diamond geezer

 Saturday, June 25, 2016

If you want your launch event completely overshadowed, schedule it for the day of a referendum. Or maybe that's the very best day of all, the eye of the political hurricane when all the euro-hoohah pauses, allowing other news stories to break through. Here are two big debuts, a hundred metres apart, in the Olympic Park.

Firstly, The Slide.



The Orbit has been very much a white elephant since it was added late to the Olympic Park skyline, and has struggled to attract visitors in large numbers. It's been hard to convince people to pay good money to see views of Stratford, even with the Olympic Stadium nextdoor, and even cutting the admission price/creating an annual pass/adding a bit of abseiling hasn't helped. The sticking plaster is a dramatic one - the world's longest tunnel slide - and might finally be enough to entice the public inside. It's been designed by Carsten Höller, who specialises in this kind of thing, and promises riders a 40 second descent at up to 15 miles per hour. How could an adrenalin junkie possibly resist?

The slide opened to the public on Friday, but they sent a load of journalists down it on Thursday, because no media outlet ever turns down the opportunity to whizz down a giant corkscrew for free. Back in 2012 they'd have written about their experience in excitable terms, but this is 2016 so instead they strapped video cameras to their bodies and let the journey do the talking. Some pointed it down, so you could experience the twisty rush into darkness with spluttered commentary, and others pointed it up, so you could watch the look on their faces as they sped, dropped, turned and shrieked.



The shrieks are quite audible from outside, even from standing outside the compound on the grass. It is just possible that the media sent their shriekiest journos on this assignment, but rest assured that this is no fairground helter skelter. They make you wear an unfetching helmet and padded sleeves before you set off, and there are some particularly steep bits on the corkscrew down. You also have to be at least 1.3m in height, and at least eight years old, and no more than 22 stone in weight, otherwise presumably there's a risk of doing an Augustus Gloop part way down. But be warned it's a lousy spectator sport, bar the occasional whizzy glimpse through one of the few windows in the curly tube.

All this positive publicity and the promise of excitement seems to have worked. The next week is fully booked, and all the weekend slots are taken for a month, which at the Orbit is unheard of. There are still loads of £10 tickets to simply go up to the top and look at the view, if anyone's still interested, but the £5 slide top-ups have rather less availability. How fitting that on the day the ex-Mayor's political destiny was sealed, one of his larger misjudgements finally got the sticking plaster that saves its life.

ORBIT PRICES * Adult  Child  Senior 
Walk-up£12 £6 £10 
Online£10 £5 £7 
Local†£8 £3 £5 
* The Slide costs £5 extra, per slide
† Resident of Olympic host borough, bring double ID
‡ Annual Pass prices are not advertised


Secondly, the West Ham Store.



West Ham are moving from Upton Park to the Olympic Stadium, and the first bit of their new empire to open is the shop. It's three times larger than the one they used to have, and is located in a new concrete building wrapped round the southern perimeter of the main concourse. At the moment it's fenced off from everything else on the island, and is accessible across a single footbridge, But it opened for the first time on Thursday morning, the ribbon cut by team captain Mark Noble, and the team's supporters came streaming across from Stratford to take a look.

It's a football shop, so obviously it's stuffed with football shirts of various types and sizes. New season strips, souvenir editions, and miniature editions for offspring so small they don't yet realise they're a fan. There are also key rings and wallets, and teddies and mugs, and big hammers, and loads of other items of claret and blue merchandise previously unavailable elsewhere. Vice-chair Karren Brady and her team have gone to a lot of effort to ensure that these things fly out of the door even on matchday, with 31 tills lined up at the far end. You can watch Karren extolling the shop and other hospitality facilities at the new stadium in an exuberant video here.



Downstairs is a large personalisation area, with a dozen shirt-printing machines, should you want to walk around with the name of a hero (or your own) on your back. There's also a cafe, which it's hoped will be a draw seven days a week, looking out over the training pitch alongside. It's been branded West Ham United Coffee Co, but also serves tea, as well as muffins, pre-packaged rolls and a tiny range of beers and wine. A latte's £2.35 and a turkey and ham sarnie £4, should you agree this is somewhere "you can meet and mingle". At least there'll be something for you to watch on the walls, as huge screens play out favourite moments from past games - and this got a big thumbs up from one fan I encountered.

A nice touch is that the famous John Lyall Gates from the Boleyn Ground have been relocated, and now sit at the top of the stairs. But they do look wildly out of place, a dash of Hammers history in a place that as yet has none of its own. This could have been any Westfield store, except it's a ten minute walk away, at the heart of the 2012 bubble that West Ham must now make their own. As yet, the atmosphere is somewhat lacking.

Also in the Olympic Park this week...
» On the big lawn beneath the Orbit, an oil company is setting up big white marquees so it can hold a massive four day festival. Make The Future London runs from 30th June to 3rd July, and your pre-registered free ticket gets you inside a worthy scientific gala focusing on "tomorrow's energy challenges", or rather a wall-to-wall marketing shindig for Shell. Steamrollers were busy yesterday afternoon laying down fresh smooth tarmac ready for the anticipated cavalcade of eco-wheels.
» The Greenwich and Docklands International Festival reaches the Olympic Park this weekend, specifically the concrete expanse of Mandeville Place about halfway up. The People Build takes place today and tomorrow, with spectators helping French artist Olivier Grossetête and crew raise new buildings, and at the end of the event tear them down. A full artistic programme continues around East London until next weekend.


<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>


click to return to the main page


...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16  Nov16  Dec16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
life viewed from london e3

email    twitter    G+

my flickr photostream

What's on this weekend?
Sun 4 December (8am-10pm)
Tower Bridge fully closed
For one day only, cross the river by free passenger ferry!

twenty blogs
853
arseblog
ian visits
londonist
scaryduck
blue witch
city metric
the great wen
onionbagblog
edith's streets
spitalfields life
linkmachinego
in the aquarium
round the island
wanstead meteo
london museums
christopher fowler
ruth's coastal walk
london reconnections
dirty modern scoundrel

quick reference features
Things to do in Outer London
The DG Tour of Britain
Comment Value Hierarchy

read the archive
Dec16  Nov16  Oct16  Sep16
Aug16  Jul16  Jun16  May16
Apr16  Mar16  Feb16  Jan16
Dec15  Nov15  Oct15  Sep15
Aug15  Jul15  Jun15  May15
Apr15  Mar15  Feb15  Jan15
Dec14  Nov14  Oct14  Sep14
Aug14  Jul14  Jun14  May14
Apr14  Mar14  Feb14  Jan14
Dec13  Nov13  Oct13  Sep13
Aug13  Jul13  Jun13  May13
Apr13  Mar13  Feb13  Jan13
Dec12  Nov12  Oct12  Sep12
Aug12  Jul12  Jun12  May12
Apr12  Mar12  Feb12  Jan12
Dec11  Nov11  Oct11  Sep11
Aug11  Jul11  Jun11  May11
Apr11  Mar11  Feb11  Jan11
Dec10  Nov10  Oct10  Sep10
Aug10  Jul10  Jun10  May10
Apr10  Mar10  Feb10  Jan10
Dec09  Nov09  Oct09  Sep09
Aug09  Jul09  Jun09  May09
Apr09  Mar09  Feb09  Jan09
Dec08  Nov08  Oct08  Sep08
Aug08  Jul08  Jun08  May08
Apr08  Mar08  Feb08  Jan08
Dec07  Nov07  Oct07  Sep07
Aug07  Jul07  Jun07  May07
Apr07  Mar07  Feb07  Jan07
Dec06  Nov06  Oct06  Sep06
Aug06  Jul06  Jun06  May06
Apr06  Mar06  Feb06  Jan06
Dec05  Nov05  Oct05  Sep05
Aug05  Jul05  Jun05  May05
Apr05  Mar05  Feb05  Jan05
Dec04  Nov04  Oct04  Sep04
Aug04  Jul04  Jun04  May04
Apr04  Mar04  Feb04  Jan04
Dec03  Nov03  Oct03  Sep03
Aug03  Jul03  Jun03  May03
Apr03  Mar03  Feb03  Jan03
Dec02  Nov02  Oct02  Sep02
back to main page

diamond geezer 2015 index
diamond geezer 2014 index
diamond geezer 2013 index
diamond geezer 2012 index
diamond geezer 2011 index
diamond geezer 2010 index
diamond geezer 2009 index
diamond geezer 2008 index
diamond geezer 2007 index
diamond geezer 2006 index
diamond geezer 2005 index
diamond geezer 2004 index
diamond geezer 2003 index
diamond geezer 2002 index

my special London features
a-z of london museums
E3 - local history month
greenwich meridian (N)
greenwich meridian (S)
the real eastenders
london's lost rivers
olympic park 2007
great british roads
oranges & lemons
random boroughs
bow road station
high street 2012
river westbourne
trafalgar square
capital numbers
east london line
lea valley walk
olympics 2005
regent's canal
square routes
silver jubilee
unlost rivers
cube routes
metro-land
capital ring
river fleet
piccadilly
bakerloo

ten of my favourite posts
the seven ages of blog
my new Z470xi mobile
five equations of blog
the dome of doom
chemical attraction
quality & risk
london 2102
single life
boredom
april fool

ten sets of lovely photos
my "most interesting" photos
london 2012 olympic zone
harris and the hebrides
betjeman's metro-land
marking the meridian
tracing the river fleet
london's lost rivers
inside the gherkin
seven sisters
iceland

just surfed in?
here's where to find...
diamond geezers
flash mob #1  #2  #3  #4
ben schott's miscellany
london underground
watch with mother
cigarette warnings
digital time delay
wheelie suitcases
war of the worlds
transit of venus
top of the pops
old buckenham
ladybird books
acorn antiques
digital watches
outer hebrides
olympics 2012
school dinners
pet shop boys
west wycombe
bletchley park
george orwell
big breakfast
clapton pond
san francisco
thunderbirds
routemaster
children's tv
east enders
trunk roads
amsterdam
little britain
credit cards
jury service
big brother
jubilee line
number 1s
titan arum
typewriters
doctor who
coronation
comments
blue peter
matchgirls
hurricanes
buzzwords
brookside
monopoly
peter pan
starbucks
feng shui
leap year
manbags
penelope
bbc three
vision on
piccadilly
meridian
concorde
wembley
islington
ID cards
bedtime
freeview
beckton
blogads
eclipses
letraset
arsenal
sitcoms
gherkin
calories
everest
muffins
sudoku
camilla
london
ceefax
robbie
becks
dome
BBC2
paris
lotto
118
itv