Saturday, August 11, 2012
To accumulate you've got to speculate.
But these Olympic hopefuls haven't accumulated like they'd hoped...
• Leyton Food Market: They thought there'd be 800 people a minute passing by. They were wrong. The row of food stalls along Marshall Road in Leyton has seen barely any footfall at all, with some outlets failing to sell a single meal. By Thursday all but one stall was closed, and that was only selling cans, while the neighbours piled their cooker and fridge into the back of a van and drove away. But this was always a lunatic location, along the access road to the Leyton Mills Retail Park, entirely reliant on Olympic Park visitors who were never advised to walk from Leyton station anyway. Total investment disaster.
• Africa Village: 80000 visitors turned up, but alas, the cultural tents beside the Albert Memorial have had to close due to a six-figure debt.
• Peninsula Festival: It was supposed to host three weeks of fun events, with a funfair and a beach, but started splutteringly and barely made a dent on North Greenwich consciousness. Gates should be unlocked for a free festival this Saturday, and a Jamaican celebration on Sunday, but there's little to show here for the council's £50K investment.
• Water Chariots: The official waterbus of London 2012 hasn't had a good Games. When Water Chariots launched last summer they planned to charge £40 for a return trip. When they relaunched in May that had risen to £95. Shortly before the Games they added a £45 non-VIP option. And on Wednesday they finally admitted defeat and cut their prices to £20. Too late. Nobody wants to travel to the Olympic Park by water bus because the predicted travel chaos hasn't materialised and they all have a free travelcard anyway. At Tottenham Hale three members of WC staff sit around enjoying the sunshine, if not the passengers. At Limehouse the champagne bar has vanished to be replaced by a coffee cart, and two-thirds of the fleet lies tied up by the jetty going nowhere. There's not even any indication of the newly reduced price, only a single mention of the £95 tariff and instructions to book online. I walked a mile and a half along the Limehouse Cut and saw only one barge go by, with only six passengers aboard, while several moorhens enjoyed the silence. A greedy business has vastly over-estimated its appeal, and I'm pleased they've been caught out.
• London Pleasure Gardens: It sounded like a marvellous plan, to open up an urban wasteland in the Royal Docks for a summer of partying. Alas no, The opening weekend had to be postponed, then was a fiasco. The Bloc Music Festival had to close early on its opening night for health and safety reasons. The site ended up as an unwanted shanty town of stalls on the Olympic exit from ExCel, with access to the rest of the public restricted, and died a death through mass indifference. The company went into administration last week, and one can only hope that the incompetent organisers never attempt to open another business.