Monthly Archives: July 2012

What planet is he on?

Like a lot of people I was somewhat surprised to see on the first day of London2012 that there were lots of empty seats at events including swimming, rowing, tennis and basketball, despite most folk not being able to buy tickets when they came on sale.

To add insult to injury, London 2012 chairman, Lord Coe has insisted today that Olympic venues are “stuffed to the gunnels” with sports fans.  

Is he (or does he think we are) blind?

While millions of people turned out on the streets to cheer on the cyclists (for free!), the empty seats were apparently in the accredited “Olympic family” areas – reserved for groups including officials, sports federations, athletes, journalists and sponsors.   I for one don’t think this is any kind of excuse!

Perhaps, however, he was just thinking of the beach volleyball taking place in Horse Guards Parade?  For some reason this venue was filled to capacity ….. can’t think why?!?

 

Feathered fiends

Despite living at the very least 15 miles from the nearest coastal area here on the southside of Glasgow, we are currently being plagued by marauding seagulls, keeping us awake at night with their squawking and littering the street with their droppings.

This noisy nightmare occurs every time there is something on at Hampden.  They have replaced the pigeon population here as the “flying rats”, feasting on the fast food rubbish that the crowds drop willy nilly on the pavements as they leave the venue.

Seagulls are perfectly capable of finding natural foods and if they are not provided with an unnatural meal, intentionally or otherwise, they will turn eventually to a more natural source of food.

Can I therefore ask all the people attending the football matches at Hampden for London2012 to dispose of their rubbish in the bins provided.  Thank you! 

Good job Danny Boy!

Having just sat through almost 4 hours of TV coverage of the opening ceremony of London2012, I can’t help wondering what the rest of the world made of Danny Boyle’s ceremony.  His concept was to give us “a celebration of the creativity, exuberance and, above all, the generosity of the British people”.  Undeniably clever, for the viewing public it was certainly a spectacle but a lot of it would have been lost on you if you weren’t British!

What we were all waiting for though was to find out the identity of who was to light the symbolic flame which had been shrouded in secrecy ahead of the ceremony.  Fittingly it was a group of seven young athletes, chosen by British Olympic champions, who each lit a single tiny flame on the ground, igniting 204 petals, one for each competing nation or territory.  Long stems then rose towards each other to form a cauldron, signifying unity.  This for me was the highlight of the whole night – incredible!

   

   

There was so much happening that this post would become something akin to War & Peace if I tried to cover it all, so as I’ve given you my highlight of the occasion I should probably mention my lowlight …..

Sorry all you Beatles fans out there but Paul McCartney was DREADFUL!!!  His performance out of tune and completely shambolic at the start.  He did get a bit better as he warmed up but I think that it is probably time he gives up and goes home – it’s not like he needs the money!

London Boosted

Following on from my previous post “Athletic Art“, I’ve managed to find a YouTube clip showing the double-decker bus that has been turned into a sculpture of an athlete doing push-ups – you can see it in action here, it’s so clever!  If you get the chance to pop along to Islington and see it for yourself, please send me your pictures!

Keeping it simple

This picture is doing the rounds on the social networks today – a great advert for the Glasgow subway I think – You may just go round in circles but at least you can’t get lost!

Projecting the right image

Just to prove that I am not completely negative about the London2012 Olympics, I wanted to share with you these spectacular images that Olympic bosses beamed onto the Houses of Parliament in a truly dazzling display last night.

Enormous images including world’s fastest man Usain Bolt, a giant Union Jack flag, and the Olympic rings were among those beamed on to one of London’s most iconic buildings as final Games preparations took place.  Enjoy!

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Bad Korea move

Most people thought that the problems we might face in holding the Olympics would be something to do with security or traffic delays.  No-one could have imagined what would actually be the first embarrassment of the London2012 games!

Last night, at Hampden Park in Glasgow, what can only be described as a “schoolboy error” occurred when bungling officials displayed the WRONG Korean flag!

NORTH Korea’s women footballers stormed off the pitch in fury when a giant screen showed the SOUTH Korean flag instead.  The emblem of their bitter enemies was flashed up on the big screen as they came out to warm up for their match against Colombia.

The North Koreans — fanatical supporters of dead leader Kim Jong Il and his son Kim Jong Un — refused to take to the field for the 7.45pm kick-off.  Organisers said there was an “off-the-field” dispute they were trying to resolve and the game was delayed for over an hour as officials tried to placate the North Koreans.  The game finally began at 8.50pm after the correct flag was shown on the screen.

London 2012 bosses were forced to issue an apology. A spokesman said: “The South Korean flag was shown on a big screen video package instead of the North Korean flag.  Clearly that is a mistake, we will apologise to the team and the National Olympic Committee and steps will be taken to ensure this does not happen again.”

But there is something else that is bothering me about the Games themselves.   If the opening ceremony is not on until Friday, why have the games started already?  Answers on a postcard please!

and still on the subject of art …

Writing the last post I was reminded of the sculpture that has long been a part of the scenery in Kingston-upon-Thames town centre – the line of 12 disused red telephone boxes that have been tipped up to lean against one another in an arrangement resembling dominoes.  This sculpture was commissioned in 1988 as part of the landscaping for the (then) new Relief Road, and is called “Out of Order”.

Unveiled on the 19th December 1989, it stands in Old London Road near the junction with Clarence Road.

What I didn’t know then was that the sculptor, David Mach (56), is the Scot from Methil in Fife who also designed the “Big Heids” that are a familiar sight for us regular M8 drivers between Glasgow and Edinburgh.

On further investigation it seems that this tiny little town in the Kingdom of Fife produces some of the best artistic talent that Scotland is so proud of, from a population of only 11,000. 

Another artist to grow up in this industrial seaside town is Jack Vettriano (60) who only took up painting as a hobby in his twenties when his girl friend bought him a set of water colours!  Vettriano’s original paintings now regularly fetch huge six figure prices but he is thought to make more money from the sale of reproductions. Each year a new set of limited edition prints are published, and his most popular work, “The Singing Butler”, sells more posters and postcards than any other painting in the UK.

It’s amazing what you find out quite by chance when looking for something else!

Athletic Art

This is my favourite image so far of the imminent London2012 Olympics!

A Czech artist has re-modelled a traditional London double-decker bus into a mechanical sculpture of an athlete doing push-ups to celebrate the Olympic Games opening in the British capital on Friday.

David Cerny bought the 1957 bus from an owner in the Netherlands, attached two huge arms, an electrical engine and a lot of wiring and suspension tools to make it into a piece of art named “London Boosted”.

Cerny, whose past works have enraged European politicians and sought to poke fun at rival artists, has installed the bus outside the Czech Olympic House in London’s Islington neighbourhood.

“There is one common exercise for every sportsman in the world, and that is push-ups,” Cerny said.  “It is training for sport activities but at the same time it is also punishment in armies and prisons. So the push-ups are a very universal physical activity…It is in a way very ironic.”

For regular travellers on this particular transport however, the irony might be the fact that there’s only one and not 3 identical buses there at the same time!

Better luck next time!

Amir Khan wasn’t quite as successful in the wee small hours in his fight against Danny Garcia in Las Vegas.  Amir Khan wanted to prove he is the best in his class by beating Danny Garcia and then moving up to welterweight to face Floyd Mayweather.

Khan, 25, went into this light-welterweight bout with WBC holder Garcia as WBA champion after Lamont Peterson was stripped of the title.  Some readers will remember that Khan lost his WBA and IBF titles to Peterson in a controversial defeat last December but the American subsequently failed a drugs test. 

Unfortunately though Amir Khan suffered his second successive defeat as he was stopped in round four by the unbeaten American.  He was knocked down three times as Garcia claimed the British fighter’s WBA light-welterweight belt and held on to his WBC title.  After a strong start, Khan was floored in the third by a counter and could not recover from shots in round four. 

People have been quick to call for Khan to retire after this unexpected defeat but let’s not forget he is still only 25 years old and has only lost 3 of his professional fights, having won 26 with 18 knockouts.  Perhaps we should leave the final words to the man himself who said on Twitter:

“Can I apologise to my family, friends and everyone. I got caught with a shot and I know millions of you are upset but that’s boxing for you.”

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