diamond geezer

 Sunday, January 28, 2007

North Greenwich, London: A very happy Sunday morning to you. I'm blogging live from the site of Britain's first Super Casino, on a reclaimed gasworks north of Greenwich. Otherwise known as the Dome, soon to be known as the O2. Nobody was surprised last week when Tessa Jowell announced the government's preferred location for the Super Casino, were they? Just as Shilpa Shetty is a dead cert to be voted in as tonight's Celebrity Big Brother winner, so Greenwich was always going to win the nation's top gambling prize. Blackpool didn't stand a chance, Glasgow's bid was hope-less and Cardiff was on a hiding to nothing. The Dome's been pencilled in for the Super Casino for years, surely, but nobody in power has been willing or able to admit it. At last the long-plotted truth is out into the open. The citizens of Greenwich are not yelping with delight.

The Sunday silence here in Drawdock Road is tangible. There's nobody here celebrating - in fact there's nobody here at all. The construction site behind the blue wall is closed today, so it's just me and the seagulls. Work to transform the interior into an "entertainment hub" will continue tomorrow. And, with the casino plans finally announced, work can finally begin on filling the hollow western quarter of the Dome. This vast chunk of undeveloped indoor space had been "set aside" for the Super Casino, "just in case" it came to Greenwich. But there was never any danger of it staying empty for long, was there? The roulette wheels, crap tables and slots are on their way, ready to fleece the good and gullible punters of the UK. You voted for it, it's your own fault.

By the riverside, where the Greenwich Meridian cuts the edge of the Dome's outer footprint, is a fenced-off triangular piazza. Millennial tourists came here to drink tea and take photos astride the zero degree line. Now the pavilions lie locked and forgotten as buddleia slowly reclaims the view. But not for long. The success of the Super Casino bid means that a whopping great hotel is now destined for this barren site, with shoebox windows overlooking the towers of Canary Wharf across the river. Future guests will be able to waste a fortune on an overnight stay, before wasting an even greater fortune at the card tables nextdoor. If you're ever planning on joining them, good luck to you. I think I'll give it a miss myself. The Dome has consumed enough of my money already.
Posted at 10:52 from 51°30'06"N 0°0'00"W via my Z470xi mobile

Updated 2pm: Excellent! It looks like live-blogging using my new "Gizmobile" is a success. OK, so the photo's a bit small, but the words have published perfectly. I'll try some more "on location" reporting tomorrow...


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