It’s All Over Now Baby Blue

20120811_083615I think many Britons will agree with me when I say that I am very sorry to see the 2012 Summer Olympics already over. The luxury to forget about Syria and the economy and all else for a fortnight, with the added benefit of a good cheer and success stories, the good spirit fuelled by many Olympic volunteers, the… Oh, it was just wonderful. The nation is suffering from post-Olympic stress syndrome. Others called it the Olympia Withdrawal Trauma, but it’s all the same: too bad it is over.

My only criticism is that the BBC focused almost exclusively  on events with British interest (plus Usain Bolt). Even the late night summary TV broadcast didn’t spend time on a brief summary of all else that happened on the day, even though a lot else had happened every single day. Hardly a mention of the handball qualifiers or the men’s modern pentathlon, and many other sports. Basically, they didn’t care unless there was a strong British Interest.

Not quite the best display of the good Olympic spirit by the BBC, who on all other accounts stunned with the comprehensive cover via a variety of media. There’s another chance with the Paralympics, but I think the broadcasting rights for that are with Channel 4, where we’ll be watching the finale right after the commercial break.

We only saw one event in person, the Men’s Modern Pentathlon: 36 brave athletes fencing, 200m freestyle swimming, show jumping on a foreign horse, 3x1000m running and shooting in a single-day competition over 11 hours, and it was great to be part of it. I never thought I could say to myself I’ve been there (even though the BBC didn’t mention it in the summary and Mo Farah won the 5000m gold at the time of the Pentathlon finish).

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Tea Minus Fourteen

DSC_0662It’s just under fourteen hours to the opening of the 2012 London Olympics at the time of this writing.

I didn’t care much about the torch relay until it came through our little Broadway, passing along the stores offering used washing machines, second hand furniture and cars. There had been a lot more people out that I expected; the street was actually lined with people several rows deep. The fine weather and the convenient 18:00 hour also helped of course, but the whole thing sparked some sense of hope with me.

Hope that the Olympic Spirit is finally out of the bottle and Londoners are ignited with a positive momentum.

At 8:12 today, bells will be rung all across the country for the three minute All The Bells piece conceived by Martin Creed, including Big Ben, the famous 13.5 tonne bell.

The show begins at 21:00 tonight. I find it all pretty exciting. T minus 14, 13, …


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Olympic Spirit

DSC_0409There’s a lot of Olympic spirit around in London these days. Trouble is, it is not the good Olympic spirit: Traffic will be a nightmare, the Olympic lane regulations are unclear, public transport will be at the brink of collapse. The weather is likely to frustrate, the security is in shambles, the general cost of the whole affair is high. Tickets are hard to come by and too expensive. The logo and mascot are an embarrassment. The games are too commercial, the beach volleyball ladies may not be playing in bikini due to low temperatures, and this, and that, and more.

The list of advance complains is almost endless. Not all without reason, but it can’t be helped now, can it? We’ve got them, like it or not, and any arrangements which might have been done better or different are what they are. I’d love to see the good British spirit arising from the pit of doom before the games.

We’ve been watching reports about runner Usain Bolt, cyclist Victoria Pendleton and highlights of many of the past modern Olympic games. To me, these are stimulating programmes. I don’t usually follow sports at all, but I certainly look forward to see how Usain and Victoria perform, and will enjoy watching many of the Olympic disciplines which don’t normally get a great deal of press coverage.

I, for one, look forward to the games. I hope so do you.


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Games Security

2010-12-27 019The Home Secretary Theresa May assures us that the Olympic games’ security will not be compromised by bringing in approximately 17,000 army staff to help out – why, I wonder, would the security be compromised, if you’d bring in the government’s very own experts in keeping people and country safe? This is by far the best use of the army this country has seen in a long time!

I can only hope that G4S, the company awarded the contract for Olympic security and paid £300 million for the pleasure, will compensate the taxpayer for services agreed but not provided. They have now said that they couldn’t train enough staff in time. Up to three weeks before the opening, they thought they could. Honestly. If they think they can hire someone as late as three weeks before the games, vetted and trained to the standards required in time, G4S might be the biggest security risk on site.


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New World Sports

DSC_0144The Prime Minister hopes that the 2012 London Olympics will encourage more people to take on sports.

New world sports, I’m guessing:

Power Tweeting

Cross-terrain Texting

Speed Channel Hopping

Synchronised Facebooking

What’s your favourite new world sport?


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Help My Toenails Just Went Pop

Not the 2012 Olympic mascots Did you see the now unveiled mascot for the 2012 London Olympics?

Something tells me that this was bound to be a disaster, and guess what? It is.

The paper writes don’t fret. The children love them, but I wonder how much they paid those children. And, shockingly, those designers. Apparently, it’s all got to be a whirlwind mix of 3D rendering software and Teletubbies, rendered into larger-than-life plastic figures (and merchandise).

Maybe I don’t know what makes the 21st century’s children tick, but I thought a mascot ought to be something loveable. I guess that’s not true. I guess the truth is that the mascot ought to be good for merchandise and printing onto goods (within a sponsorship logo).

Anyway, I took a peek, and find one worse than the other. Check out the BBC’s Olympic mascots through the ages, or The Independent‘s breakdown of Olympic figure heads. In my opinion, there are two clear winners, ahead of the field by orders of magnitude: 1972’s Waldi (Munich), which is said to have started the whole craze, and 1932’s mascot (Los Angeles), which doesn’t appear to be listed in most lists of historic Olympic mascots.

You’d think they should know by now to ask me first.


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No Benefit

gherkin 60% of Londoners think there is no benefit to them and their region in the 2012 Olympics, and a smaller but significant percentage has much more negative views.


We can not give it “now that we thought about it some more no thank you” back, can we?

I guess many are right: it will be much more expensive than initially planned, many areas will see no benefit, not all the new and shiny things will come to good and full use afterwards. Maybe it was a foolish idea to apply in the first place, and maybe it wasn’t. Point is the decision has been taken.

Let’s find that good and positive and forward-looking spirit once more, and let’s get on with it. It would be too bad to see this country turning into a nation or perpetual moaners, as the media sometimes suggests.

Failing that, I shall go and make my own country. Or my own media. Or both. Maybe I should follow Prince Michael‘s footsteps.


2012 Olympics

2012 Olympics, again – and most certainly not the last time. Apparently, this revised London 2012 Olympics logo has been going around on the Internet and you may have seen it already.

It is of course no better than the real thing, but the point is: it ain’t worse neither. Which makes both pretty bad, I think.

Collections of constructive counter-proposals are emerging like mushrooms. See, for example, the London Logo Blog, the BBC’s alternative logo photo collection (second page), or even the official site. Who says creativity is dead?

Odyssee 2012?

Time for a breaking-news post. OK, only 48 hours young: Did you see the new London 2012 Olympics logo, unveiled this Monday by Sebastian Coe? (Go and read the official statement).

Apparently, it is modern and includes the word London. It’s even available in four amazing colours.

Nobody explained why it’s so ugly, why it isn’t at least available in the five Olympic colours, why the only reference to London is the written word (rather than, maybe, the logo itself with its jagged line resembling the famous bird’s eye view of London with its curved river), why the reference to 2012 is barely recognizable, or why … oh my, I’m getting all worked up again!

For £400,000 you’d expect something real in return. This is a bad joke. (Sign petition here)

On the upside, according to the BBC, the logo will evolve over the next five years. Let’s hope so.