So the foreign press is accusing Londoners of killing everyone’s joy with their lack of enthusiasm for the Olympics.
Apparently we’re ruining the general mood by doing nothing but moaning about the biggest sport event in the world.
Americans and Japanese have landed in their thousands at Heathrow all full of excitement, and are forced to deal with locals treating them and the whole event like a gigantic nuisance.
How dare we? Why aren’t we all here bursting with anticipation, welcoming visitors with open arms and waving flags?
The German press explained this dispicable behaviour with the theory that the British only get excited about British stuff, like the Queen’s jubilee, whilst resenting an event like the Olympics featuring a series of sports totally unknown to the obviously insular British audience, like Tai Kwon Doh (there are more martial arts classes than you can count in London but never mind..)
Now, excuse my language, but this is the greatest pile of rubbish I’ve ever heard.
First of all, let’s immediaty get rid of the luducrous concept Londoners hate the Games because they’re not British enough: 50% of Londoners are foreigners and don’t give a damn about celebrating britishness. They know perfectly well what Tai Kwon Doh is, thank you very much. The Jubilee was a success with the locals simply because everyone could take part in it. There were no special tickets and VIP lanes. It gave us all two extra days of holiday and featured a beautifully organised series of free events that didn’t disrupt people’s life. I loved the Jubilee. It was a fun weekend and anyone who fancied it could go to the river, watch the flotilla, watch the fireworks, watch the concert on the big screen and the following day everything was back to normal.
So let me tell you why we resent the Olympics.
To fund the olympics londoners have seen their council tax raise considerably. So we actually PAID for an event most of us wont be able to see, only endure.
When the Olympic tickets went on sale there was no pre-sale for London residents or london based sport associations, schools, community centres… The system was a ridiculous worldwide lottery that forced people to surrender their credit card details without knowing whether they’d get tickets or not. Most Londoners didn’t get any.
The rest of the tickets were released a few months ago and cost as much as a small car.
For four years we’ve endured endless disruptions on public transport. The Northern and Victoria line saw constant suspensions and partial closures. Tottenham court road was closed for a year and the surrounded area dismantled to give room to a “crossrail” service that is still not there. The Jubilee line was suspended every single weekend for a year.
After such mayhem you’d expect an incredible new network but no, everything is like before, only with new tiles and wifi (on the platform only, so about 30 secs of Internet during opening and closing of doors, wow). Most stations are still impossible to access with wheelchairs or buggies, because they have no lifts or escalators. Now, did you want a legacy that Londoners would have enjoyed long term? Then you should have put lifts to platforms at every main interchange stations.
The Olympic parc is ugly, the red 130mt tall sculpture horrid and the rest of east London remains as derelict as it always was. Proof is, none of the journalists, officials and “VIPs” would dream of residing in Stratford for the two weeks of the games. Of course. It’s a run down, unappealing place. Two minutes from the stadia but in fact a world part and totally not involved.
But lets go on…
After two months of constant daily rain, which made the outdoors events that apparently constitute the “cultural Olympiad” as appealing as a punch in the eye, Londoners, depressed, cold and wet, were told to organise themselves because from the 20th of July their daily commute would turn into a scene from Dante’s Inferno with up to 45 minute queues to board trains, and buses on diversion to leave room to the VIP.
Yeah! The Olympic is such fun!!
Boris Johnson’s voice echoes from every radio and tube station scaring children with warnings about overcrowding. Hey, but it’s going to be so good, London!!!
The mayor’s clever suggestions to avoid disruptions during the games are:
– work from home (this government of tosh not conceiving jobs involving dealing with other people – nurses, carers, supermarket cashiers – and assuming everyone plays around with shares and stock markets in front of a computer)
– if you usually travel to a major station, that will be overcrowded, leave earlier and get off at the previous station and walk. Great. So imagine you travel from West Norwood to London Bridge. The station before London Bridge is new Cross Gate, located about five miles from it. Is Boris Johnson suggesting every commuter should walk ten miles a day? Yes he is. And what about pregnant women, disabled people and all those older workers that are now forced to keep their jobs until they die? Or, well, my dear chap, they can take a holiday on those two weeks!
– instead of going home after work at six, spend a couple of hours in the pub and avoid travelling at peak times. Yes! This is the solution to avoiding disruption during the games: alcoholism! Well thought Boris
– go on holiday and skip the all bloody nightmare. Which I’m doing, thanks.
But it’s not all. Olympic lanes have appeared all over central London so cars are forced into u-turns to avoid a £130 fee on the spot. Only VIPs can drive freely across the city, the rest of us forced to queue in the side streets for hours. Why the 2100 journalists from NBC and the thousands of “officials”
Buses are also diverted and forced to be stuck in traffic. They have also been invaded by thousands of American tourists with humongous maps trying to board them with no ticket, offering a £20 note to the driver.
I could continue but I’d hate to be accused of “moaning” by the Die Spiegel…
But no worries, dear foreign journalists, do you want a sterotype about the Brits, I’ll give you one: they are gregarious and great at putting on a happy front no matter what, so they will play along in the end and join in the celebrations.
Just to make your VIP’s staying at the Ritz more pleasurable