The shipyard painter, political activist and razor-sharp cartoonist Bob Starrett has just written a new book The Way I See It on his eventful life and times. Below we reprint one of his stories and review an essential read
No sporting event is as immersed in mythology as the Olympics, which come to London in a few weeks' time.
Long trumpeted as a panacea for society's ills, the Games have been heralded for their ability to affect all manner of social and economic problems.
The creation of jobs, the regeneration of impoverished areas, increasing participation in sport, attracting more tourists to the host city - these are just some of the issues that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) suggests its Games can solve.
It is a line mimicked by politicians hoping to attract the competition to their country.
But does the Olympics make good on such lofty promises? In a nutshell, no, argues Mark Perryman in Why The Olympics Aren't Good For Us And How They Can Be - a timely analysis of what the games have become under the ruling of a money-driven, bureaucratic IOC.
On the contrary, the author argues that more often than not the Games leave the host city with a legacy of expensive and disused sporting arenas and drive away tourists before, during and after the two-week event.
Perhaps worst of all, they actually decrease participation in sport.
Yet Perryman is neither anti-sport nor is his book particularly pessimistic - he is rather a staunch advocate of the power of sport in changing lives.
His writing is driven by his disillusionment with the Olympics and the belief that they could be so much better.
In this short but compelling book he offers a manifesto for an alternative Olympics. He suggests five new Olympic rings, each of which represent changes he believes would lead to a freer, more accessible Games.
Those ideas, such as decentralising the Games so that they are held in a country rather than one city, may be idealistic. But they are ultimately sensible in engaging as many people as possible and reducing the need to build multiple arenas of minimal use in the future.
What is most striking from reading Perryman's words is that they haven't been aired before by anyone else in the mainstream media, whose coverage of London 2012 has largely swapped critical analysis with patriotic fervour.
In that light, it must be hoped that this excellent book can serve to spark a wider debate on what kind of Olympics we hope to see in the future, even if it is too late for the last British Games of most of our lifetimes.