The Arcelor Mittal Orbit Tower looms over the Olympic Park… and it’s growing on me. The sheer size of it is disconcerting. I’m a big fan of the Angel Of the North, I’ve seen the Statue of Liberty up close – they clearly class as sculptures because they are of a human figure in my unsophisticated way of thinking. The Orbit scupture is something different. In the daytime it looks like a fairground ride, something damaged, a crane or an R. It’s like nothing you’ve ever seen before. At night it lights up and, over Gary Lineker’s right ear, looks like Mordor glowing bright red (the sculpture not Gary’s ear which is bright orange). Apparently the challenge continues for those lucky enough or wealthy enough (it’s £15 a visit) to take the elevator to the top and see it from the inside. Anish Kapoor’s sculpture, generously paid for by Lakshmi Mittal, has joined the rest of the Olympic design – just a little bonkers but charming because of it.
It struck me the other day that I don’t think I have seen hide nor hair of Mandeville and Wenlock. Way back in the day I remember huge excitement about the design and naming. Thinking about it, how much ink was wasted on the discussion about the logo for the Games themselves? Anyway, I’d expected by now that there would be animated Mandevilles and Wenlocks bouncing along on the captions like the duck walking across the bottom of Australian cricket coverage. I’d expected one of the Games volunteers to have drawn the short straw to dress up as them and bounce around the track whipping up a frenzy. Maybe, just maybe, mascots are an insurance policy. If the Games themselves weren’t going particularly well, if Mitt Romney had been right all along, hordes of Wenlocks and Mandevilles would be released to start the Mexican waves. As it is they are rapidly turning into collectible figurines and tiebreak trivia questions. Bizarrely they do have Twitter presences. @iamWenlock has over 29,000 followers while poor old @iamMandeville only has 17,000. I suspect this confirms Mandeville is the Wise to Wenlock’s Morecambe.