Twenty-four hours in Journalism, John Dale’s worldwide snapshot of the hack’s working day, gave me the idea; a trip south combining leisure and work as the Olympic Games got underway provided the opportunity. The press and politicians had been predicting great things for our golden boys and girls . . . what better way to record their success than in the style of Dale’s Diary?
Warrington: Returning to the home of friends after an evening drinking sloe gins, Chilean Merlot and brandy while lining his stomach with a calamari starter followed by rib-eye, chips and Eton Mess, wannabe athlete David Banks fires up BBC1’s midnight Olympic Sportsday for an update. Sadly, he strays to the fridge for a late-night snack and returns to find the Olympic report has transmogrified into Weatherview. Burping, Banks blunders boozily off to bed.
Euston-bound: Media pundit Banksy, heading for London, scans the press and senses the gathering editorial storm. ‘Security farce as Wembley keys lost’ (Mail), ‘Empty seats fiasco’ (Indy) and ‘We will fill empty Olympic seats says Coe’ (Times) obscure any impact that Team GB’s disappointing overnight silver and bronze medals might have had.
Hollybush, Hampstead: Fortified by two pints of Pride and relieved by a handful of Rennies, former Mirror editor Banks groans as teenage diver Tom Daley splashes out of medal contention in the men’s synchronised 10m platform final. Annoyed at this failure, the big man’s fingers tiptoe threateningly towards the Twitter key on his iPad but, luckily, he thinks better of it.
North London: Bloody poncey Chinese pommel horse whingers have shoved Our Brave Boys into bronze position in the artistic gymnastics final! One-time Aussie newspaper editor Banksy isn’t best pleased as he heads off towards the London Media Centre (via the Red Lion in Horseguards) to be interviewed by Ross Stevenson and John Burns for Melbourne’s Radio 3AW breakfast show. ‘When will the tabloids start screaming for golds, Banksy?’they ask. ‘Tomorrow, I reckon,’mutters their despondent interviewee. ‘Cameron says we’ll fill the seats, Boris says the Tube is holding up but all we want is medals, medals, medals!”
Media Centre CafÃ©: Midnight means a lonely pint of Stella Artois and a Kit-Kat for Banks as the HD widescreen is turned off just before Olympic Sportsday gets underway with whatever highlights it can muster. The 3AW producer talked up a handy $A250 fee but all that’s been forthcoming so far is a souvenir button-pin and two bottles of Yarra Valley Cabernet Sauvignon which Banks lugs towards the all-night bus.
LBC, Leicester Square: Dawn and another Dance to the Music of Medals with frothy-mouthed breakfast presenter Nick Ferrari, fulminating at Team GB’s failure to win gold.
King’s Cross: Crowded train back to Berwick as Banksy’s iPad reports that even the royals are letting us down – horsewoman Zara Phillips blames herself for letting gold slip to silver in the eventing team championship.
Feeling bleak, Banks reflects that Fleet Street will not be happy with the lack of heavy metal. He switches off his iPad, laptop, and mobile phone and discards the pile of newspapers he has lugged aboard.