copyright © josh milton 2017
Preface: How a single flame can bring a community together.
Coming up to twelve in the afternoon, my grandmother came knocking on my door.
"Hurry up, we might miss it" she exclaimed.
I hurried down the stairs - clad in a semi-formal outfit of a print tee and nautical blazer - I was all ready for the occasion set to transpire in front of me. Even my teenage cousin was ecstatic.
Walking across the sun-paved streets, only the occasional jack was to be spotted. Yet the boulevards were chockablock with people. The many social classes of people: black, white, asian and even overly tanned littered the now flurry with excitement streets.
This was a very different, completely contrasting image to what was the norm for my small town. The closest to a friendly chat would be the occasional glance as a commuter runs into you whilst they scramble to clock into work. Not a care in the world, or at the least, for your well-being. Yet, for this one fabled day, the town was puffed up with conceit. Metamorphosing into a bustling environ, it may not have been the cliché image of a tranquil field with people hand in hand, but heck, it was good enough for me.
I myself am very much unlike my fellow citizens. I'm not orange. I don't emphasise certain syllables ("...ohhh myyyy goddd..." to quote a recent Facebook status). Nor am I a slave to football. Essentially, I do not conform to the status quo of the populous. However, for this short moment, I was gladly accepted despite my farfetched fashion choices.
Elation ensued as the crowd roared, intoxicated by the free cans of Coca-cola, just as the golden veiled tour busses travelled past. Complete with inspirational memes; "Time to shine". You could tell that, in these harsh tribulation times, even a pitiful phrase can release the indomitable spirits inside of us. Allowing us a snippet of hope to traverse the next stages of life.
Except, what event am I referring to? To have exaggerated it's conditions to the degree that I have, you would expect it to be appropriately decadent. The both magnanimous and scrutinised wave that has washed upon the shores of red white and blue is none other than the torch of legends. The Olympic flame. Putting aside the surplus spending allowance and overblown corporate sponsors, the 112 year old tradition has quintessentially brought us together as a nation. Even in the relatively enclosed, 'shut off from the world' town, my hometown, of Essex, the torch has brought the public out of seclusion (basically off their iPhones) and back into what makes us British. Getting in the way of other people's photographs and queuing to see a five-second show.