Monday, 16 July 2012

End of the Dream

I am disappointed. I've just received an email from the Olympic site organisers informing me that the entrance near Hackney wick overground station is to close. 

That is a shame as it was very near the press centre and didn't involve running the retail gauntlet at Stratford. There are rather loftily entitled places called the Eastern, Western and Southern Gates. 

But they don't seem to be near any of the much hyped transport hubs. 

I can only assume this is being done for safety reasons and we can't complain about that. 

Were I looking to create a stir I would dub this Gategate. It's a scandal that we're being funnelled into tight spots.

But I really shouldn't complain. I've just seen in the Guardian that The Voice - Britain's biggest selling and oldest newspaper for the Black community - isn't being given accreditation for the Olympic stadium.

The paper is outraged as there are vast numbers of British athletes with Afro Caribbean backgrounds. The paper does have three other reporters allowed to roam the games but many wondrous things will happen inside the stadium and the paper won't be there to witness it at first hand.

Voicegate and Gategate - all within about 20 minutes. And with the continuing rain lashing down on our fair capital, we are on the cusp of a Watergate.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

The Rain

It was the wettest June on record and if the 15 days of July are anything to go by, it will be the soggiest July since records began.

 So what? The tour of the athletes' village was a sun-kissed journey into the sustainable future. There was the bus which got lost on the way to the village from the media centre. 

There were the hurried interviews with the athletes' village mayor Charles Allen and there were the perfectly hidden toilets.

But most of all there was the green. Massive open spaces and a swathe of trees. When the athletes have departed, the area will be renamed East Village and be home to all kinds of incomes. 

That's enough to regenerate the cockles of my heart.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

The Football Dad

My life as a football dad started on Monday July 9. It began in absentia.

I was in London while registration for football lessons for the boy was in Paris.

It meant that the missus had to stand in line for 47 hours for the lad to get on the course. I felt this was an abandonment of my paternal role.

It will be the missus who has to take him to the course as I will still be shuffling around the park on Saturday mornings when it all begins.

Strange really. At least there won't be any chance of living out my dreams through him for the moment. I couldn't become part of the Olympic Family in absentia. I went to the Olympic Park this morning to get my accreditation put into a lovely plastic holder.

I also put my name down for a trip round the athletes' village on Thursday. I will find out later if I have been accepted. The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, will be there on Thursday. That should be interesting.

The park looks wonderful. They're still putting the finishing touches to it. And for the most part the helpers look helpful.

Going to the park from Stratford is a set a set-up. You have to run the gauntlet of shops and the urge to succumb to expenditure is immense. I faltered by the Cafe Nero. A macchiato and croissant were enough to gird my loins for the trip inside the fence or into the heart of the family - the international broadcast centre.

Once there I was sent off to the accreditation office and it was so painless. But then I've been used to accreditation centres at the Africa Cup of Nations. So anything other than that is going to appear scintillating in its efficiency.

There is another bonus to the Olympic dream. I am allowed to travel in the six zones of London for free until August 15. Quite what happens if you want to go to Hampden Park in Glasgow to see the football is a mystery.

If you have to pay, that will be a deep hole into any company's pockets. A snap train journey in Britain isn't cheap.

Might perhaps send you into a depression. Still I know one place where you can shop your way out of the anxiety.