Sunday, 21 August 2011

In the five-year hiatus in this blog, the Wenlock name has been picked up by no less an organisation than the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG).

It is a truth universally acknowledged that the success or failure of an Olympic Games is crucially dependent upon the choice of Olympic mascot. After all, who can forget Waldi, the rainbow-striped dachsund from the 1972 Munich games? Or Hidy and Howdy, the cowboy-hatted polar bears from 1988 in Calgary? Well, Wenlock can for one. The same goes for Roni the Raccoon from Lake Placid in 1980 and even for El Jaguar Rojo de Chichen-Itza (Mexico City 1968).

Nonetheless, the great minds of LOCOG (and I can remember when that would have made a great episode of Doctor Who) have clearly thought long and hard, and have come up with Wenlock, and his Paralympic companion, Mandeville. Wenlock is the first Olympic mascot to post on Twitter (take that, Misha! (Moscow 1980)) and to have its own page on Facebook (what have you got to say to that, Vucko? (Sarajevo 1984)).

The choice of Wenlock as the name for the mascot refers back to the Wenlock Olympian Games, an annual event founded in 1850, and witnessed by Baron Pierre de Coubertin in 1890. The Olympian Society celebrated their 125th Games earlier this year.

While this Wenlock thinks the choice of this name for the Olympic mascot is a good one, and considers that the design of the mascot could be a great deal worse (compare it with the unspeakable ugly London 2012 logo), he remains disappointed about a related aspect of the Olympic planning.

In the 70 days immediately before the Opening Ceremony, we will be treated to the commercial hype and hysteria of the Olympic Torch Relay. The torch will travel the length and breadth of the country. It goes as far north as Shetland, as far west as Londonderry, as far south as Jersey and as far east as Norwich. But does it go to Much Wenlock? No it doesn't.

Monday, 8 August 2011

A while ago I blogged a review of Jen Kloester's Georgette Heyer's Regency World. Six years on and a new book is on its way, Georgette Heyer: Biography of a Bestseller, although it won't be published until October.

However it looks like the pre-publication publicity has started up already, with an article in theguardian revealing that Georgette Heyer accused Barbara Cartland of plagiarism following the publication of Cartland's Knave of Hearts, which lifted its plot more or less entirely from These Old Shades (which reminds me: Léonie de Saint-Vire will be appearing on this blog fairly soon).

What puzzles me is that this is considered newsworthy. I was certainly well aware that Heyer believed that Cartland had plagiarised her, and the "evidence" described in the article - letters from Heyer to her agent, Leonard Parker Moore - is what might be expected.

However, anything that raises Heyer's profile is good news, and I look forward to the publication of Jen Kloester's book. It's just a pity that she doesn't seem to be booked to talk about it at the forthcoming Cheltenham Literature Festival.