Pssst! Huddle round, for I could be in big trouble if I'm overheard. I'm talking about the Olymp..., no, sorry, I'm not allowed to say the word. I mean the Games - no, no, not allowed that either. The international event where Team GB takes on - hang on, am I permitted to say Team GB? No? Could you hold on a minute while I consult the two lists of words banned from by the London Olympics Games & Paralympics Games Act!
The Act, I'll mention while you're waiting, was passed in 2006 to preserve the profits of the Olympic organising committee LOCOG. Pardon? Sorry, I meant - to preserve the integrity of the Olympics brand from those who might seek to exploit it for private commercial gain. Drat, I said the O word again!
This Act forbids any unauthorised person or business to associate themselves with the O******* by using two or more words from List A (such as the various ways of writing the year we are currently in), and the conjunction of List A words with one or more from List B (including 'summer', 'London', 'gold', 'silver', 'medal'). It also makes it a punishable offence to feature any interlocking rings similar to the O****** logo.
Of course, this is perfectly reasonable, for people are seeking left right and centre to exploit the London Olym... - er, the Herculean sporting endeavour in our nation's capital (NB is Hercules all right to mention, or are all Greek myths out of bounds?).
There was that Dorset butcher, for instance, who arranged his sausages into the O****** rings. The florist in Stoke-on-Trent who tried to attract custom with wreaths echoing the logo. The Leicester lingerie shop which was forced to remove five sporty mannequins and hula hoops arranged you know how. The British Sugarcraft Guild, those cunning opportunists, who wanted to hold a not-for-profit O******-themed cake-decorating competition and that avaricious old lady who made a doll with an O****** logo on its top to sell at a church bazaar. And now me, brazenly mining the event on my blog to encourage more hits and win myself a career as a top writer.
With such flagrant attempts to cash in you can see why Britain's largest warship stands ready on the Thames, why fighter jets are poised for action for the first time since World War II, the army has been mobilised and people's flats are being turned into missile bases. You can't be too careful of such a valuable brand in these mercenary times.
I am worried, though. The Act, which allows courts to criminalise mischief-makers who exploit those banned words and logos, also grants the police powers to enter land or premises and to 'remove, destroy, conceal or erase any infringing article' (like this one?). This is presumably why a feature about O****** censorship, which featured a cartoon of the logo, has been removed from the Daily Mail website.
I am worried because, now I come to think about it, the O****** logo is all over our vicarage:
As every vicar's wife knows, this is one of several reliable methods for keeping those unruly plastic dog collars in check.
I was emptying the washing machine in my usual hurry and it all fell randomly on the floor. Does this mean the police will come rummaging through the Vicar's drawers of smalls?
Obviously I'm going to have to find another way to store domestic essentials.
Millinery, salads, stationery, hairbands, my daughter's jewellery collection and the Vicar's small change for parking meters could all land us at the wrong end of the arm of the law. Social media, you see, is not exempt from these new rules. Anyone, for instance, who photographs themselves at an O****** event, then posts the picture on Facebook, could face charges, alongside the fools who bring their own chips into the O****** precincts and undermine the profits of the G***'s sponsor McDonalds. And as for those who abuse the London skyline by taking a family snap with someone who happens to be carrying a torch or a quintet of hula hoops....
I'm off-line and off on holiday next week. If, in the meantime, they come to get me, I hope all you generous cyber friends could muster a few coins towards my bail.