diamond geezer

 Wednesday, June 18, 2008

London 2012  Olympic update
  1500 days to go

And the countdown continues. There are now only 1500 days until the London Olympics (down from 2578 when the decision was announced). It's strange, I'm sure the London 2012 website said there were 1500 days to go yesterday, but no, they're definitely correct today. So there's just four more years to get everything up and running.

Olympic foundationsThe running can come later, but there's definitely been a start on the up. Two giant cranes have been plonked down in the middle of what will one day be the Olympic Stadium, ready to lug blocks and lumps and tubes and stuff into position. There must be a great view from up top, looking down at an oval of flattened earth now surrounded by blue portakabins surrounded by security fencing surrounded a few newly-buried concrete tubes surrounded by a pair of rivers. It'll look better in 214 weeks. In the meantime here's how it looks now, in the latest of my monthly photos taken from the Greenway bridge. I think I may need to increase the amount of sky in each photo as the construction continues, otherwise you're going to miss out on the cranetops and ultimately the stadium itself.

Point of ViewThe undergrowth alongside the Greenway is suddenly a riot of summer colour. The warm wet summer has brought forth a delightful mass of yellow and pink and blue and purple and white flowers. It's bumblebee heaven and, if you step off the sewer-top path into the long grass, awash with hovering dragonflies too. 12 months ago much of the rest of the Olympic Park looked like this, but no longer. This single strip of unplanned plantlife has had the good fortune not to be bulldozed to oblivion, while the rest of the site is now mostly plain earth. Nestling on the verge is a new art installation - a narrow blue plywood staircase entitled "Point of View". The idea is that you climb to the top and peer over the fence into the building site beyond. I got two steps up before the entire staircase starting rocking and wobbling uncontrollably, so I chickened out and retreated to ground level. Given the usual strict adherence to rampant safety protocols in all things 2012, I was surprised that someone had seen fit to leave this death trap unattended. The five year old and 65 year old who bounded right up to the top behind me probably disagreed.
createMeanwhile, further up the Lea at Hackney Wick, a new series of brightly-coloured hoardings have been installed. Let's not call them a fence to keep out unwanted visitors, let's call them a vibrant creative canvas enabling the display of youthful community artwork. It's actually rather a good idea, giving local children from both mainstream and special schools the opportunity to stamp their mark on one corner of the Olympic site. Some have painted pictures, some have made shapes with their bodies (see photo), and others have ridden their wheelchairs across a splaterred canvas. It's just a shame, tucked far off the public highway, that only a few people will ever see them up close.leabanksquare.blogspot.com Mostly the residents of Leabank Square, across the river, who recently launched an incredibly cheery community blog detailing life on the Olympic perimeter. They're busy caring for their own environment, trying to make it a safe and welcoming place for local youngsters to grow up. And they're none too pleased at having to stare at McDonalds and Coca Cola logos every day for the next four years, where previously there was a nice green riverbank. Shame the children couldn't paint over those too.

Ooh, have you seen the latest version of the 2012 Olympic logo? Same slightly dodgy shape, but now with a Union flag swishing away in the background rather than those garish shades of fluorescent pink, lime and orange. It's almost tasteful, isn't it? If only officials had launched this version of the logo last year, I wonder how much smaller the ensuing national outcry might have been.

I hope you've all applied for free tickets to the amazing Olympic Handover concert in the Mall this August. You don't actually need to know the names of the artists who'll be playing, do you? Surely the fact that it's being simulcast on BBC1 and Radio 2 tells you everything you need to know. Katie Melua I bet, and that Leona woman, and lots of other cutting edge indie artists. Who wouldn't want to be squashed into the crowd for an unforgettable day at the Visa London 2012 Party. I wonder, however, whether it's appropriate that the whole event is being sponsored by a credit card. I mean, surely nobody would want to associate the 2012 Games with the brand values of debt and spending money you don't have? Oops.

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