in Nottingham, I was lonely and in a downward spiral like a one man skeleton-bob hurtling towards the bottom of the piste. I was behind with my studies, struggling to fit in on campus and bereft of motivation. And then I saw it, Torvill & Dean’s Balero. High winds meant that live action couldn’t take place so the BBC were showing footage of the 1984 games. This was it, every fours years I’d been overwhelmed with the same surge, the urge to skate, the urge to touch that hallowed ice and soar. This was my time, I marched down (by tram) to the Nottingham Ice Arena, I marched up (on foot) to the front desk and demanded a pair of size 10 ice skates “this is my fucking time” I screamed at the girl at reception.
“But sir….”
“No buts, I’ve put this off for too long, I want to skate and I want to skate now and there’s nothing that you or anybody else can do to stop me” I said with my eyes.
Eventually she handed me the skates, I put them on, and headed into the ice arena. Now what the young girl had been trying to say, it turned out, was that the ice rink was not in use tonight as the arena was holding a Pigeon Detectives concert. So there I was, in full Lycra, with a pair of ice skates on in the mosh pit of a Pigeon Detectives gig. The crowd seemed to think I was in some sort of fancy dress. They heaved me up onto their shoulders and began to pass me around the arena. Not realising I was wearing lethal blades on my feet I slashed the faces of several audience members spouting blood everywhere. I pleaded with them to stop;
“This is an Emergency” I screamed. Not realising that was the title track on the Pigeon Detectives second album, the band took this as a request and launched into the song.
“Say sorry” one girl said.
“I’m not sorry” I shouted back, again not realising this was another of the PD’s hits.

2018 Pyeonchang, South Korea
To be continued….

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