The Queens Diamond Jubilee celebrations have now sailed up the Thames, flown over head and marched down the Mall and still the Union Jack continues to fly from tower blocks, shop windows and black cabs. It is slowly being replaced by the cross of St George as the English football team continues, with surprising success, in Euro 2012. It will all end in tears, as it always does, but we live in hope.
The Olympics will soon be upon us. As will an expected 3 million, queue jumping tourists, all trying to board the Northern Line at London Bridge Station. The London Olympics are the world’s largest peacetime logistical event in which 203 countries will be competing. This includes 55,000 people in the ‘Olympic family’, 17,800 athletes and team officials and 22,000 media hacks. Over 9 million tickets have been sold.
We then have the Paralympics featuring 170 countries, 30,000 of the ‘Olympic family’, 4,000 athletes and team officials and 4,000 members of the media. Both events cover a six week period from 27th July until 9th September.
‘London will be open for business’ so the slogan goes but just don’t expect to get anywhere in a hurry. Olympic road lanes will soon be in place with a £130 fine for ‘stationary and moving contraventions of Games orders and notices’. Consolation can be taken from the Beijing Olympics where lanes were closed to the public 40 days before and 40 days after the games with a life time driving ban being the penalty charge.
The constant rain, that constitutes an English summer, makes our parks and open spaces look greener than ever and has the advantage of discouraging the type of rioting that happened last summer. No one wants to get those new trainers wet.
Royal Ascot and Wimbledon continue as though no one had ever heard of the economic crisis that takes up so many column inches and so much air time.
Blockbuster art exhibitions, a word combination lexicologists have long assumed would never occur in the lifespan of the English language, continue to attract huge crowds. Lucan Freud – ‘Portraits’ at the National Portrait Gallery, David Hockney – ‘A Bigger Picture’ at The Royal Academy and ‘Picasso & Modern British Art’ at the Tate Modern had them queuing round the block. Literally queuing around the block, as they will for the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy.
All in all London is in rude health. Bring it on.