I hate buying new things. I wish I could say that it’s my concern for reducing landfill that fuels this hatred but the reality is more selfish – the more items I have, the more mess I can make. Plus, new things are new. Getting used to owning them is an effort which (especially as an AuDHD person) I’d much rather avoid.
Perhaps this is why I never look at the random tat sold at motorway services: overpriced travel pillows, snow globes, key-chains-and-bottle-openers-in-one decorated with a photo of a cat. It is also how, until last week, I managed to drive around France without noticing the collection of Paris 2024 Official Licensed Products: a bunch of indispensable items including mugs, lanyards, and the obligatory mascot. (Admittedly, the latter I did notice a while ago – it is very hard to miss what looks like a hot red, stuffed clitoris in trainers.)
For whatever reason, it was on my way to Dunkirk last week that I first noticed the Olympic merchandise displayed at a petrol station, and it reminded me of what's coming.
Oddly, it will be the third time the Olympics will be held at my place of residence. In 2008, I lived in China, admittedly nearly 2,000km from Beijing, but still somewhat feeling the Olympic fever that gripped the nation. Four years later I was in London, renting an apartment only a short distance from the Olympic Village. I ended up writing a series of op-eds on the Games which were published in Poland, and the research left me feeling like I’d just learned the truth about Santa. Then, the paralysis that crippled London for the duration of the event was tangible proof that I had been lied to.
A thousand days ahead of the flame’s arrival in Paris, the collection of official merchandise began its Olympiad – these are the actual pompous phrases used in the IOC press release. It is estimated that some ten million people are interested in buying the products expected to generate a turnover of €2 billion. While the organisers talk of “sustainable Games”, experts are already sceptical, and, frankly, you don’t need to... continue reading now→