Everyone needs a story these days and it’s not just X Factor contestants. It seems that isn’t enough for an Olympic mascot to turn up at the opening ceremony, bumble around a bit and wave to some schoolchildren. The London 2012 mascots were launched today together with the charming tale of their genesis. And it’s not set inside a circle of beanbags and flipcharts in a glass-walled office of some Soho advertising agency.
It seems that they were manufactured from the stolen offcuts of a Bolton steelworks by someone who looks a bit like former Labour minister Charles Clarke. For reasons only known to Charles Clarke, he creates the pair only with one eye each. It’s a fact that takes on sinister possibilities when an eager advertising goon tells Claire Balding on The One Show that the Cyclops feature is designed to house a miniature camera.
The launch is inevitably the cue for widespread wailing that they are not fluffy enough or British enough or anatomically correct enough. And then deluge of unfavourable comparisons: they look like the contents of Robocop’s handkerchief or the stricken victims of an Atlantic oilslick or the iridescent bastard children of a skittle and Gordon Brown.
People shouldn’t get so fed up. It doesn’t really matter what they look like. As Berlino the Bear proved at last summer’s World Athletics Championship, it’s the person inside that counts: