A Right Old Shindig at the Cotswold Olimpicks
The Daily Mail: 29 May 2005
Picture, title and sub-title: The headline is reversed-out of a colour picture of villagers apparently transporting straw bales in preparation for the eccentric “Olimpick” games celebrated in the Cotswold village of Chipping Campden. The use of the term “Olimpicks” would appear to be a deliberate archaisms – as it seems highly unlikely the Cotswold games were actually ever thus known. The strap byline attributes the story to a Mail staff reporter: “John Carter visits the village with its own eccentric games”.
Fact & Opinion: It is a fact that the second paragraph points to the origins of the Cotswold games in the early 17th Century – thus anticipating “Baron de Coubertin’s Olympic revival by 284 years”. Allegedly, the Cotswold games were started as a Whitsun celebration in 1612 by Robert Dover. The games consisted of quirky rustic pursuits like cock-fighting, coursing and shin-kicking! These two-day games ran annually for “250 years” before they were abandoned “owing to the disorderly mobs which used to attend.” The Cotswold games were revived in “1951 for the Festival of Britain” and continue to this day. The Cotswold Olimpicks are staged at Dover’s Hill in the parish of Weston Sub Edge – close to Chipping Campden. Dover’s Hill is described as a natural amphitheatre.
Analysing words and phrases: The writer makes deliberate use of the phrase “on tenterhooks” to evoke the anxiety of the London bid team, headed by Lord Sebastian Coe – suggesting the term actually originated in the same Cotswold area. The idiom “on tenterhooks” is thus taken to mean anxious, uneasy – like the fabric stretched taut. Presumably, the reader is supposed to contrast the rustic, charming simplicity and eccentricity of the Cotswold games with the immensely slick corporate Olympic bidding venture. The description of the shin-kicking competition is described as taking place on the first Friday after...
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