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Javelin trains throw a wobbly

First it was the wobbly bridge, now it’s the wobbling Javelin. Trains from St Pancras to Stratford are back to their customary crawl after Southeastern Trains had to withdraw its fleet of probably iconic 140mph Javelin trains because passengers complained of carriages wobbling. Southeastern acknowledged there had been a ‘sideways movement’.

At least it was only trains going sideways.


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An Iconic Organ: BoJo & Co flatter the Standard

More iconic junk! Johnson & Coe Ltd have taken to buttering up the Evening Standard for its Olympic coverage. Coe of LOCOG Ltd, wheeled out the now commonplace 'iconic' to compare the newssheet with 'a London taxi cab, Nelson's Column and Chelsea football club', three well known Orthodox religious artefacts. BoJo declared the 'organ' was 'formidable and impartial'. All this iconic tosh makes me wonder what they've got to hide.


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East London lacks iconic locations for marathon

It seems the iconic 2012 Olympic stadium is going to be out-iconed by the Mall and Buckingham Palace! LOCOG is looking at ending the London 2012 marathon in the Mall. A bit embarrassing really. Maybe no-one bothered to do a recce of East London's mean streets to see how exactly they would bring the athletes back to the stadium along a dazzling avenue. Locations like Bow roundabout and flyover would be prominent features to be broadcast around the world. I guess Bow Road can't quite match Piccadilly, the Strand or the Embankment.

LilCOG director of venues and infrastructure James Bulley said: "We want to use as many iconic locations in the route as possible and, of course, it has to work well for all the athletes."

They could have saved themselves and East London the trouble if they had just stuck the iconic stadium amongst these iconic west London locations.


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The Olympic Bid: Blair's crime scene

The Olympic Bid - Blair explains what it was really about - having an alibi at the scene of the crime, winning with the help of his friend Silvio, manipulation British style and avoiding humiliation at the hands of the French!

Being in Singapore, his need of an alibi to avoid criticism:

"In the end, I did, but as much because this was a crime scene I had to be present at in order to have an alibi, to avoid being criticized for not trying hard enough."

His kind of guy, Silvio Berlusconi, without whom the bid would not have been won!

"He said, 'You are my friend. I promise nothing but I see if I can help.' Typical Silvio, which is why I like him. Most politicians say 'I promise' but then do nothing. He said 'I promise nothing' but then delivered."

The failure of the bid? Humiliation for Britain? No! Humiliation for Blair, by the French!

"Yes, but suppose we get beaten and, what's worse, we get beaten by the French and I end up humiliated?"

How very British - Blair on deception:

"We affected an attitude of 'we humbly beg to offer our services to your great movement' and paddled and conspired like crazy underneath the surface - very British."


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Bow Back Rivers website

A quick mention for the excellent Bow Back Rivers pages on the londoncanals.co.uk website.

Compiled in the period just before the Olympic onslaught hit the area, it's the definitive tour round all the waterways with their cocktail of history, industry and rampant wildlife which makes me realise how many places I never got to before it all disappeared.

It's incredible to be reminded just how much vegetation there was in this 'industrial wasteland' - the future Olympic Park will be a desert by comparison despite the many millions being spent on factory-farmed plants and trees. I was also to interested to see that Land & Water dredged the City Mill River only in 2002 - contrary to the London 2012 rhetoric that the rivers had 'suffered decades of neglect'.

But it's hard to beat the irony of the 'Pudding Mill River Improvements' sign - as it has now disappeared for good under the main stadium. The works were funded by Chase Manhattan Bank and the Stratford Development Partnership.

As the author points out

"Improvements were made to the Pudding Mill River at the start of the 21st century, including tree planting, the building of an attractive wooden bridge, and picnic areas. Unfortunately it has all been swept away to make room for the huge main Olympic stadium. Talk about saving money... one lot of money has already been wasted..."

One wonders exactly how many improvement and regeneration projects took place across this 'neglected' area in the period prior to the Olympic bid?


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Paralympics - Olympics Separate Development

Tanni Grey-Thompson fears the London 2012 Paralympic Games will be a sideshow to the main event. Difficult to see how this will not be the case. If they are Olympic Games they should be called Olympics rather than Paralympics and should happen at the same time. If this distinction remains then they will continue as a B event.


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The Spinners Spun

The demand for new staff at the ODA to fuel the insatiable requirements for distortion, obfuscation and misrepresention of information on an Olympian scale shows no sign of abating, despite the promises of public sector cuts. Some things are just too important.

Job ad for a £44k ODA Marketing Manager whose exciting role includes
"...help develop and deliver the ODA external and internal marketing communications strategy covering - publications, brand (implementation and protection), events, market research, internal communications (corporate and site worker) and new media." and
"In conjunction with the Head of Marketing develop innovative solutions to communicate construction progress"

Does this mean we can expect to see the sorely missed 'Your Park' propaganda coming through our letterboxes again?

Wasn't marketing the Olympic Games itself the job of LOCOG, not the publicly funded ODA? If someone got the job after falling for this pack of nonsense and is disappointed by the reality, I don't think they deserve much sympathy:

Live the dream, Go for Gold and Be THE BEST!
Sports Marketing role for The Olympics
A DREAM role to be part of the future... building a sustainable, profitable and socially networked Marketing Plan The Olympic Games.
Do you want to leave your footprint on the greatest game on earth?
Are you a passionate marketer with Sports Industry, Through-the-line Marketing and Public Sector experience, who wants to make a difference on a GLOBAL STAGE?
Do you have the X-FACTOR?
Can you magic GOLD faster, stronger and prettier than an ALCHEMIST?
If so, this job is for you... and look no further... your future is set.


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Athlete's Village dries up

As Steve pointed out in the Or maybe there's an extra swan in the CGI? post, the ODA's latest 'unveiling' of plans for the Athletes Village landscaping contains nothing that hasn't already been publicised previously by LendLease (who are responsible for the project) on their own Athletes Village website.

However there's been unsurprising downgrading of the landscaping apparent in the CGI. Anyone remember the 'Cascades' that were supposed to go down the middle of the Village? These have been quietly forgotten by the ODA but the PR is curiously inconsistent.

The LendLease website currently still confidently claims

"There will be water – at the heart of the development, a spectacular series of pools tumbling over shallow waterfalls."

And housing association consortium Triathlon, who are managing the so-called affordable housing component, still feature the original wow-factor waterworld Masterplan fantasy on their website.

Here is the succession of visualisations looking southwest.


May 2008 - Expensive looking water features plus a tower block with pieces missing

March 2009 - Now we have pavement cafes and the water has reduced to a pool in the park area on the left. This is LendLease's idea of what they are constructing, from their theathletesvillage.com website, also featured on Triathlons

July 2009 - What's happening here? The tide has come in and there appears to be a beach.

August 2010 - From the ODA 'unveiling' - no more water, lots of pavement, the tree varieties have changed yet again, and some flying ducks. No sign of the '100,000 wild plants'


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Come ORN! Tracey tells IOC to take the Tube

The 'normal' IOC which says it 'needs efficient transport' has come under attack from Tory GLA member and Transport spokesman Richard Tracey. He told the insidethegames blog: "The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is concerned that traffic is the biggest problem facing London 2012, but this is because they expect thousands of their officials and camp followers to be whisked around in limousines."

He went resolutely off-message from his Tory superiors BoJo, HuRo and ThereVill and criticised the Olympic Road Network (ORN) saying "Plans have been drawn up to transport 80,000 athletes, officials, journalists and sponsors around London by road. In a city with such extensive public transport, this is an arguably unworkable plan. It is unreasonable to cordon off lanes on some of London's busiest roads and cause traffic chaos, when there are so many alternatives to travelling by limousine."

An ODA spokesperson insisted that key Olympic personnel like marketing partners had to get to the venues on time. "The ORN is essential to making the Games a success and ensuring that the transport system works at Games-time. It will ensure that not only athletes, but officials including referees and judges, marketing partners and 28,000 media get to the venues on time and have consistent journey times."

BoJo has gone very quiet on the subject after urging IOC members to use public transport back in January of this year. If you can believe it Rogge was apparently quite favourably disposed to the idea back then as well.

Ah, that was then! 'Efficient' Limos for 'normal' IOC people is now.


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Passionate about PR

Passionate about BS PR? If you can not only believe the hype but also demonstrate a track record of eagerness to help perpetuate it, this could be just the job (admittedly not on the grandest, most Olympian of payscales)


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