Wednesday, 27 October 2010

If Beauty is Truth

Would Jamie Oliver please stop saying beautiful. In fact could all the blokes who think that constant use of this adjective makes them sound at once positive, passionate and thoughtful (about almost anything), please stop. That includes you Mark Cavendish, and you too the entire Garmin team, plus any other English speaking (as a first language, I will give the others a break) bike riders, who continue to sound like such fools, as they insist on describing every sprint, hill, descent, country or parcours as beautiful.

Just like Jamie’s repetition of the word made him sound like a twat well inside the first five-minute segment of his ’30 minute meals’ show I was just watching; riders post race interviews are starting to repeat like broken records. The problem seems to be that as our sport undergoes its current corporate makeover, the riders - the actual personalities of the sport, no longer even seem to own the words coming out of their mouths when they cross the line.

It’s like some sharp young pr agent who swapped golf for bikes, has thought; ‘what is going to make our riders sound like they are smart sensitive guys, who have deep thoughts about things’, (like the err… roads in Switzerland?), ‘oh yeah right, lets make everyone sound like they are Dave Millar, he’s the pin up boy of the renaissance cyclist, lets read his sound bites, and regurgitate them’.

So all of a sudden races are no longer shit, exhausting, hard or annoying; they are just beautiful. The crowds that jeer and spit are beautiful, the broken bumpy tarmac is beautiful, the pressured, twisting, jostling peleton is beautiful, the rain in April is beautiful, the strength sapping heat in July is, you guessed it, beautiful.

Give me a break guys; find another adjective. Please. All hope is lost for Jamie Oliver, but there are more of you bike riders, and your personalities are supposed to be different.

It’s like being in a relationship and saying everything is ‘great’ to save an argument. It washes over the real detail of racing and it’s just such a weak positivity. I don’t want to buy this shit any more than I want to listen to that mockney idiot talking about his macaroni cheese.

This is exactly why Cav is only a true star in the moments that his emotions have short-circuited his brain after a sprint. He swears, he chastises others, he vents frustration or elation and he genuinely shows himself. Anyone with a heart that beats must prefer this to the cooled down, debriefed version. I don’t want to hear remorseful apologies, false compliments or even how pretty a country might be. No one could really be interested in that for a second, but his sponsors need him to say it, just in case some nut gets so upset by hearing their hero say the f word that they can no longer hold down a job, and start legal action.

Compare the wonderful verbal fireworks Cav can come out with, to the condescendingly dull template of a post race comment that Garmin riders churn out; ‘I am so proud of the whole team today, I could not have won this without them. We are not just a team we are also bff’s, I love this team. It was a beautiful race. I am so proud Thank you’. Go on, have a look at any post race comment from one of their riders this season and that is word for word what you’ll see. It’s clean, its tidy, it ticks all the sponsors boxes in the in-company magazine but its oh so dull.

Someone give bike riders their personalities back. There is no hope for Jamie Oliver, but he is just a chubby entrepreneur, a clown who caricatures himself for money. Bike riders should be so much more than that.