My Olympic Legacy: I’m Skint


Given that you should never judge something til you try it, yesterday four of us did just that:

The author walks around Olympic Park ,unaided, during the Paralympics.

Baked Potato, Topped with Mayo………………………………………………..£6

Bottle of Water …………………………………………………………………….£1.60

275 m Bottle of Bulmers Cider…………………………………………………….£4.30.

A space in Park Live to watch British Airways adverts on tv……………………No Charge

145g bag of Cadbury’s Twirl…………………………………………………………..£3.00

18.7cl glass of (as yet unidentified) White Wine……………………………………..£4.80

Bench in front of huge BMW ads screen…………………………………..Complimentary

Pie & Mash…………………………………………………………………………….£8.00

Son queuing for 20 minutes for waffles, to be told they’d run out…………………..Free

Team GB mini umbrella………………………………………………………………£15.00

Signed copy of man laughing all the way to the bank…………………………….Priceless.

I expected to stand corrected. The athletes were marvellous, and inspiring. But I had woefully underestimated just how crass and callous Locog and Coe’s Corporate Carve-Up manifests itself once you get inside the gates. Disgraceful.

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A Group of 4 Completely Unrelated Stories


“Prisoner escort company hit by more blunders: Group 4 press conference called to allay public fears undermined by loss of inmates.
THE INDEPENDENT. FRIDAY 16 APRIL 1993

A carefully stage-managed press conference called in an attempt to allay public fears over Group 4’s ability to transport prisoners to court was undermined last night when it emerged that the private security firm had lost two more inmates.

These latest blunders, following the escape of three prisoners and the mistaken release of a fourth during the first week of the company’s operation, will fuel criticism that the private escort service has been a ‘chaotic shambles’.”

“G4S boss: ‘I’m Sorry’
ITN: Tue Jul 17 2012 17:27

Nick Buckles, the man in charge of beleaguered security firm G4S, insisted he was the right man to run the Olympics security contract.

The company’s chief executive has faced a Home Affairs Select Committee in Westminster over the on-going security debacle caused by G4S’ failure to deliver “as many Olympic guards as possible”.

Mr Buckles said he was “sorry and deeply disappointed” that his firm failed to meet its targets.

The scandal has resulted in the emergency deployment of soldiers and police officers and seen £400 million wiped off the market value of G4S.

There is now mounting pressure on Mr Buckles to quit his £830,000 role.”

Mr Buckles agrees security is a shambles.
The G4S chief said that his firm still planned to collect its £57 million management fee despite the ongoing Olympic security debacle.

ITV News Tue 17 Jul 2012

Nick Buckles – who insisted he was the right man to make sure the company delivered as many guards for the Games as possible – told the Home Affairs Committee:

“We’ve managed the contract and we’ve had management on the ground for two years.

We still expect to deliver a significant number of staff.”

Mr Buckles apologised and said he was deeply disappointed after the firm – which is running the £284 million contract for the London 2012 Games – failed to meet its targets.

G4S are now aiming to provide a minimum of 7,000 security guards, a long way short of the initial 15,000 promised.”

“Olympic security not compromised by G4S shortfall, says Lord CoeLondon 2012 chairman says ‘prudent and judicious’ plans have been put in place, as Jeremy Hunt refuses to criticise G4STHE GUARDIAN 

“700,000 Olympics tickets unsold.
Capacity across venues to be reduced by up to 500,000 tickets across the tournament

THE INDEPENDENT TUESDAY 17 JULY 2012

Around 700,000 Olympics tickets are yet to be sold while capacity at a number of football games has been reduced, organisers said today.

Locog said 250,000 football tickets were currently on sale while 50,000 tickets are available to buy for other sports at the moment.

In addition to this, 200,000 football tickets and 200,000 tickets for other sports are due to go on sale after being returned by Olympics committees from around the world.

Organisers said there had been around one million football tickets left but these have been cut in half by reducing capacity at stadiums.

A spokesman for Locog said: “We are planning to reduce capacity across the venues by up to 500,000 tickets across the tournament.”

A British All-Conners Record


The Daily Telegraph writes:

Olympic beer to cost £7.23 a pint


Bars at the official Games venues will charge £4.80 for a small serving of London 2012 red wine. For visitors with an appetite for traditional British fare, a portion of cod and chips will set them back at least £8.

The London 2012 organisers, who published sample menus yesterday, claimed the prices were “more than comparable” to catering costs at other sporting events. An estimated 14 million meals will be served to spectators across 40 locations during the Games.

Paul Deighton, chief executive of London 2012, said the organisers had “gone to great lengths” to find “high quality, tasty food that celebrates the best of Britain”.

A 330ml bottle of Heineken lager at the Games will cost £4.20, making the equivalent price of a pint £7.23. This is more than double the national average price of £3.17 for a pint of beer.

Spectators will pay £2.10 for a toasted teacake, £2.30 for a 500ml bottle of Coca-Cola and £2 for a cup of tea. A family of four should be able to buy food and drinks for under £40, according to London 2012. “

They say this last bit without a hint of irony. That’ll be 40 quid on top of the four £450 tickets to watch 20 minutes of the 1m synchronized ping pong. But who the fuck cares any more? We let these robbers get away with it, as we string up our flags and bunting, wave our Union Jacks and remark “ooh hasn’t that nice Mr Coe got old since he took over the games ?”. Of course he looks old. So would you if you had to lug great wads of cash home every night, under the cover of darkness.

Let’s not worry about it. Let’s light up the barbies, sing God Save the Queen for the Jubilee and give thanks that in these harsh times of mass unemployment, crime and poverty, when more and more are driven to stealing to feed themselves and their families, when the southern half of continental Europe is about to go under, we still have a time and the tact to celebrate and wave at a woman who drives around in a solid gold coach.

Let’s shout “C’mon Ingerlund” as the Ukrainian and Polish Nazi Parties beat the shite out of football fans from ethnic backgrounds (well, anyone who isn’t Ukrainian or Polish really), and all this because Michel Platini and his Uefa mafia turn a blind eye to racism and violence within football culture, just as long as he gets his big bucks (or small Euros at the time of going to press). I do not have the data on the price of Heineken beer in Kiev.

Then when a football match breaks out on the pitch and our team loses we can slaughter Roy Hodgson for picking completely wrong 11 idiots, as there were 11 other idiots waiting at home in bed with their friend’s wives, trying to take their minds off of not being selected.

Lets sit back and enjoy the liars of the world: Blair, Cameron, Murdoch (+1), Hunt, Wade, Coulson and the rest of them squirm their way around the questions which would and should bring down the lot of them. But they won’t. You know they won’t. Come the end of Leveson, and save for a couple of minor-ish victims and sacrifices like Brooks and Coulson, the Murdoch Empire, the Fleet St rags and the British Government will still be in place and will still operate in exactly the same way.

Some people moan about it and sites like the one you are reading make a fuss about all this shit now and then, but it doesn’t really do anything or matter in any way shape or form, does it? If it mattered, more than 32% of the country would get out and vote these crooks, thieves and tramps out of office. If it mattered there would be a day of action against arseholes like Andrew Lansley, Michael Gove and Nick Clegg EVERY WEEK, not just once every winter equinox.

So enjoy the next few months. Don’t trip over the maypole or the bunting this weekend; when the football arrives, cheer and clap and the local police, the UEFA officials and the TV cameras ignore the Zeig Heil chants and the Nazi Salutes; smirk and laugh as one-by-one cabinet minister after cabinet minister lies his way out of court; stand and salute and sympathize with the judge trying to get to the bottom of this really sordid scandal, only to be left with the head of the odd PM spin doctor, or Eton old boy to show for it;

Wash that MacDonald’s Olympic burger down with your pint of Heineken. That’ll be well worth fifteen quid of anyone’s money. But not mine. I shall be spending the odd £2.60 on a pint in The Shovel then nip across the road to the chip shop, or maybe the kebab house where I can pick up a large meal for the price of a 330ml bottle of imported Olympic lager. Then I’ll nip home to see if there’s any cricket on to watch. There’s no telly in The Shovel, so it’ll be cans of Guinness on the sofa, in front of the box for me. So keep your over-priced games, your over-hyped jubilee, and your über-alles Championship.
I’ll keep my kebab and a pint. You have your Red-White-and-Blue season. I’ll be happy with my Doner Summer.

 

The 92m Hurdles


David Cameron‘s  austerity measures savings have surely gone too far now ? According to t’BBC this morning, organisers at an Olympic warm-up event clearly decided to cut back on the amount of obstacles an athlete has to negotiate during a race:

Jessica Ennis was denied a personal best in the 100m hurdles at the Great CityGames in Manchester because only nine of the necessary 10 barriers were laid out by the organisers. The Team GB heptathlete clocked 12.75 seconds but her time does not stand.

Ennis said: “I am so annoyed. I still had a good competitive race, but I’ve just not got the result I wanted.”

Dwain Chambers finished second in the 150m, his first race since learning he can compete at London 2012 .
Ennis was delighted with her performance, but said she “can’t believe” the “massive, massive mess-up” with the number of hurdles.” (BBC ont’line)

Now I’m no great fan of Seb Coe (I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned that before) but even the most one-eyed London 2012 supporter would agree with me that upsetting the golden girl of Team GB is possibly not the publicity the sport needs. Especially when all the other preparations are going so well and been received so readily and happily by the public. Apart from the ticketing fiascos. And the announcements of travel disruption. And the £1 surcharge on postage during the games. And the £95 fee for a boat trip. And….  oh you know.

So I’m looking forward to other cost-cutting measures and reduced events. I hear we stand pretty decent chances of gold in the 4×35 yards relay, the 1m Catapult, the Uniathlon (centred around the kiddies boating pond in Greenwich Park) and, of course, the 2 Day event.

And when I say Gold medals, they’ll be last year’s left over Christmas tree decorations.

Shot Put Smuggling


The Incumbent has taken to wearing our London 2012 Olympic T-shirts down the gym each morning. This morning nearly saw a coming together of her and the local Blue Rinse Brigade rep. The elderly lady was distracted elsewhere to avoid incident.

Lots of good comments about my girlfriend’s chest, though. (I hope it was just the design of the shirt the boys were looking at.)

The T-shirts are working ! (Not to mention the chest.)

(How you getting on with Seb Coe‘s  third ballot ticketing arrangement, then?)

Up in Smoke


Since my little episode in the summer – when I hit the deck like the GB’s baton in the 400m relay – I’ve been like the Olympic Flame: never going out. Well, hardly ever. But “hardly ever going out” isn’t the end of one of my favourite jokes, so we’ll make do with never going out. Ok?

The route for the Olympic Torch has been announced this morning and, for better or worse, the good people or Dartford won’t be within either a javelin or a stone’s-throwing range of the runners and the flame. Good thing really cos The Incumbent has been practicing her aim with both. If a procession of tracksuit-clad locals and micro-celebrities were to jog past the Potting Shed, a violent salvo of objects, once destined for eBay, would be launched in their general direction. She may manage to cop someone of the stature of a Floella Benjamin or a Jim Davidson around the earhole with an old ornament, causing considerable damage.  But you can never be too sure of a direct hit, so it’s best the entourage stays well away from the neighbourhood.

Since we failed to secure even a single child’s ticket for the egg-and-spoon race, the London 2012 experience is not one to be enjoyed in our house. Coupled with my failure to get a job with the Olympic organization’s photo-team, mention of The Games is strictly verboten around here. (Although we are only assuming I didn’t get the job, me having not received a single word either way from the interviewers. Rude fvckers.)

Whenever there’s a news item about next year’s event, or Seb Coe’s beaming face appears on tv, the station is immediately switched off or over – even if it means watching another autopsy on Channel 4 (have they not got any other ideas?). The whole shambles/con (delete where applicable) over the ‘legacy’ and the football stadia, and the ‘affordable housing’ and the ticket prices has really left a nasty taste in the mouth, so we won’t be joining in the fun, if you don’t mind (I bet that’s come as a shock to you, hasn’t it?)

So no runners past the Potting Shed. No cheering-on of the torch by the farmhands. The locals at The Berchtesgaden Arms will not have the chance to wave the flag of St George in celebration of the flame’s progress. They’ll have to save their celebratory bender and Sieg Heil session until the Stephen Lawrence accused get off again.

Casting a cursory glance at the route I think I notice the joggers won’t be taking the torch around neither Tottenham nor Croydon. Probably for the best, I suppose. I think they’ve had enough of flames for a while. That bloke in the furniture shop has only just sat down after giving all those emotional news interviews. It’d be nice to give him a rest for a while.

While we’re on fire-related moans and groans: Can’t we now take this opportunity to ban fireworks altogether? It’s too early to know what really caused the horrors on the M5 at the weekend, but can we not make use of the suspicion by outlawing bonfires and fireworks once and for all? If we can prove they are harmful to the environment, I’d gladly reinforce my immaculate green-credentials in an effort to rid us all of the noise, the smoke and the smell.

It used to be that you’d only see and hear these bloody things on, or around November 5th.  In 1605 Guy (Guido) Fawkes and a bunch of his catholic mates tried to blow up Parliament. He got caught and the ‘gunpowder plot’ failed. We’ve been celebrating his capture/mourning his failure (delete where applicable) ever since. All well and good, I suppose. Most countries have a yearly festival or celebration day when the fireworks are rolled out. The French have Bastille Day, the day every year they give thanks for not being invaded by the Germans (again). Then there’s the 4th of July, commemorated by Brits the world over as the day we finally let the yanks out in the world on their own. A bit like sending an annoying spotty teenager off to college and getting the box room back. Years later he returns, now owning IBM and degree in shooting people, but the peace and quiet was nice while it lasted.

I digress.

But now we not only have to start dodging rockets and catherine wheels around 5th November, but we now have to listen to them over Christmas, New Year, Easter, Yom Kippur, Epiphany, Lent, Diwali, the  X-Factor results, Downton Abbey finales, in fact any and every single celebration that someone somewhere feels they need to enjoy. I’m all in favour of a multicultural, multi-faith country where all are welcomed and encouraged to live as diverse and existence as is possible. But why-oh-why-oh-daily-mail do all these festivities have to come with sodding fireworks ? Maurice, the rather nervous dog next door has shellshock – they now feed him on valium and St John’s Wort. There’s a pall of smoke hanging over the lower paddock, making it look like Kabul after the big beardy naughty boys have been about.

They banned smoking on the top deck of a bus and the left hand side of the cinema; they stopped us from riding a motorcycle without a helmet; had an amnesty on handguns; they even banned Tom&Jerry from my tv (presumably to make room for a series on human dissection on Channel 4). Surely there’s a decent case to be made against these rockets and missiles which kill, harm, mutilate and maim so many every year ? I have nothing against blowing up parliament, and happy to raise a glass to the Guido and his mates for having a pop at it. But is blowing up each other, distressing our pets and covering motorways with thick smoke really the way forward ? What if we restrict it to one huge re-enactment every year, underneath parliament, using live ammo. And hope for the best ?

Or the worst. (delete where applicable).