Monday, 13 August 2012


Bands in bespangled uniforms play Beethoven's Ninth. Thousands of doves and coloured balloons are launched into the air. Behind huge, wind-whipped standards displaying the entwined circles, the Gods of the Stadium process on to the track in impeccable columns, their arms stretched out towards the official stalls where the great Dignitaries of W acknowledge them.

If you just look at the Athletes, if you just look: in their striped gear they look like caricatures of turn-of-the-century sportsmen as, with their elbows in, they lunge into a grotesque sprint; if you just look at the shot putters, who have cannonballs for shot, at the jumpers with their ankles tied, at the long jumpers thudding into a sandpit filled with manure.; if you just look at the wrestlers, tarred and feathered, if you just look at the long distance runners running three legged or on all fours, if you look at the clapped-out, shivering survivors of the marathon, hobbling between two serried ranks of Line Judges armed with sticks and cudgels, if you just look and see these Athletes of skin and bone, their backs permanently bent, their skulls bald and shiny, their eyes full of panic, and their sores suppurating, if you see all these indelible marks of humiliation without end, of boundless terror, all of it evidence, administered every hour, every day, every instant, of conscious, organized, structured oppression; if you just look and see the workings of this huge machine, each cog of which contributes with implacable efficiency to the systematic annihilation of men...

- Georges Perec.

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