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Photo-a-day 263: Olympic Park

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So I’m more than fashionably late to this particular party…!

I didn’t really appreciated the scale of the Olympic Park until I saw it “in the flesh”… maybe that just means I need a bigger TV. I was slightly amused as a fairly elderly couple told me they were standing and waiting to see the Orbit move: it seems a policeman had told them that it had been lifted while onto the back of a huge lorry yesterday, and that the lorry was setting off for Glasgow later this afternoon. I wonder how long they waited?

This 1,815th post was filed under: Photo-a-day 2012, , .

Photo-a-day 218: St James’ Park

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As I’ve failed to take a photo for today, here’s one from yesterday of someone taking a picture of St James’ Park. Note the white sheet below the football symbol on the right of the picture, which is covering one of the many “Sports Direct Arena” signs.

If you’re confused by the spelling of St James’ Park, you aren’t the only one – as I’ve discussed before!

This 1,753rd post was filed under: Photo-a-day 2012, , .

Photo-a-day 217: Olympic football

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Wendy and I, plus 42,000 of our closest friends, went today to support Brazil and Honduras in the Olympic men’s football quarter final at St James Park. It was only the third professional football match I’ve ever been to, and Wendy’s first. It was also the first time either of us had been to St James Park for sporting reasons, though we’ve both visited for work reasons in the past!

We were both slightly surprised (perhaps because we’re a little naive) at the level of security – everyone was patted down on entering, and police were peering down from the roofs of surrounding buildings at the crowd around the ground. We also balked slightly at the cost of drinks inside, especially since we couldn’t take liquids in.

But, all-in-all, we had a great time, and it’s brilliant to feel a little bit involved in London 2012!

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Photo-a-day 209: Woods and Olympics

These are the woods in the Tyne Riverside Country Park, as seen during a very sunny walk earlier today.

But, since, everyone’s very excited about the Olympics today, I also thought I should feature something vaguely Olympic related. So here’s my photograph of the Olympic motto from Eau Claire in Calgary, as seen in 2007 during my elective:

This 1,742nd post was filed under: Photo-a-day 2012, .

Photo-a-day 165: Olympic rings on the Tyne Bridge

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As Olympic preparations continue apace, the country’s biggest metal Olympic rings have been clamped to the Tyne Bridge to celebrate Newcastle’s status as one of the host cities. They look really quite smart. They are the correct colours, of course, though the contrast with the bright sky in this photo makes that hard to see.

At first glance, from a distance, they didn’t look much different in size to the ones at St Pancras. But closer up, it’s clear that they really are quite huge: 25m wide, in fact, 50% bigger than the ones on The Mound in Edinburgh!

This 1,685th post was filed under: Photo-a-day 2012, , , , , , .

Photo-a-day 135: Tees Barrage International White Water Centre

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You’ll have seen last week that I featured the Tees Barrage, and mentioned how it supported a white water course. Well, this is that very course.

It wasn’t running today, so the water wasn’t especially white, and the whole course looked a little tame. Still, I’ve included a closer photo below.

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This shot is interesting for showing some of the mechanics. Those things that look a bit like milk crates in the water (you can also see them in the first picture) are actually called “rapidblocks”. These can be repositioned to change the water current to create different flows and create different levels of challenge and difficulty. That’s how this course can be adapted to be suitable for both beginners and Olympians.

In fact, the blocks are the same as those that will be used at Lee Valley for London 2012, which is why the Tees Barrage International White Water Centre is being used as an Olympic training location for teams from across the world.

This 1,645th post was filed under: Photo-a-day 2012, , , .

Overt government racism over London Olympics

ElephantCast your mind back, if you will, to 1999.

Almost a decade ago, the shiny new(ish) Labour Government decided it was important to celebrate the Millennium, and that an appropriate way to do this would be to build a nice big white tent in Greenwich.

And oh, it was a lovely white tent. So strong, it’s still there to this day. So monumental, it has its own tube station. So loved by the nation, it’s in the Eastenders title sequence.

Yet they had a problem: What to put inside the tent. Ideas were flowing, for everything from a Festival of Britain for the modern age, to a theme park. So many choices, so many options, so many decisions.

So, in the end, they went with an elephant: A big white elephant, to be precise.

Tony Blair thought the elephant and it’s dome would be “a beacon to the world”. I was more cynical: I’d not been a fan of elephants for some years, since an unfortunate collision between an elephant’s trunk and a particularly sensitive part of my anatomy.

For once, it seemed the public agreed with me, leaving the elephant unvisited and the government red-faced.

This left Tony’s team scrambling to regain any sense that they were “in touch” with the people. So, in a masterpiece of spin, they simply denied that the dome contained a white elephant. They told us it contained all sorts of fun treats, that the public would really, really like to see.

When that didn’t seem to be working, they brought in a frog to feature alongside the elephant, a strategy that brought in about six-and-a-half million visitors, yet still continued to deny the primarily elephantine contents of the dome.

“It’s great!”, they told us. “Come visit the dome and see the special treats within! It’s fun for all the family! It’s not a white elephant, it’s a rip-roaring smorgasbord of good natured wholesome British fun!”

Even once the dome closed, they still protested that the contents had been “really good”, and certainly in no-way elephant related.

That is, it seems, until last week.

In an extraordinary interview with LBC, Tessa Jowell not only admitted the existence of the white elephant, but – unbelievably – insisted that white elephants were to be banned from the Olympics, since the white elephant in the dome had been such an embarrassment for all.

Is it really fair to blame this failure of Government competence on the white elephant itself? What happened to ministerial responsibility? I’m quite sure the elephant did its best to entertain people, but was placed in a rather impossible position by this Labour Government.

And, more pertinently, why are all white elephants being tarred with the same brush and being banned from the Olympics?

I very much doubt this would happen with Indian or African elephants – no, that would be racist – but it’s perfectly fine to discriminate against the hard-working, white, middle-class elephant families of these British Isles, whilst allowing any foreign elephants to just wander into the Olympics as they see fit.

It’s absolutely sickening that the respectable white elephants of this country should be treated this way by an incompetent government. When the government starts prioritising the Olympic dreams of other country’s elephants above our own, surely the whole country is going to hell in a handcart.

It’s disgusting.

ยป Image Credit: Original image by Aaron Logan, modified and published under licence

This 1,347th post was filed under: News and Comment, Politics, , , , , , .

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