Hundreds of viewers of the big screen on Clapham Common were involved in public disorder as yesterday night’s coverage of the Olympics due to a close, after a late night row over the crowd’s choice of viewing. “We were all coming back from the pub and most of us really wanted to switch over to ITV3 to watch the movie,” explained twenty eight viewers. “But a hard core still wanted to watch Gary Linneker interviewing some bloke about the archery or something. Boring.”
In the event neither faction was able to get their way, because the giant remote control could not be found. While Gary Linneker showed his fifteenth medal ceremony, the crowd disintegrated into fighting, sulking, making tea, going to the toilet and looking for the massive remote control. This was finally found under a giant cushion – part of an inflatable installation called “enormous sofa” created by the South London Art Collective with Lottery funding. But the giant remote, which needs two hundred AA batteries to power it, has to be operated by at least four people, and before long it became the subject of what onlookers described as a “tug of war”.
This resulted in a random button being pressed and the accidental showing of a 23 foot Alan Titchmarsh (ITV4) for 12 minutes, causing further dissatisfaction and unrest among the crowd. Eventually, 999999999 was called, but the only giant police officer (Yvonne Jones, 9’ 5”, 62-41-63) on duty was on a meal break consuming a Burger King “Whopper”, and thereby ignoring sponsorship rules.
No arrests were made and a Locog spokesman said “the media have blown this incident out of all proportion.”