Thursday, July 26, 2012

London Moaning: Olympic Shambles

Confession: I am thrilled to not be in London for the Olympics.  I know that it's an honor for London to be hosting and I do hope that it all turns out to be amazingly successful for the city, but Olympic plans and preparations have been screwing with the natives for months.

The New York Times had an amazing article a few days ago titled Olympics Leave British Complaining Even More Than Usual.  My favorite quotes are from a man named Dan Hancox, who I am going to find and befriend as soon as I get back to London:

“We’re looking at something above and beyond the solace and comfort that the British seek in gentle moaning,” said Dan Hancox, 31, a freelance writer. “The Olympics is actively antagonizing people.”  On Twitter, Mr. Hancox said that for Londoners, “it’s as if someone else is throwing a party in our house, with a huge entry fee, and we’re all locked in the basement.”

Now that the Olympics are upon us, fresh screw-ups are being discovered every day.  (See the Mail Online for classic ambulance-chaser examples.)  The wonderful people at BBC Four have even created a TV show about the mess that is the Olympics - and especially the planning and preparation therefof - called Twenty Twelve.  It's a mocumentary, which basically means I can't watch it because I'm afraid that my face will stick in a permanent cringe if I sit through an entire episode.  (Jon is addicted to it, though, and I have laughed hard - albeit awkwardly - at the bits I've seen.)

I really do hope it all goes well on every level, but I'm happy to watch from the comfort of my couch (and not because I can't leave my house which, according to the six emails I have received from TfL in the last 25 days, would be more or less impossible if I were to try to use public transportation).  How about you, readers in London?  What do you think of the Olympic invasion - and how are you going to cope?


  1. I have to say that I'm glad I'm not in London for this,either. In fact, we're not even in England for the next week and a half- we're in what I like to call "Britain's Florida", or Spain and Portugal :)
    But I will say, as a native Atlantan who lived everyday life amidst the '96 Games, London's insane disorganization is suuuuuuuuuure making Atlanta's hosting look good! (We forward-thinking Georgians have enough to cringe about publicly; I'll take any good notes I can!)

  2. I have to agree with Gesci! Even though I lived in SC during the '96 Olympics in ATL, we were only 3 hours away and it seems like they had things much more organized there! (Then again, I was 7 or 8 and probably didn't know better!) haha

  3. I've loved watching 2012, it has been hilarious. And so right on target too. Having spent many years working in a large corporation I am only too familar with all the PR rubbish. I really wish I could have got tickets to the events I wanted to see and then I would be in London, or thereabouts anyway. However, that was impossible and so, I too am glad not to be there. We are staying away until it is all over! It is quite peaceful in the countryside now, all the tourists are in London!

  4. i'm not in london, but i'm thrilled beyond thrilled to watch the olympics from the comfort of my own home! :)

    - lauren

  5. I live in London and it's been fine so far! Obviously, organising a major event like this in one of the world's biggest cities is going to come with it's own challenges so I probably would avoid comparing different Olympics experiences as they all come with their own ups and downs. I watched the torch relay head down Oxford street yesterday with thousands of other proud Brits, which was really wonderful and made the excitement so much more real. Hopefully us Londoners can stop the moaning and embrace it - it's only two and a half weeks after all and half of the city has gone on holiday anyways! :)

    1. you know, the Twitterverse is actually saying that things are okay today! I may have to eat my words :)


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