Sunday, July 29, 2012

A little ode to London and the Olympics

I’ve been so very busy lately. I’ve been meaning to write about how much I love London – how great it was to be at the Radio 1 Hackney Festival, how fun it’s been accidentally stumbling on the Olympic torch relay and Men’s Road Race without planning to do so, and, most of all, how awesome it is that I’m still living in the greatest city on the planet.

Seven years ago, when London won the 2012 Olympic bid, I remember thinking that I’d love to move back here in time to watch the Olympics. Just over two years from that date, I managed to make the move.
Since then, I’d almost completely forgotten that I once thought that. I hadn’t been able to get tickets to the events I wanted to see. In truth, I didn’t even apply as the cost of tickets to those events were prohibitive. And I started to dread just how much the Olympics would cost my beloved city. I don’t think there’s any host city out there that can say that the benefits of the Games far outweighed the costs.

And in the current double-dip recession, it’s definitely not a cost that London – or any European city – can afford right now.

Still, on Friday, the day of the opening ceremony, I found myself remembering the thrill and wonder that I’ve experienced at almost all the Olympics Games I’ve watched in my life. (All except the Beijing 2008 Olympics as, during that time, I was working pretty late hours.) And, after all the build-up and excitement of #savethesurprise, and recalling that stray thought that crept into my mind on July 6, 2005, I began to get excited all over again.

So I watched with wonder as Danny Boyle pulled off a remarkable spectacular. The Industrial Revolution leading to the forging of the rings. The NHS. Lord Voldermort. James Bond. The Queen! The ACTUAL Queen! Chariots of Fire. Mr. Bean! The great British music industry. That wonderful moment when we all found out that the older, established sporting legends had transferred their privilege to the younger generation. The amazingly majestic Olympic torch.

I loved it. I cried a little too. It made me proud to be a Londoner.

The Games have been ongoing for two days now. Tomorrow’s the first working day of the first Olympics to be held in such a densely populated city. Let’s hope it all goes well.

And, you know what? Even if there’s snafus, I know us Londoners will do what we do best. Grumble a little and just get on with it. ‘Cos that’s what we do best.

I love you, London. It may not be apparent in this hastily-written post, but I really do love you.

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