Her Majesty’s Disco Stick

Photograph of Commonwealth Games Baton

According to an unknown retired Major-General, the Queen’s Baton (pictured right) has become the beacon, a shining symbol of unity, of hope and the shared aspirations of a world sorely in need of such healing and inspiration.”

Get me a bucket.

The Queen’s Baton for the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games is a subtle and dangerous trap. It is sucking out our brains and it has already formed a parasitic relationship with the Prime Minister.

The Baton grasps John Howard

I urge the People of the Commonwealth to re-name this crass object “Her Majesty’s Disco Stick”.

HM’s Disco Stick is inspiring such pretentious drivel that we’re in danger of forgetting how to think.

“We should applaud Her Majesty’s foresight and wisdom in sending this remarkable baton on its wonderful journey throughout the commonwealth nations she loves so much,” gushes the Major-General. Oh, apparently he’s the Governor-General, I’ve just been told.

Behold the Disco Stick!

Behold the triumph of feature-list over taste!

  • Disco Stick is jam-packed with cutting edge technologies never before utilised in a Games baton, including front and rear view Baton Cam.
  • Disco Stick has Global Positioning System (GPS), so we can track its every move — at least when the website’s not overloaded and the satellite link’s working.
  • Disco Stick’s front slots glow with a green light, like a hotted-up computer case from Chinatown.
  • Disco Stick’s green lights flash in a chaser pattern! The green light moves up and down its length like an athlete’s self-love!

Behold the subtlety of Melbourne’s self-promotion!

The gold tip reflects Melbourne’s elegance and grandeur and the important role the metal has played in the city’s history and prosperity. Melbourne thrived during Victoria’s 1850s gold rush, which drew many people from diverse nations to the great city to seek their success; not unlike the athletes that will flock to Melbourne for the Games in 2006.

Magnesium, often referred to as the “metal of the future”, is used in the front panel of the baton. Australia is one of the world’s largest producers of magnesium and the metal has special significance to Australia’s prosperity and economic future. The green colour used on the back of the baton reflects Melbourne’s park surrounds and Victoria’s place as “The Garden State.”

And behold the People’s Praise!

Geoff Strong scored a free trip on The Ghan and used his journey well:

The Queen’s Commonwealth Games baton rests in its case like a sculptural tribute to the underground nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans. When its batteries are activated the thing radiates a rippling phosphorescent green, its Melbourne-based designers perhaps inspired by a Doctor Who episode or a Star Wars movie.

But what I love is that amid all this mucilaginous praise, this Baton is still an Australian baton: the night before its Big Day, the Baton is going to a party.

Assigning Blame

Charlwood Design's wireless EFTPOS terminal

Her Majesty’s Disco Stick was designed by Charlwood Design in Melbourne. They’re also responsible for empire-inspiring wireless EFTPOS terminals (pictured right), hotel door locks, ventolin inhalers and a thing for bashing down asphalt on the roads.

I don’t blame Charlwood’s designers, though. They had a hard act to follow.

In 2002, Manchester gave us the magnificent Jubilee Baton — fashioned from sterling silver and engraved with traditional symbols of the creative artists’ families and cultures, including a wolf, a raven and “an eagle with a frog in its mouth”.

Jubilee Baton from the Manchester 2002 Commonwealth Games

A Final Plea

Once again, I urge the People of the Commonwealth to re-name this crass object “Her Majesty’s Disco Stick”.

Tell your friends. Tell them to tell their friends.