Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Brilliant. Brilliant. Brilliant

I said I was going to rave about a television series and here I go. Not exactly of the moment but I have only just properly caught up with Twenty Twelve which finds rich comedy in Olympic pomposity but manages to retain optimism and affection. People have justly gone on about Jessica Hynes as the oh so believable PR monster Siobhan Sharpe but the real plaudits should go to Hugh Bonneville and Olivia Colman for the finest and best under-played screen romance since, well since I don't know when. This is top grade acting and writing. And very, very British, just like the Games themselves turned out in fact. And top marks to Seb Coe for allowing himself to be in it - an act which showed huge confidence in the ultimate delivery of the project.

on the naughty step pro tem
On the Olympics I have to utter a word of reproach I'm afraid about a much loved organ, The Spectator. I have been dutifully catching up on my back issues since getting back from my stint in London and, oh dear, what a lot of sour nonsense you chose to publish in anticipation of the Games. Charles Moore in particular -acute, stylish, elegant but wrong, wrong, wrong. Just saying, because you know me, I'm a stickler for balance. Mind you I'm still catching up so maybe I will soon reach your redemption.   

We Do Not Need To Talk About Kevin

not remotely a wanker
Because all we need to say is that Andrew Strauss is a gent - see it summed up nicely by that other advert for English decency, Jonathan Agnew at Strauss Tribute

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

... Are Not Brilliant (An Occasional Series On Random Antipathy But With Some Reasons To Be Cheerful Artfully Chucked In))

I'm sorry to return to this pitiful whelp but really is there any excuse for John Bercow? Judge for yourself as he ventures a wholly unconvincing attempt at humility -  Bercow self-aggrandises

a big fan of my band
Strange Bedfellows
I have libertarian tendencies but there really is something more than a tad distasteful about the self-proclaimed champion of freedom of expression cowering, sorry sheltering, in the diplomatic citadel of that defender of all that is good and right, er, Ecuador. Sheltering moreover from that oppressor regime, er, Sweden, which Scandinavian banana republic seeks to bring him to book for being a bit too liberal in the way he availed himself of sex. Congratulations then to Julian Assange who joins the much maligned Saddam Hussein in attracting the sympathy of that other hugely clever and reprehensible character, George Galloway. Misery truly does acquaint a man with strange bedfellows. Strange Bedfellows, by the way will be the name of the jazz/fusion combo I will found when I learn to play the drums. Nice. I will wear the only wrist watch for a drummer, the Omega Incabloc Oyster Acutron 72. A little cultural reference there for all you Pete Atkin fans. You are not alone.

no offence Thommo
 but you just annoy me
I feel a bit of a heel about this last one because apparently he's not been well but shit here goes anyway: Derek "Thommo" Thompson. Am I the only one who squirms every time his gurning presence blights the laudably intelligent Channel 4 racing coverage? I know, I know, I'm becoming peevish in my old age, but what else is there left?

Ooh that's weird - I've got the old iTunes on shuffle and it's just started up with a Christmas song, in fact a perfectly good one, but you just can't listen to that stuff in August. It's wrong. I've shifted to the next track, The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore by the Walker Brothers. Better. Which has now given way to track 2 side 1 of The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway, which if you don't know (and you really should) is Fly On A Windshield. Followed now by the theme tune from For A Few Dollars More. I know, eclectic! A fitting menu for a dilettante - which is one for 10cc fans who might be paying attention.

Finally, not a whinge but in fact a taster for a blog to follow. Here is a line from a television series I came to late but about which I am going henceforth to rave - "he's on our graduate fast-track scheme, but he's doing it at his own pace." If you don't know what it is you'll have to wait until next time dear reader because Lily Allen is now singing Cheryl Tweedy and that must mean it is time for bed.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

... Are Brilliant Mark XI

The Dyson Airblade. How much are they? I want one in my bathroom.

I was reminded of this wonder of design when visiting the highly commendable toilets at the also brilliant Conwy Castle, wherein you find not altogether subtle signage commenting on the role of the English in subjugating the Welsh. Mind you we did build quite staggering  castles and  thus made a gift of a tourist industry so we can't be all bad.

Next ... it's on BBC1 at this very minute which is a great good fortune at the end of a good day ... Pirates of the Caribbean, or most particularly the wondrous Johnny Depp therein. Brilliant also in Blow and Public Enemies, the latter also starring the almost equally watchable Christian Bale.


Telford's Menai Suspension Bridge. Best viewed of course from the larger Britannia Bridge we use to cross to our happy island. Which remains brilliant.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Post Mortem

Back on me old manor now, safely embedded in Four Oaks. Three nights in the comfort of my own cot and camping a shrinking memory. Time to reflect on London 2012 before my sad old grey matter has mixed and sentimentalised it all to pap. Lucky for you I jotted down some aides memoire before leaving the Big Smoke on Monday and I haven't yet drunk so much red wine that I can't make sense of them.

erection with an identity crisis
Saw a lot of the revived and yuppified banlieu in which ExCeL is situated. Love the DLR, particularly the fact that it so resolutely refuses to travel in straight lines. I swear the O2 Arena (rechristened North Greenwich Arena for the duration of the Games on account of O2 not being an Olympic sponsor) was on my left at one point and then on the right a couple of minutes later. The Overgraduate likes the modern Docklands and wouldn't mind a pad there if he had some spare loot. I'd live in the West End for preference but I like a bit of realism mixed in with my dreams. One shouldn't be greedy.

Best neologism of the Games, uttered by a nervous supervisor who urged us to be observative for wheelchair and other accessibility challenged patrons. I was duly observative and will ever be thus.

Paid Staff
The organisation of the enterprise was largely praiseworthy but the quality of some paid staff was an issue. Not those at supervisory levels who were generally keen and committed but those pressed foot-soldiers who appeared to be part of a woolly social experiment to pitch into work dissolute and uninterested juveniles. Their ineptitude was easily covered by the army of volunteers who treated them with richly deserved disdain. They were not going to spoil our fun. They missed a golden opportunity to win some influential hearts and minds. Last and only whinge, I promise.

Why have I never had the chance to play this brilliant sport. Love it. If I was thirty years younger ...

Bloody Football Starts Again
Sorry another whinge. The Premier League kicks off on Saturday. Too soon. It will dilute if not wash away the Olympic spirit. I know there's nothing to be done about it but, as I say, too soon.

The number of spectators we welcomed to the ExCeL across the Games. I think I spoke to roughly 700000 of them. Especially the Irish ones.

a friend of this blog
Lasha Shavdatuashvili
Georgian judoka who won 66k gold and probably thought he was safely anonymous when he went for a coffee outside the arena a full week after his competition. He was on my patch and I only know who he is because a crowd of crazed Georgians spotted him and detained him for fully an hour whilst every conceivable combination of photographs was taken. He was lovely and seemed genuinely touched by the mass of swarthy grateful men lining up to kiss him. As a finale he picked up and was photographed with an initially bemused small English boy who will for ever be able to say that he had his picture taken with an authentic gold medallist and national hero. Good on you Lasha.

Patches of Dead Grass
As the end of the Games approached and Games Makers headed home after their stint, patches of yellowed grass appeared on the campsite where once had stood tents. I should have taken a photo of this poignant patchwork.

Ice Creams
The free ones handed out throughout the Games at major commuter stations to passengers. A really nice touch, symptomatic of the small ways that Locog painted the big picture.

and he seems like a nice bloke
Mo Farah
Having learned of his 10000m triumph over a privet hedge in Twickenham, I saw his 5000m gold (or at least the last half lap of it) in the bar of the Docklands Crowne Plaza thanks to a fortuitously timed comfort break in my Friday shift. I then had the pleasure of announcing the news to those arriving at ExCeL for the boxing. Of all the British victories, Farah's are the greatest and his the nicest story of a storied fortnight.

Panem et Circenses
That's bread and circuses to you and me. This one is difficult - have we been distracted from civic desecration by a vast but meaningless pageant? Am I a dupe? I don't believe so but it is perhaps instructive to comment that the only time I can remember this country feeling quite so buoyed was during the Falklands Conflict. We were right then and I believe we were right this time but I do love that I have been brought up to accommodate a scepticism that interrogates these matters. And if that sounds smugly like having my cake and eating it, well you'll just have to humour me for a few more weeks until the roseate tinge has departed my world view.

Plastic Bags
I always like to leave you with some practical advice so here it is - you can't have too many plastic bags when you're camping. I spoil you lot, I really do. 

We Need To Talk About Kevin

Winner of the Pietersen
knob-alike comp
Pietersen that is. He has managed to get himself thrown out of the England cricket team despite scoring a brilliant century in the last test and despite the current final test being possibly the most important since England won the Ashes down under. Which leads one to conclude that he really must be an unbearable prick to have achieved such exclusion. Professional sportsmen like winning and will put up with much to achieve it and I judge that England coach Andy Flower is among the hardest of hard cases - this was not done on a whim. Plus we have the conclusive evidence that Pietersen's banishment is just - even archer prick Piers Morgan has denounced the decision and , I'm sorry, no power on earth will persuade me to share a conclusion with him.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Yes We Can

I will be leaving in a few minutes for my final shift on this the final day of the Games. This will be my last post from my perch in the corner of the coffee lounge at the Twickenham Nuffield, to whom thanks for hot showers, free towels, reviving americanos, sockets to recharge my bits of technology and not least for reviving my interest in swimming.

This is not the opportunity for a full analysis of the point/success/excess/highlights of the Games (not enough time) but I will just say this - even if you disapprove of the whole shebang you would have to concede that we (the British) have made a bloody good fist of it.

I was there
The Olympic Stadium on Friday and Olympic Park as a whole were beyond expectation. I think Mum was as blown away as me. To top it all we can say we have seen a world record broken in an Olympic final - the American quartet obligingly expunging the twenty-seven year old mark of the East German chemically enhanced sprinters. Another disgraceful chapter in sport's history closed.

Friday, 10 August 2012

My New Hero

It had been a long sweaty day guiding the Irish around the geography of the ExCel yesterday and I was decidedly foot-sore and leg-weary by its end so I had a cursory swim (millionaire style, I had the pool to myself) then did my bit of blogging and settled down with a glass of red to watch the athletics. Understandably perhaps the amazing Usain Bolt was the focus of attention but I felt the true star of the night was David Rudisha the Maasai half-miler who broke his own world record and dragged the entire field to personal best times of mind-bending speed. The BBC got it mildly wrong when they disrespectfully failed to cut away from Bolt's post race posturing (good natured but posturing nonetheless) to show Rudisha's medal ceremony in its entirety.

My grandfather, a good county athlete and an elite level coach and administrator (an honorary life vice president of the AAA) nurtured my interest in sport but athletics in particular and his hero had been British half-miler Douglas Lowe. It transpired that Grandpa was cut out not for half-miling but for the sprints but it was Lowe he admired, and so I adopt Rodisha as my new athletic hero. Massive, elegant and dignified. Top banana. 

Thursday, 9 August 2012

"Welcome To Dublin 2012"

This was the Overgraduate joke du jour, uttered to the streams of Irishmen and women who poured into Custom House DLR this afternoon and took over the pubs of Docklands before those of them who had managed to wangle a ticket invaded the ExCel Arena to cheer their lass Katie Taylor to boxing gold. To give you a flavour of the stupendous atmosphere the Irish brought with them consider this from the BBC correspondent Ben Dirs,

"Complete and utter delirium at ExCeL as Katie Taylor pulls the last two rounds out of the bag to win the lightweight crown. I've been to Rugby World Cup finals, I've been to Wimbledon finals, I've seen Great Britain win three gold medals in 45 minutes at the Olympic Stadium - but I have never heard a noise like that."
Full story at Katie Taylor Gold. I know I've said it before but it bears repeating - you have to admire the Irish reaction to economic adversity - they simply do not let it affect their commitment to the craic. And I suppose that I have to concede that one benefit of Ireland's membership of the Euro is that they don't find London beer prices at all daunting. I was only outside the arena directing joyous human traffic but nonetheless it was a privilege to be there.

The Irish angle overlooks that there had been a bit of history made at ExCel even before Taylor took to the ring. The first ever women's boxing title had been won by Nicola Adams from Leeds. Not quite sure what my Grandma would have made of women boxing but the Yorkshire element might have swayed her. Grandma knew what she liked and liked what she bloody well knew.

I do like the polarities in the good old BBC reporting parallel British success in two sports today: a black girl from Leeds in boxing and what I presume is a posh bird in dressage - Adams and Dujardin Win Golds. Full Overgraduate respect to both.

Blankers-Koen wins. Mum is
seventh row 367 from left
Day off tomorrow and Iron Dave is taking his mother to the athletics. Mum attended every day of the 1948 Olympic athletics and I doubt there will be many others there tomorrow who can say that. Really looking forward to it. The weather has turned on its most gorgeous face and a rosy glow of goodness has settled over the whole London 2012 enterprise. It is only silly games but it has been rather bloody marvellous from  my privileged viewpoint.   

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

We Hold These Truths To Be Self Evident

You might just have noticed but in many respects I am not an old school shrinking violet, nor am I most people's idea of the stiff upper lip English commercial gent. But in some things I am dyed in the wool and one of those is this - no able-bodied and self-respecting man should sit on public transport whilst women stand. It's just bad form to sit there pretending you're oblivious. Get up you skank. My views in this regard are too rarely shared and I have to report that I see plenty of my fellow Games volunteers offending on this one. I know we're working for nothing but we could extend the goodwill even further if we pioneered the readoption of the old courtesies and promoted a little eye contact on the tube.

Dave and his trusty steed
Remember the 1923 Cup Final? First Wembley final, Bolton 2, West Ham 0, but that barely matters (except to Bolton fans one supposes) because it was the policeman on a white horse controlling the crowd who captured all the headlines. Well for a brief interlude at lunchtime today I was that white horse as the boxing fans descended en masse and uniformly tardy upon Excel. Armed only with my voice (I let weaker souls have the megaphone) and a rising sense of stimulating panic my amateur colleagues and I managed to avoid a descent into riot. Great fun once it was over but mildly shit inducing as it occurred. No word of a lie an observer has offered me some professional stewarding work. He had assumed I was a bouncer by trade and was convinced that my line about commercial law was a wind-up. We have decided to regard this as a compliment. 

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Tales From The Olympic City

Yes you can
What will you remenber about Super Saturday, the day on which Team GB won six gold medals, three of them quite stunningly in the athletic arena? Well this inveterate sports fanatic was working a late shift so caught the morning rowing medals, but saw none of the athletic triumphs, being in transit back to Twickenham during the hour of the Ennis, Rutherford, Farah miracle. Instead I was half way up the suburban redoubt that is Westfield South in my full Olympic regalia (aka looking a bit of a tit) when I heard screams of joy from behind front windows. I peered over the nearest privet and there was a large screen beaming a picture of a sweaty but happy looking Farah. The residents spotted me and instead of calling the police they opened the window and told me that our boy had won. I thereafter completed my passage to the camp site with lighter tread and headed tentwards for a sly glass of red wine (it's a dry site but they're not going to search my tent are they and what an Englishman does under canvass is his own bloody business) and to listen to the sports news on my radio. I had pretty much taken it as read that Ennis would win but it was one of those double-take moments when they mentioned the Rutherford victory. I had heard of him before but I am rather an anorak in such matters and I bet not many others had. No bollocks about it being a sub-standard competition please. You just have to beat all of those who turn up, them's the rules.

A funny thing happened to me on duty the other day and it ended with your hero being stopped by the police whilst dressed as a bit of a tit. The story starts with a lady on crutches who had somehow evaded the best laid and inclusive plans of the organising committee and appeared in my patch half way round the walking route to the Excel Arena. Whereat she uttered that she could go no further and opined that a wheelchair would come in handy. Your hero was on hand to act upon this demand and sought a supervisor to radio the request in. But the supervisors had all gone to lunch and had taken their radios with them. Inspiration is always at hand in these situations and I knew that the acessibility shuttle (really that's what we have to call it - it's a bus for the infirm and the criminally fat) docked nearby and that there would be wheelchairs aplenty. In I tore and asked the G4S security children if a chair might be available. Their radios crackled and presently a short irritated man brought down the required transportational aid. He had something of the look of Homer Simpson but rather less toned. He saw me, he saw my uniform and he intoned 'They're not having it' ('they' being the volunteers) for, quoth he, this wheelchair belonged to 'Transport' and 'he' (your hero the Overgraduate no less - I know, cheeky bastard) must find a chair from his own team's resources. Now I was a good boy and refrained from chinning the sweaty chump. At this point I was still a model of moderation and asked if he could please call my team on the radio importantly clamped to his grubby lapel. No he could not and your hero must find a radio belonging to his own team. Still the Boy Roberts did not rise to the bait but asked plaintively what was to be done about the becrutched lady left back on the access way. That, the pasty one concluded, was not his problem. At this point the Overgraduate took an executive decision not to waste any more time talking to this wanker but to resume his search for help back on the mean Docklands streets. He set off again at full pace but not without first mustering his finest sarcasm and informing Homer that he had been 'magnificently unhelpful'. This was,of course, a perfectly accurate summation of his behaviour (by any definition he was unhelpful and there is something magnificent about a dickhead fully exercising his art) but I confess my tone was scathing and I'm afraid it tipped my new mate over the edge. He shouted at my retreating form, 'Stop him!' This was directed at the G4S youth but I had too much pace for him (a fair comment on our indolent young?) and in any event he was probably a tad puzzled at how a simple endeavour to help an old lady had escalated into an international incident. Fair dos to the youth he thought on his feet and yelled to the nearby gaggle of coppers to waylay the fleeing fifty-two year old. Which they did. I think it was the guns which persuaded me to stop. There was then a delay whilst Homer wheezed his way to the locus of my interception. In fairness to flabmeister he now did his own bit of quick thinking and attempted to rationalise the drama he had helped script - he told the rozzers that he thought I was trying to steal the wheelchair! Which would make me the world's doziest criminal - I mean what better way to steal a manky local authority wheelchair than to do it in full view of police and security and wearing a uniform that makes you stand out in a paint explosion. Anyway the boys in blue eventually let me go and the Olympic machine cranked up to find a wheelchair from somewhere other than the point nearest to where it was needed. 

The initial reaction to all of this when I dutifully reported it was instructive. The Olympic machine is painfully politically correct and on more than one occasion I was assured that no one was at fault here and that the conflict must be mediated away into a happy liberal oblivion. Credit where credit is due I think the machine did eventually concede that Homer had been far the bigger of two tits in this one (he should apparently have let me have the chair in the first place) but the 'no blame' fixation is a misguided fudge. Homer and I were both to blame - he for being an insufferable, lazy, ugly, uncharitable, lazy, half-brained, lazy, unfragrant, lazy, mean-spirited, lazy tosser; me for being mildly sarcastic and thinking my priority was to help the old lady. Being as what I am a lawyer, I credit myself an expert on causation and contributory negligence (rather as I am an expert on what women want and what sort of wine to drink with couscous) and I think we can apportion the blame for this one, 99% to jobsworth and 1% to The Boy Roberts - the latter figure has been rounded up. Happy ending: Lord Coe has let me keep my accreditation. One other little detail: I am a volunteer, Homer is one of the paid staff.

venerable venue
Another day off yesterday and a good trip to the proper volleyball (not the pervert beach variety) courtesy of nephew Harry. I was accompanied by number two daughter and we had a jolly good time capped off by fish and chips in the Prince of Wales Feathers. Venue for the volleyball is the Games' oldest venue, the venerable Earls Court which acquits itself very satisfactorily. My only complaint is the organisers' perception that they need to have some half-wit refugee from hospital radio whipping the crowd into a frenzy of ambivalence. Volleyball is a terrific and athletic game and doesn't need such bollocks. One must mourn that there are no longer sufficient holiday camps to provide gainful employment for such morons.

A nice story from today's shift to finish. It illustrates the spirit which most often pervades these Games. A lone Thai visitor asked me to take his photograph in front of a parked London cab. The cab driver sussed what was going on and jumped out to let the tourist sit at the wheel for the photo. Nice touch.    

Friday, 3 August 2012

Like A Bad Actor I'm Resting

Thursday 11.30am.

By the end of yesterday's stint at the Excel I was absolutely bloody knackered. Relentless cheerfulness is very, very taxing, as is being on your feet all day trying to twist feet away from your Adidas sponsored blisters. Day off today and after three early early starts and despite the handicap of tent dwelling and the insistence of a middle aged bladder I managed to sleep for eleven hours without having to trudge throuh the cold dew to the toilets.

Ooh that's better
It's interesting what you miss when living the outdoor life. There are the obvious things such as a comfortable bed and cooked food (although if on duty near to the venue we go into the centre for a passable hot meal) but the one that has surprised me most has been a ready supply of good coffee. I hadn't twigged quite how much I thrive on this drug until faced with a situation where the only source comes at Starbucks prices. I have confined myself to one fix a day and that has come in paper cups which is just not the same as proper, civilised, porcelain, sitting coffee. So right now I am in my usual perch in the corner of the lounge of the Twickenham Nuffield Health Club recharging my batteries (literally - all my electric toys are plugged in around me) and about to enjoy a second large americano. To keep up the sheen of healthy athleticism I'm also having an isotonic cherry muffin.

Time to take stock. As my regular critic and commentator ViperJohn has pertinently noted, we volunteers are living in a bubble at these Games and undoubtedly see less of the action than the enthusiastic couch potato, however I get the distinct impression that things are going well and that there is a mood of goodwill from the country towards the whole massive endeavour. Some spectators (quite a few in fact) take the trouble to tell us this and to thank us.  You get the odd naysayer of course. I had one clown yesterday who assured me that my statement that it was five minutes more walking to the venue was 'utter bullshit' - now this had, I suppose, an element of accuracy because I'd timed it and it actually only took me three minutes but I had thought it best to err on the side of caution where families were walking with young children. Anyway I trust his bemused little boy will have garnered happier memories of his day at the Olympics than his dad being a twat. Possibly not because one has to suspect that his dad is always a twat. Which puts him in the company of that arse-faced scotsman Frankie Boyle - Boyle/Adlington Tweet. Boyle is a bully. He can say what he wants - we live in that kind of a country - but the principal job qualification for comedy is that you're funny. Now Boyle is actually funny but rather in the way that Robert Mugabe is funny - you have to laugh at the absurdity of a world that accommodates such people but conclude that it would be no worse off for their never having existed. And, plaudits to David Walliams who has countered Boyle and who as an Olympic Ambassador conducts himself self-effacingly and chivalrously. He was on 5 Live last night and gave an interview that was a model of good sense and modesty. It is not always necessary to be seen to be 'ironic' - sometimes you just look a complete tosser. If the boy Boyle fancies it, I'll go into training and challenge him to three rounds of boxing. I've never boxed and I'm what Boyle would probably call a middle-class English wanker but I quite fancy an opportunity to put one one his smug face. In a purely ironic way of course.

"Nice ball son"
At one stage yesterday I was at a lonely post directing meagre walkers in from Canning Town and had contrasting conversations with two locals. The first asked me what was going on at Excel! 'The Olympics' I explained, "F***** load of old bollocks" quoth he. Shamefully I had no greater riposte than to call 'Have a nice day' at his retreating form. Next up was a Barbadian road-sweeper who stopped to talk sport and cricket in particular. He related how as a young tearaway fast bowler he had bowled the opening over in club cricket at a sixty year old Conrad Hunte. He banged in his best fastest ball and the sexagenarian plonked his front foot down the pitch and played a perfect forward defensive stroke - that rocketed for four. he proceeded to do this five more times to complete the over, smiling after each shot and saying, "Nice ball son." A winning and humble story. He had clearly gone on to play some decent cricket both in Barbados and in London but that he started with this tale told a lot about him. We parted as friends who will doubtless never speak again. He was deeply impressed that I had seen Garry Sobers play and that the first century I ever saw scored was by Rohan Kanhai.

Looking better than the
Bradley Wiggins yesterday confirmed what I had already told you - cycling is the new rock and roll. He added an Olympic gold to the Tour de France won only eleven days ago. As I alighted at Twickenham after my shift, hordes of cheered spectators thronged the platform having caught a glimpse of the time trial through the streets of Surrey. Tour de France tee shirts aplenty. Must get one. Which brings me to the fashion section of this blog. Stella McCartney has had a mixed Olympics. On the credit side, I like the team kit. Further good news for Team McCartney - she didn't design the super-chav shell suits worn at the opening ceremony. Those were the work of some deluded clown at Next. On the debit side, I'm sorry but the crimson cuffs on the volunteer jackets are naff although they do assist in making us stand out to the crowds. Greater demerit - Sir Paul McCartney - I love the Beatles (it's here on the blog) but somebody needs to stop letting him tarnish his own reputation. Hey Jude sung out of tune should not have been the keynote of the opening ceremony. I bet you never thought you'd read it here, but thank goodness for the Arctic Monkeys.

Friday 10.00 am.

I had to dash off before posting yesterday because the call came from Twickenham. After years of waiting I finally walked out of the players' tunnel into the arena, courtesy of that fine gentleman Gary Street who gave me a personal tour.

I'm on a late shift for the next three days which will be easier on my sleep patterns but with the athletics now starting I suspect that transport will be yet more crowded.