Did you miss out on Olympic tickets? And Paralympic tickets? And tickets for those cycling and diving test events that sold out last week in a few minutes? Well, never fear, because London Live is here.
That's right. If you're in London for the Olympics next summer but don't have a ticket to the proper Olympic Park, you can join in the fun in another London park instead. No need to feel like you're missing out at all, you'll be right in the thick of things.
Expect several giant screens on which to watch the Games, especially for people who aren't at home so can't watch exactly the same events on smaller screens there. I'm sure visitors to town will make a special effort to visit these two parks to enjoy the sporting megavideos and all the available facilities. But that may not be the case for the Paralympics, which is no doubt why London Live then relocates to Trafalgar Square - a much smaller venue with a greater potential audience in the local vicinity.
That sounds pretty good. Victoria Park will be the more sporty of the two Olympic sites, with particpatory games and coaching experiences, plus a "double zipline offering a unique perspective of London Live, as riders zip down the two high-tension steel lines, high above Victoria Park’s trees". A whizz down the zipline will cost you money, as will a ride on the 40 metre high observation wheel that will "highlight Victoria Park’s proximity to the Olympic Park, offering stunning views of both the Olympic stadium and the city’s skyscrapers." And Hackney Wick too, as an added bonus.
Just a javelin's throw, really? If Lutfur can find anybody local who's capable of hurling a sharp pointy object more than 500 metres, I do hope he'll urge them to win gold for Tower Hamlets in the Games. Meanwhile, over in Hyde Park, expect more of an entertainment vibe. There'll be live music throughout the day (could be Coldplay, could be a lady from Peckham with a banjo). There'll be performers from the London Outdoor Arts Festival (could be tightrope-walking fire-jugglers, could be a lady from Peckham with a banjo). There'll be hands-on sport, and kiosks selling falafel and burgers, and also a rather more commercial side...
So we can expect exhibits of BMW cars, and a walk-through display of Panasonic televisions, and some freebie giveaways from Procter & Gamble, and probably a Thomas Cook pavilion too if they're still trading. And it's all free, remember, all of it, apart from the bits that aren't free.
The two big celebration concerts sound potentially excellent, and I'm sure people will happily stump up hard cash for those. Entrance will otherwise cost you nothing, but only if you can get in. Special "early entry tickets" will guarantee entry to the sites at Hyde Park and Victoria Park before 2pm, which presumably means anyone without a ticket won't be allowed access until after 2pm. And that's only if there's space, which I suspect there won't be. Capacity in Hyde Park is set at 50000, and in Victoria Park at 30000, and we've already seen how fast any kind of Olympic ticket gets snapped up. Especially when they're free tickets...
OK, the tickets may be free but they come with a mandatory booking fee of £3.50, no doubt because posting a strip of cardboard is so very expensive. With 80000 tickets available each day for 17 days, bookable in groups of no more than four, I make that a minimum turnover of £1,190,000. Nice little money earner, these free tickets. And then there's the perils of registration.
The organisers seem very keen to get you to sign up now, even though no tickets will be available until February. They claim it's so you can "get the most out of your London Live experience", but really it's so they can fire marketing spam at you for a few extra months. If you're really interested, bookmark the site today and wait. But don't be surprised if, come the summer of 2012, this is yet another must-visit Olympic event that you can't get into.