TWBrit : The Olympic Games

It was almost 10 years ago when I was working on a project in Stratford, East London. Our office was on Burford Road and on the floor below was a little office with a handful of people in it who forever seemed to be working away like mad. In fact some days while having a crafty smoke outside I would see the odd person go into the office that were reasonably well-known in the UK. That little office was the centre of activity and the base of the London bid for the Olympic Games.

A place where the cool-aid was bottled and stacked to the ceiling and surrounded by a great many sceptics. However, I had a little experience with larger scale sporting events as I was the marathon controller for the 1991 World Student Games in Sheffield with 111 countries and every single competitor a member of their national Olympic teams for the 1992 Spanish games. In some respects due to the sheer number of countries participating; the 1991 World Student Games was far bigger than the Olympics the following year.

BUT… at the incredible opening ceremony the ministers of sport from 110 countries turned up – and the British one? Nope… because the host nation’s government didn’t think was a big deal. As such, British Gas wouldn’t even sponsor the flame, so after the opening ceremony – they actually switched it off!
However, it rejuvenated the east end of Sheffield, commerce and the later use of the Arena and Stadium as concert venues make the city a “must” stop for any touring production or band worth their salt…
I knew that games cost a fortune and rarely see a financial return; at that time a given, as while I stood there having my smoke, I also remembered what a massive effect it had on Sheffield and its people. But knowing what I witnessed before – I did have to wonder if, as a nation, we were up to the task.

Later I saw the model of the Olympic village they had made as the proposal – that’s when I realised they were serious and had a chance.

Obviously the rest is history, but it is a history marred with pain; the day after the UK won the bid, London was ripped apart by multiple bombings on the Underground system. This was of course the July 7th 2005, 56 people lay dead and a great many more injured. Now, if you listen to scare mongering by the press, there wouldn’t have ever been an Olympics – but while we have fought terror for a great many years (since 5th November 1605 in fact), we know that living so freely often comes at a price – one that we can handle and not beat up the rest of the world over – unless of course you remember the Empire. ;-)

The biggest waste of money hasn’t been the games… it has been the London Underground Connect Project. This was a complete and total upgrade of every part of the Underground system and as I have worked on the project twice – never have I witnessed such a complete waste of money on planning and paperwork in my life… In fact tens of millions spent before anyone attempted to install a single thing. Anyone use an air conditioned train lately? Not on the underground you haven’t! But contrary to popular belief police radios do work underground and the entire system is Cell/Mobile ready – they just need to switch it on…
Irrespective of cost, the Olympic city appeared on time and what an awesome venue… Due to the transportation of so many people I, like so many avoided London – as it turned out, so did millions of others. This led to a great part of London’s tourist trade being almost demolished throughout the games sadly and even £500 a night hotel rooms were being offered for under £100 instead.

But the there were three other issues
1 Security of the City of London
2 Ticket access for the games
3 Private security

The Defence of London came under the direct control of the Ministry of Defence – strangely enough, it’s what they do… it’s in their title y’know.  This logic was lost in the eyes of some lily-livered do-gooders in London… So when the city was placed under an anti aircraft missile shield – oh did they just whinge… seriously!

The ticket access for the games was an abomination that I hope Rio can learn from. In major events of this type, they gain a massive hierarchy of VIPs which = BS… and the IOC more than indulge this because most of them have their heads up their own jack like backsides… Let me be clear – these are either the people’s games – or they are not… I guess they’re not when a massive amount of seats remained empty and those that filled did so on a £70+ price tag… Yeah, the people’s games – uh huh….

The company “Group 4 Security” failed to provide the manpower to secure the games and as such – the Army was called in, I’d add the other services, but after watching the RAF warrant officer marching out of step with the Olympic Flag – hell no. The really strange thing about the G4S shortfall was, well…. I didn’t once see an advert hiring anyone for the Olympics – and I looked…

Finally: Olympic copyright… seriously, I get using their logo and name with reference to these games is a fair copyright – but when they started copyrighting common words like the phase London 2012 – I took serious offence to this… the reason? We were already using that phrase long before the IOC copyrighted it and I think it’s just wrong and BS gone mad… But then stories came through thick and fast about all sorts of things like the many years old Olympic Cafe being ordered to change its name – my answer “get real!” after all it’s not written in Greek… And in true British style, the owner did – and five minutes with a ladder and screwdriver changed the name to Lympic Cafe… :-)

The Opening ceremony…

Ok, huge on the wow factor, bit slow in parts and needed to be explained to simply too many people – thus, while spectacular, it kinda failed in concept… No, I’m not slagging it off (I’ll do that later) but when commenter’s in the USA ask “Who is some guy called Tim Berners-Lee?” you gotta think – WTF??
The opening ceremony was pretty amazing and the HM Queen-007 thing was great… Strangely, after the diabolical Diamond Jubilee concert when it had become plain to all those with ears – Sir Paul McCartney’s voice has sadly lost its edge… So why on this earth did they insist on him finishing the night off.
The Olympic torch was frigging awesome! And the rock history thing quite cool – with even a riff or two of the Sex Pistols thrown in for good measure.

The Games

What seemed like a slow start for the UK and was bitterly shouted about in Fr**ch news papers that along with our “mediocre games” they were leaving the UK far behind in the medal tables. Indeed at first we were a few places down with China and the USA at the top… but within 3 days we not only surpassed the F**gs (ribbit) but in doing so we would perpetually see them get further and further down without any chance or glimmer of hope of a comeback – shame huh?

The USA soon took over China and while we had started to gain on the US, it was short lived with the games being finally won by Team USA, Team Take-Out 2nd and Team GB in 3rd – the Fr**ch coming in 7th.

Germany did better than the French (historical fact) and really took to the overall spirit of the event and that leads me to wonder if there should be a Team Spirit Award at these things.

In Badminton we had controversy with several people being disqualified and rightly so and I managed to watch some Shooting events, Kayaking and other stuff but missed the beach volleyball :-(

The games also made history with several historic records broken by athletes from around the world – but the highest praise has to go to Michael Phelps of the USA for attaining more medals than anyone, anywhere – ever, throughout the duration of his Olympic career.

Troops drafted in to take over security were, as it turned out, a welcome sight and it’s nice to see uniforms being worn out in public again as wearing your uniform was not allowed to worn in public for many years because of the troubles in Northern Ireland tended to get them blown up, or followed home and shot in front of their families.

Needless to say, nearly every nation took the spirit of the games to heart and as the games drew to a close there was a genuine feeling of sadness from every corner of the earth except Fr**ce who seemed bitter until the very end – no surprise there then!!
In the USA however, there was a lot of unhappy people! You see historically the Olympics have, where possible, been televised live around the world. Indeed, the Olympics were one of the few events forcing global live television technology in the first place. Ironically it never truly worked until 12 noon (BST) 13 July 1985 when the first truly global televised event took place – that was Live Aid and since then we’ve never looked back…

So how then did the ENTIRE North American continent not see most events live? How come this stuff wasn’t streamed globally on the internet for all to see? Well some TV person somewhere who is either the most money grabbing nob OR the most money grabbing nob – decided only to air the whole thing in primetime… thus leaving the alleged most forward thinking of nations – well behind in the darkened orifice zone wondering what the hell was going on with twitter alive with up to date commentary from users and medal tallies going up, thus knowing the results before being able to watch it.  And because the Olympics is such a money grabbing self gratifying event to a select few and copyrighted to death event – nothing was even available on YouTube for days – and still isn’t.

I genuinely felt sorry for our North American friends, I even held a web cam to my screen for some to watch, but it wasn’t same – all because one person made probably the single worst anti-viewer decision in TV history…

The Crying Games

OMFG!! The boo-hoo-games…. Seriously, an opportunity to cry was taken by athletes, coaches, watching team members and audiences…
Cry if you win, cry because you lost, crying because you watched, crying because the sun came up, crying because they’re crying, crying because the fat kid has chocolate – crying because they were f’kin breathing!!


I commented on Twitter that maybe the games official sponsor should have been Kleenex… Then Kleenex started tweeting with me!!

So, I thought I should cry – not!!

The Closing Ceremony

The coolest part of these events are the opening and closing ceremonies… and I don’t think this one failed.  Some things were a little too kitch and frankly when I saw Liam Gallagher sing I just thought – why don’t you get that you’re nothing without your brother… But then I thought this might have been too harsh while I considered he wasn’t much better with his brother! Noel of course being the talent.

The thing with live audio in a stadium is, well, radio waves… radio waves take time to move, as does the audio signal down wires. Infact it’s a very serious business that one of the single most expensive things in the new Wembley Stadium is actually the PA! The PA at Wembley is so good that bands don’t actually need to bring speaker stacks, they can just hook into the PA. It’s no surprise then that with people and performers walking around the stadium, moving different distances from the receiver equipment that delays and echoes suddenly start appearing.
For the most part they coped well with this at the Olympic stadium, but from time to time it was apparent.

The overall show was tracking back over 50 years of UK Rock and Pop and while I gave quite a bit of grief to the Diamond Jubilee concert organizer Gary Barlow, this time I can’t and even if he was the person who did organize it  – wouldn’t. Because just over a week ago his wife gave birth to their still-born daughter… and yet he was still there and came out singing with the rest of Take-That. The Spice Girls appeared to my thoughts of “oh, there’s a 5 piece baby factory” and yet again that kid with the toy guitar who looks like Prince Harry’s younger brother turned up to sing looking like a complete slob – in fact, I don’t know who he is – but I wish he’d not get roped into these things.

While I could list all the bands I will list two that changed the entire place: First up Freddie Mercury appeared on big screens and led the entire stadium in an impromptu sing along from the grave before Queen rocked the entire place… and finally The Who finished the night… Proving actual “Rock” is what really gets a crown bouncing like mad – not Pop… Pop music is fashionable money grabbing commercial music where the record company makes a fortune and the artist makes little in comparison and is often gone in a matter of months – Rock being the thing that affects the soul to its very core when live and played well and is why so many Rock bands are still going and still making money.

It was a fantastic ceremony, not sure why some people were there but it was good nevertheless.
The Olympic park is now undergoing a massive reorganization process for the Para-Olympic games and as it does, we look at the media from around the world… Every nation praised the UK for the job it did, there were a few snarky comments from the US media, but at least all athletes made it to our games and nothing got blown up. Team USA did an outstanding job for the US, the first lady on hand for a good part of the time too. The Fr**ch were and are still totally bitter and in Germany they even took the newspapers names off and replace them with Thankyou Great Britain…

To everyone : my snarky stab at the games, the people behind it etc. mean nothing! These were as these things go – a pretty damn good Olympics. Infact I’ve not enjoyed an Olympic Games as much since the L.A. Games. If you’re not from or haven’t been to the UK, well I hope you had fun seeing this little part of the place – we’re not all bad… But we can be found at a colony near you ;-)

:-) God Save The Queen :-)

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Published in: on 14 August, 2012 at 19:22  Comments (3)  
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There are still real Rockers ;-)

So, after a Ted Nugent concert in Maine the band’s drummer was arrested for what can only be described as latent “Rock Hotel room Syndrome”, something that hasn’t seen the light of day for quite some time – without much in the way of flare anyway. In time honoured tradition, the Rocker must be:

Smashed out of his mind – check

Something must be stolen – check

Major disruption caused – and check…

Yep, Drummer Mick Brown, staggered from the show, stole a golf cart and headed out of the security area. Observed to be driving erratically, security strolled after him and arrested him for DUI…

So my observation…. Is this is really what Rock-n-Roll has come to?!

taken by TWBritAnother rocker was the Washington Monument which suffered at the hands of a real mover and shaker last year when it became the recipient of a 5.5 earthquake. It was a genuine shaker for those inside it at the time… As large scale monolithic needles go, they’ll have fun with the thread on this sucker as it’s going to cost over $30 million to repair and won’t be open until 2014 – which is a quite some time after the end of the world apparently – blame Cern ;-)

Other information of note is that recently – Britain is wet…. no real news there.

There was a streaker at the Olympic Torch relay

And finally: the British Army is losing more personnel… Yup, a few years ago they amalgamated all of the regiments into over sized new regiments and simply numbered them as battalions to the new regiment. In the case of the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment, The Green Howards and the Prince of Wales own Regiment of Yorkshire, they were bundled together into a thing called The Yorkshire Regiment. Now, because they didn’t make a “Yorkshire Division” it was fairly obvious there was going to be more foul play to hand. So after all the regiments lose their own identities being squashed into greater entities (thus destroying the regimental system at its grass root level), it was no surprise that even with the order not to lose any “Cap Badges” (not that they have to anymore). 4 battalions out of the new regiments are to be disbanded… Which in real terms means 4 original regiments

This will bring the total of British Army down to strength of 82,000… And that my friends is totally unacceptable.  As such the UK’s voice in the world has now become one of “put up or shut up” because along with a strong voice in the world – you must have a military big enough and capable of taking on all comers – and we no longer have that. And the last thing? You can’t rebuild regiments from scratch, these now move into history and to be forgotten as too the system that made the British Army so formidable to a man. But until we suffer a defeat the like of which we haven’t seen for nearly a hundred years, nothing will be done about it. So hey, if an enemy attacks in strength – the people at the front end dying will know there is no one behind them to back them up.

Ahhh the Fr**ch…

Such a perfect representative for the Fr**ch nation – it kinda says it all and this guy just won the race!! Happy huh? LOL!

Published in: on 2 July, 2012 at 16:56  Comments (3)  
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Get over it….

I don’t know if you can see the video in other countries from the BBC picture link below – I hope you can. But if you can’t – it’s basically a protest by about 1000 do-gooders opposing the deployment of Rapier surface to air missile systems in and around London for the Olympic games.

So let me make my point clear:

I am a Brit, this country has deployed much worse on it’s doorstep in it’s history. What you’re seeing is a show of force – not the actual end locations… It is unfortunate that these people are not intelligent enough to understand why this equipment is being put out there and given media coverage.

As a Brit I have a very stiff upper lip and frankly if they wanted to deploy these things in my garden (if I had my own that is) – they’re very welcome to. But you’d be surprised to note that I am NOT a gutless lily livered pontsy “peace in our time” whimp!!  Just because they scare you, you can’t go crying to your mother – they’re there to install fear and one hell of a kicking too. So get a grip, get some balls and if you can’t find it within yourself to do that – then at least try to, as they say – Keep Calm and Carry On!!

Or better still – leave!!

Click image to view BBC page

Maybe we should not have the SAS touring London constantly as they do and have done 24/7 for a great many years, because after all, they have been known to make a hell of a mess from time to time – oh that’s right, you don’t actually see them do you…

 

Wow… hopefully a new week brings better days

I went back to work the other day and regretted it almost immediately. I was fine until about 10 minutes into the drive of a 15hr day…
The run, while a long day was simple – run down to the Roddas clotted cream factory, load up with cream and then make all haste to Westbury in Wiltshire before returning home.
Well things didn’t go quite according to plan, but I made it home in one piece – almost was surprised after they over charged the tank with steam raising it’s temperature to 120 oC thus cooking the last 400lts into a solid mass. A further screw up on the CIP ended up with having 20000lts of Caustic Soda to get rid of and I can tell you – the moment I opened the rear valve, you’d be shocked how fast truckers can run (myself included).
 
Then of course we had Valentines day….

Valentine’s day has two benefits;
1 you can slightly cross certain lines in the work place.
2 it makes a fortune!!
However, as it was a Sunday, it was lost on most logical people. After all, if you know your heart, you’re hardly going to allow a 3rd party depict how you act, when you and how you feel.
The greatest Valentine gift a guy can give to a woman is this the shopping spree for all the reduced priced chocolate the day after – that’s a result!
 
Vancouver Winter Olympics have started,  but not with out the sad death of one of the participants.
It was funny how everyone was pointing fingers at everyone else about the whys and wherefores of this tragedy… So let the commonsense of TWBrit tell you who’s fault it was…
It is the fault of the design and placement of the support pillars!! They simply should not have been there – just in the same way that any over sport i.e. Formula 1 removes nearly all ‘spin-off’ obstacles.
So basically – they should test for these things over every inch of the track…pure and simple eh?
At least while I watched the horrific collision, I didn’t hear the “Whoooooaaaaaarghhhhhh-SPLAT”
 
Returning to my car for the first time in over a month, I have received a fixed penalty notice for the none displayment of road tax… nice! I was just so able to run about and sort that our over the last four weeks!!
I finally finished my complete paper and sent it off… this time with a basic action plan on the end.
I would like to think something would come of this, but frankly I doubt anything will.
So with the arrival of my HGV1 (truck license) renewal forms and the need to pay for a medical etc, I seriously doubt that I will pursue my present paths.
In this my friends, I’m not happy, but we pick ourselves up and get on with it I guess – Can’t believe I took the test back in 88 and it’s only been renewed once in 94!
Need to take some new pictures this week for my Passport – should be interesting as I’ll be tacking them myself LOL
 
Terry aka Little Trucker has been driving in some tough snow conditions stateside and Gabby has spent the last month keeping me on my toes.
 
WKD is someone I don’t think I’ve now seen since Christmas, but we do communicate.
 
Fenny is busy as ever working away, she also posted an article about the subject of my paper which can be seen HERE. The response on her blog just shows how much feeling there is about this subject – she can also write better than I can lol.
 
I contacted Worthy Farm at Pilton the other day. If you don’t know, I’m talking about the Glastonbury music festival. I asked if I could have some of the official artwork to do an article on the blog rather than nabbing their logo from the web.
I went on to tell them I wished to write about not only the festival and the announced final line for this year, but also that the site is still and will always remain and active dairy farm and an important part of the local community.
the reply was this:


Not quite sure what to make of their response other than, well ok – it’s their logo, choice and lack of write up.
 
So, lets see how this week pans out eh?
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darn it….

Sometimes when you give someone grief – you later find that, well, maybe I should of been a little more polite.

The guy who recruited me for a big job in London a few years ago and later for the UN in Iraq is a guy called Neil Danby. He’s a good bloke, has time for people and further more he’s quite patient.

biathlon-1However, I did give him quite a bit of grief about a lack of email updates and now feel and bit of an idiot. You see it turns out there is a reason he goes the extra mile for people and is highly diligent about his work and effort. I just found out  that he was only a member of the British Olympic Biathlon Team. Ordinarily sports people don’t impress me, but Biathlon does! you see to shoot smallbore is hard enough and I know this because it was something I used to be reasonable at in my youth, but the cross country skiing and then trying to control your breathing…. no that is something else altogether. The fitness, stamina and mental strength required for this sport is extreme biathlonto say the least. As such it’s a very intense sport indeed and this photograph shows an injured Judd Bankert of Guam having difficulty shooting on the Men 10k Biathlon in the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary. 

 

However, this means that you often need to add humour from time to time and this video shows how to get ahead of the competition.

It’s fair to say, he just earned instant respect from me (even though he was in the Engineers)

 

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Published in: on 11 March, 2009 at 14:51  Comments (3)  
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