London 2013: Pay the Bill!

So, London has finally won the 2012 Olympic bid. I’m blogging in the London Apple Store, having come here from Trafalgar Square. The result was announced just before 12:50 London time, and I arrived about 12:20 to find the square packed. The BBC is reporting that London beat Paris by a 54:50 vote, so it was pretty close. As expected, Moscow was knocked out in the first round of voting; I was surprised to read that New York, and not Madrid, was knocked out in the second.

It was obvious that the crowd assembled there was a supportive one, and there was no way I could have spoiled the party. There were quite a few men in suits and special ties (showing the path of the Thames in Olympic colours); I have no way of knowing how much of that crowd consisted of people who worked for the bid anyway. They had some pop singer whose name I’ve forgotten who sung “Some Girls”, “So Good” and “LAX” (perhaps someone could work it out from the titles). They obviously had the time to pad out 15 minutes or so with a few pop songs - the singer was one of the few people (male or female) in the square with bare shoulders. She must have been pretty cold - the weather was cloudy and a few drops of rain fell.

But it rained on Paris as well just as the bid was announced. They played London’s promotional video, backed with M People’s song “What Have You Done Today” (to make me feel proud). In the few minutes before the announcement, they showed pictures of various crowds such as that in Paris, and people booed when that came up! When the result was announced, the roar in the square was deafening. Vast amounts of confetti were released from gas-powered devices and fell on everyone’s clothes. Some red arrows, blazing red, white and blue vapour trails, took off, and flew over just as I was leaving the square.

So people of London, get ready to cough up! How much were we told we’d be paying, and how much extra congestion charge did Ken tell us we’d be paying if he won? (In the latter case none; in reality, it went up by £3 this week.) I wonder what preparations the ethnic communities in east London are making for their inevitable pricing-out from their home of 50 years. Are there any Photoshop (or GIMP) geeks out there who can edit one of the “London 2012 - Back the Bid” pieces to say “London 2013 - Pay the Bill”?

Did they have a stand-by song just in case London lost, I wonder? Perhaps “Why Does It Always Rain on Me?” would have been appropriate.

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