We really wanted to see the Olympic Stadium in Stratford, East London, and here it is! As close as we are able to get to it anyway. The Olympic Village is not quite ready, and the public cannot access it, but you can get a great view from the new, massive shiny Westfield mall, opened as part of the Olympic regeneration project, and pretty much the only way into the Village from the station. Stratford is completely unrecognizable to me now. I used to come over here occasionally when I was at university in nearby Mile End to visit friends, and the idea of the Olympics, the actual Olympics, coming to Stratford back in those days was a laughable idea. Well it has happened! But of course they have had to remove a lot of Stratford to make it happen. From what I saw, I was impressed. Even the train from Camden Road, now part of the modernized ‘London Overground’ system, was a much improved pleasure. I got this quick sketch in from the viewing area inside the Olympics giftstore on the top floor of John Lewis; that tall red metal thing is a bit odd, its as if Wembley Stadium has had an argument with Magneto or something. It’s an imressive site, the Olympc village, though the stadium is not quite the eye-catcher that the Bird’s Nest was, and as for those other big expensive-looking modern buildings, I cannot recall what the signs said they were to be used for, clay-pigeon shooting or roller-skating or something. Still it’s exciting isn’t it! All the Londoners I spoke to seemed less than excited, sick of it already, too much money, blah blah blah. I can understand. The Olympics is a couple of weeks of sports you would never watch otherwise but it is such an honour you need to flatten decades old businesses to make it happen. I don’t like the corporate sponsor nonsense, how in the Olympics area you can’t use your Mastercard because Visa is the sponsor, I hate all that nonsense, making it more difficult for people. It will I believe ultimately be good for London – the city had its best face on, and I was impressed at the overall vibrancy in the city, being the Olympic and Jubilee year. I am happy for East London too. I for one was hugely proud of my city when it was selected (July 6, 2005), and then of course we had to deal with the terrible events on the day after. It may be a bit crazy when it’s on – security will be unbelievable, media rabble-rousing even more so, but despite the price-hikes it will be a great time to be in London, to show it off to the world.
I’ll be in Davis, watching it on the telly.