15th August, 2008
When someone says Olympics you don't usually think of monkeys; unless you're Damon Albarn that is. In a shock move away from the usual rock music/sporting montage, the BBC commissioned him and his Gorillaz collaborator Jamie Hewlett (also the creator of Tank Girl) to produce a figurehead for this year's Olympic coverage.
The result is a theme and series of cartoons which showcase the events of the games using characters from one of China's most famous novels - Journey to the West - published in 1590. Monkey's story is familiar to some from the cult 1970's series Monkey Magic. This bizarre Japanese featured Monkey along with sidekicks Sandy (a water monster) and Pigsy (a pig monster) undertaking an epic journey from East to West.
In these new cartoons our heroes use their magic and some of the different Olympic disciplines to aid their return to the east.I have to admit to some misgivings when someone told me about this monkey but having seen several of the cartoons I'm impressed. I love watching sport and especially the Olympics but between events I'd much rather watch these cartoons than listen to the inane banter between the presenters and commentators. I know that they're paid to talk for a living but someone should remind them that "brevity is the soul of wit".
And on that note it's time for me to go but what I really wanted to say is that I like these cartoons. It's time they tried something new for these big sporting events. I just hope that Seb Coe has Damon and Jamie on speed dial for 2012.